Arthritis comes from the Greek word "arthron," meaning joint, and "itis," a word termination meaning inflammation; thus "arthritis" means inflammation of a joint. When a condition in the body exists where there is heat, redness, swelling and pain, it is called inflammation.

Arthritis then is present when a joint is strained or otherwise irritated and inflammation follows. That certainly does not mean that the condition is incurable. In fact, most cases of joint inflammation (arthritis) is self-limiting and will heal itself with no lasting effects. On the other side, there are cases where the inflammation is so severe that permanent joint damage results. Thus, arthritis can be very mild to very severe.


As we grow older, we are more likely to be affected by osteoarthritis. Almost everyone over the age of 50 will have some form of arthritis. It is almost as common in aging as skin wrinkles and greying hair. In many people it causes only a mild symptom of stiffness and/or pain.  In others the pain can be severe and crippling.



Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts early in life. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that is very damaging to the joints and can occur in any of the joints. In some cases the damage is so severe it causes loss of mobility and debilitating stiffness in the joints. What causes it and why some spontaneously recover and others do not is a mystery.


The main difference between juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and adult rheumatoid arthritis is the age when it occurs. The other differences are that there is a much higher rate of spontaneous remission (it simply disappears) and there are fewer cases where there is severe disability.


The most common of all types of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease and hypertrophic arthritis. Osteoarthritis usually starts later in life. The cause is thought to be the result of too much wear and tear on the joints, although the latest thinking is that there is a nutritional component involved.

Millions of elderly people suffer from osteoarthritis in the hands, especially people who have used their hands extensively.

However, it is most commonly found in the weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips and the spine.  

Long-term osteoarthritis is characterized by spurring or bone growths caused by additional calcium buildup in the joints. This is believed to be the body trying to strengthen an area by adding calcium to make more bone.

This lumbar spine x-ray demonstrates widespread spur formation and degeneration of joint surfaces

Its presence in the spine can be a sign of spinal subluxation (vertebrae that misalign or otherwise malfunction causing irritation of the intervertebral joints). This can lead to spinal imbalance and nerve irritation that may cause pain and improper function.

Pain is only one symptom of arthritis. Only certain sensory nerves carry pain messages. Unless these sensory nerves are irritated there will be no pain felt. Since pain is the body's warning system, if there is no pain the unlucky person may not be aware they have arthritis. If left unattended, this process may continue until there is extensive degenerative joint damage with or without pain.


Ankylosing spondylitis usually affects the spine. Gout is another form of arthritis that commonly occurs in the big toe. However it can occur in any joint. It is identified by chemical crystals deposited in the joints.


Treating the symptoms is the only approach the medical profession generally offers and drugs are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of pain, stiffness and inflammation. Drugs, however, frequently have unpleasant side effects.

Treating the pain and other symptoms does nothing to correct the cause and may delay proper treatment. The cause must be corrected before long-lasting relief and health can be restored. Therefore, it is important to understand that the absence of pain does not necessarily mean the problem has been corrected.


Chiropractic is not an extra strength "pain-pill," nor is it a treatment for arthritis. In spite of this, people who suffer with all types of arthritis are seeking chiropractic care in greater numbers than ever because chiropractors have a high level of patient satisfaction among arthritis sufferers.

Subluxations can irritate the nerves and create interference with the forces that control and coordinate the body. This condition can cause malfunction in the body that may lead to many joint pains. Too often these pains are wrongly blamed on the arthritis itself, rather than the joint dsyfunction.


Chiropractors are the university qualified health care professionals, because of training and experience, to analyse and treat vertebral subluxations. Today, because of our stressful lifestyle, poor eating habits, environmental pollution, lack of proper exercise, etc., millions are suffering from subluxations and nerve irritations.