April 2015

Can a Chiropractor Ease Your Aching Back?

Subscribers Only — Osteoarthritis (OA) can be a pain in the neck—literally. When OA creeps into the spine, the condition can play a pivotal role in limiting movement and everyday function. For those trying to find relief, many turn to the help of a chiropractor, osteopathic physician or practitioner of spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). While spinal adjustments can be a helpful pain-reduction tool in the right patient, it’s important to understand the reality of what SMT can provide and who may offer the best approach to relieving your pain, say Cleveland Clinic experts. “When it comes to osteoarthritis, it’s important to first look at the whole body and find what triggers are aggravating the arthritis over time,” states Andrew Bang, DC, a chiropractor with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine. “Finding the cause is the most important piece of alleviating pain through manipulation.” Identifying parts of the spine that are out of balance is key to successful SMT, agrees Fredrick Wilson, DO, director of Cleveland Clinic’s Solon Center for Spine Health. “The overall gain from manipulation in a patient with OA would be through reducing stiffness and easing joint movement that is restricted,” he says. “While you cannot restore lost cartilage caused by OA, you can affect the surrounding local muscles and help with some of the chemical factors causing the tenderness.”   More...

Are You Ready for Surgery?

If you have osteoarthritis (OA), you’re not alone. Many people over the age of 65 have OA to some degree, and the condition can even affect the joints of those in their 30s and 40s. While OA is common, joint replacement surgery is typically not necessary for most people who have the condition, according to Cleveland Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Michael Bloomfield, MD. “Most people can safely delay surgery without having any major, long-term, irreversible side effects or complications,” says Dr. Bloomfield. “The biggest factor is that patients keep a close eye on their condition. If they think their pain is rapidly worsening, they should get in touch with an orthopaedic surgeon for an opinion sooner than later.”   More...

Osteoarthritis and Your Heart

Subscribers Only — It’s well established that patients with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are at higher risk of heart attack and stroke. The body-wide, or systemic, inflammation that damages the joints in RA, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases also may wreak havoc on the heart and blood vessels. Now, several studies, including one published in the January issue of Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, have identified a connection between osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, and cardiovascular disease.   More...

Build a Strong Core to Ease Pain

Just like the stressors of life, the stress of arthritis can cause you to feel out of control. Yet, the most powerful way to help regain the strength and independence painful joints can take away is to turn toward your body’s core. The core is actually a large group of muscles that you should imagine as a box of tools, says Cleveland Clinic Florida physical therapist Kristin Miller, DPT. “The top of the box is the diaphragm part of your torso. The sides are the hip muscles and the oblique muscles on the trunk,” says Miller. “The back is made up of the back extensor muscles, the bottom is the pelvic floor and the front is the abdominal muscles. All of these muscles need to be working properly and balanced in order to have stable back muscles. If any are not doing their job or if balance is disrupted, pain in the back and other areas can be increased.”   More...

In The News: April 2015

Subscribers Only — Whether you gain or lose weight, the risk of fracture may persist for postmenopausal women, according to a new study. In an analysis of data from the Women’s Health Initiative published in the British Medical Journal (January 2015), postmenopausal women who gained or lost at least five percent of their body weight had an increased risk of fracture. Interestingly, the site of fracture risk varied depending on whether they shed or packed on pounds. Weight loss was linked to a 65 percent increased risk of hip fracture, while weight gain increased the risk of lower limb fracture by 18 percent. The study included data on 120,566 postmenopausal women, with a mean age of 63, who were followed through 2013. The findings suggest that unintentional weight loss of five percent or more in older women should be regarded as a risk factor for fracture, particularly of the hip. In a population study such as this, weight loss is a general sign of poor health, which may cause illness and increased risk for fracture. On the flip side, arm and leg fractures were problematic among those who put on weight. The study was limited due to information on fracture being self-reported, but gives further support to treating women at high-risk of fracture in order to protect their bones.   More...

Ask The Doctors: April 2015

I’ve been trying to lose weight to ease the ache of knee osteoarthritis (OA). What is the best type of exercise to help my pain and lose weight?   More...