The Mayo Clinic states on their webpage for Osteoarthritis that this condition “gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists”. In their lexicon osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease, which results from the breakdown of the cartilage, which only increases over time. I began my first blog in this series with the story of a 58-year-old man who had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his left knee and was, according to his doctor, looking at a total knee replacement as the only way to solve the problem. At Dorfman Kinesiology, however, we were able to resolve his case quickly and completely through massage, stretching and manual manipulation of the effected joint. How can this be?
In my understanding, the term arthritis has always been used to identify an area that has some kind of inflammation. It is interesting to me that the AMA views the swelling associated with osteoarthritis as a “symptom” rather than a “cause” of the immobility in the joint. And often there is only one joint where a person will have swelling. So the idea that one thing is swollen, then the person has a “disease” or a predisposition for a disease is a bit absurd. Arthritis is almost always localized. (Rheumatoid arthritis is a different story. It results from inflammation in all the joints. It is a systemic disease that affects the whole body).
One of the first rules about injury rehabilitation is that when a joint is injured or compressed, there is some swelling. This inflammation can be alleviated, but until it is it can easily, and in my opinion, erroneously be diagnosed as arthritis. Especially chronic swelling, which can happen all the time in a joint.
And the idea that a knee (or an elbow or thumb) that is swollen, that is injured, can’t at some point not have swelling is false. We know swelling can be resolved in a joint. And when it’s resolved the pain is alleviated, there is more mobility.
The reason swelling can easily lead to bigger problems is that it pinches off the capillaries and decreases circulation. So now you’re having a situation where the body is not able to actively move calcium out of a joint and the nature of a joint is that if it is immobile it starts to calcify. So a joint that is swollen and immobile will also likely have some level of calcification. And this would qualify as arthritis. I’ve been told many times by patients diagnosed with arthritis that their cartilage has worn away and that the joint is now bone on bone. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, the more likely scenario is that the bone has collected more calcium, which is now compressing the cartilage. I believe it is quite rare to truly have a “bone-on-bone” situation in a joint. But in most cases, once the extraneous calcium is broken up and removed from the joint, the vascular system can be freed to do its job again and the joint can begin to heal.
In other words, this disease that can’t be cured, can be cured. But, don’t take my word for it. If you suffer from joint pain and immobility, Dorfman Kinesiology will prove it to you directly. Set up an appointment today and start to feel better forever.