Osteoarthritis: the leading musculoskeletal cause of disability in the Western society. Years and a lifetime of ignored low-level chronic inflammation catch up to us as we age—our joints wear down, it becomes painful to do what we love…
Cartilage—a firm, flexible tissue that cushions bones at joints. Cartilage lets bones glide over one another while absorbing energy from the movement.
When cartilage breaks down and wears away, the bones rub together causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
In pain, we are driven to seek help. Pain makes it impossible to have a high quality of life, play with our children or grandchildren, enjoy the things we used to do easily. And if only that pain can go away we can have the life we want back.
And honestly, the fastest way out of any pain or problem is a pill. That’s why pharmaceutical pain “management” options are so appealing. That’s why consumers spend nearly $800 million yearly on “triple strength” glucosamine and “signature brand” chondroitin despite nearly all the research suggesting these supplements are no better than placebo.
But pills don’t regenerate the cartilage—they just mask the pain. You must take the stress off and rebuild your joints.
As a doctor, I didn’t think that my first experience with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy would be as personal as it turned out. But last year, after I suffered an acute shoulder rotator cuff tear. I didn’t have many options. I tried ‘let it heal’ (using my basic tools and anti-inflammatory diet of course) but when my MRI showed the degree of damage (a full thickness tear of the large tendon that allows me to raise my arm-in case you want to know) I thought my only option was with an Orthopedic surgeon.
I wasn’t able to raise my arm, and the way I use it day in and day out to heal others made it worse; many activities for both work and play became virtually impossible. Finally I (albeit grudgingly) went to my friend the orthopedic surgeon who of course suggested I have surgery sooner rather than later. Of course this meant none of my hands on work for 3 months plus a significantly painful rehab. I needed another option.
I decided to look for an alternative to surgery. I had some awareness of PRP therapy and as luck would have it knew a colleague who used it in his practice. After just 2 injections of platelets I have full range of motion and I am able to perform all of my usual work. I can do most of my play activities without pain or restrictions. (Still can’t do push-ups, if you call that play.)
Because of my own personal experience, I felt obligated to provide this cutting edge and extremely cost effective therapy to my patients who might benefit. Before you sign on to expensive surgery with long recovery times, let’s talk. I’d love to evaluate your situation, especially shoulder and knee pain or arthritis, to determine if this therapy would be appropriate for you. “
—Dr. Ed Childers
What is osteoarthritis anyway? How does it differ from rheumatoid arthritis?
Arthritis comes in several “flavors.” Most arthritis is of the osteoarthritis form. Osteoarthritis involves mechanical wear-and-tear damage to the cartilage that caps and protects the bones in your joints. The other common arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease which occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints causing painful swelling and, eventually, joint deformities.
Originally, doctors diagnosed arthritis by evaluating x-rays for signs of joint degradation. Today, most doctors want an expensive MRI before giving the osteoarthritis diagnosis. But irregularities seen on images don’t always correlate with pain—a lot of us have “irregularities” and these may or may not cause a functional problem. For example, while bone spurs mark degeneration they aren’t always painful unless they pinch a nerve root or are irritating the muscles or tissue next to them.
Arthritis comes in many forms. Osteoarthritis in the spine (spinal arthritis), degenerative discs, bone spurs, these are all easily seen on x-ray by a trained osteopathic eye. As the space between knee bones, elbow, finger joints lessens, this too can be seen. They just don’t always hurt.
Besides, no imaging tool can help see common invisible causes like vitamin D deficiency. Imaging does not show the effect of unstable joints on the surrounding muscles. Those evaluations require a broader and usually hands on approach.
Does naming it accurately help you do anything about it? Read on…
Are your joints stiff in the morning but then feel better? Or does the pain continue?
This is a clue to the type of problem: joints damaged by osteoarthritis usually start out stiff but feel better in about 20 minutes. You get up, move around, lubricate your joints, they begin to feel better. Toward the end of the day, after the wear and tear of daily activities, stiffness returns.
On the other hand, joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis often hurt for an hour or more after you get out of bed.
Is the joint pain and swelling on both sides? Or just one?
The mechanical stress of osteoarthritis usually favors one side—at least initially until you’ve favored that painful side for a while and caused similar wear and tear on the other side.
Rheumatoid arthritis tends to be symmetrical. Not necessarily evenly, but both sides. Autoimmune problems favor nothing.
And when the swelling and pain of autoimmune disease starts, it usually progresses fairly rapidly, these mysterious joint pains seem to appear in just weeks to months.
The wear and tear of osteoarthritis is slow, progressive, and develops over years. That’s why it is more common to feel osteoarthritic as you get older. It is more common to see rheumatoid arthritis in younger age groups.
The good news if you suffer from osteoarthritis
So… your back gets up stiff every morning, but then feels better… Your left knee swells up after a round of golf, or hiking in our Albuquerque mountains…
Please don’t ignore this. Let’s fix it.
We know that joints heal slowly, but they can be rebuilt. And there are tools to manage the pain while you take direct steps to rebuild them.
Here's the formula
Reduce the stress that is causing excess wear and tear
Toxic exposures, especially smoking, and being overweight are the two most common sources of stress. Smoking, even e-cigs, and other toxic exposures change the quality of your connective tissue in a number of ways. The toxics can be incorporated into the tissue itself (which also leads to rheumatoid arthritis). This stiffens the cartilage and ligaments so that they do not glide properly. Your body has to use key vitamins and minerals to process and eliminate toxic waste—nutrients that now are not available to nourish your joints.
Being overweight puts direct mechanical wear and tear on your back, hips, knees, and ankles/feet. Excess fat also makes inflammatory hormones that worsen the problem. Losing those extra pounds is the best way to take the stress off.
Our Clinical Nutrition program can help you lose the weight and lose food and fat hormone sources of inflammation and pain while giving yourself plenty of genuine building blocks to regenerate those joints. An excellent game plan!
I go to Hands on Health Care for all of my health and wellness needs. Dr. Childers is an amazing Osteopath who keeps me put together despite numerous inflammatory health problems. Whether it’s an adjustment, cranio sacral, medical acupuncture or bio puncture (yes I do it all), I can attest to the top quality of his medical care and his compassionate caring for his patients. I love it that not only does he have medical training, he stays up on the latest natural therapies. I enjoy my visits very much; I enjoy their sense of humor, their intelligent chats and spot on advice.
I also signed up to do nutritional guidance and lifestyle coaching with his brilliant wife Phyllis. I have stably lost 10 pounds in two months. I don’t have much to lose but metabolism got stuck and nothing was working. Finally it is coming off. The bonus of adhering as best I can to her program is that my cholesterol is under 200 without medications! I am ecstatic! Phyllis has been great in helping me adjust to my new status of retired teacher.
I highly recommend Hands on Health Care for all of your health needs. You won’t be disappointed. Bravo! ─Roni, age 62
Adding an exact, individually designed nutrient regimen based on what the body says it needs makes the difference between “managing” the pain, and regenerating healthy joints.
Your cartilage, spinal discs and joint ligaments do not have many blood vessels running through them to deliver nutrients, oxygen, and remove waste products.
Properly executed yoga, stretches, even weight lifting (good form and pain-free range only!) helps fluids move into and out of your connective tissue bringing nutrients and removing waste.
…and walking. Walking is great exercise. Get outside and look at beautiful things.
Especially if your job involves repetitive motions. Doing the same thing over and over can put a huge burden of wear and tear on your joints. Be mindful. Get up and stretch throughout your day. Go get another drink of water…
Combine manual therapies
I have been Dr. Childer’s patient since he opened Hands-On Healthcare and even before that, a total of 20 years. He serves as my primary care doctor and regularly adjusts my neck and back to minimize any pain and maintain flexibility. I am very pleased with the care I receive, the concern for my well being, and accessibility to him and his staff. I highly recommend Hands On Health Care.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, works better for drug-free pain management of osteoarthritis than Osteopathic manipulations and therapies to address the inflammation in the tissues surrounding your joints, especially when combined with an anti-inflammatory nutrition program and lifestyle.
Studies indicate that Osteopathic manipulations effectively:
- Reduce pain
- Improve joint function
- Increase range of motion
- Heal lower extremity osteoarthritis
Osteopathic treatment helps the soft tissue of the joint as well as the surrounding muscles, fascia, and other factors glide properly by releasing restrictions causing it to bind.
Both the Osteopathic Manipulation and CranioSacral Therapy can create changes in your nervous system that help release toxic build-up in the tissues and signal the body to heal.
Make surgery unnecessary with Platelet Rich Plasma therapy (PRP)
Our osteoarthritis clients feel better quickly with manual therapies and step-by-step guidance to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
But sometimes we need to regenerate our cartilage and joint tissues. PRP gives a biological boost to healing, restructuring and rebuilding joints that in many cases can avoid the need for expensive and painful surgery.
By using your very own platelets, concentrated into the joint, we can speed up healing and even stimulate formation of new connective tissue, blood vessels, and healthy new tissue. Read more about this exciting new treatment technology; call us to determine if you are a candidate.
A healing program designed for you
Call us for the comprehensive exam that will give us all the data we need to design your program—one that will work, finally.
Ask about our Hands On Health Care internet special.
Call (505) 298-8020 Today.
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Clark KL. Nutritional considerations in joint health. Clin Sports Med. 2007;26(1):101-18.
Franke H, Franke JD, Fryer G. Osteopathic manipulative treatment for nonspecific low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014 Aug 30;15:286. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-15-286. Review.
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Jones G Where are we for pain and therapy in 2013? Osteoarthritis 2013 Nov;42(11):766-769
Lugo JP, Saiyed ZM, Lane NE. Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Nutr J. 2016 Jan 29;15(1):14. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0130-8.