Thursday, September 5, 2013

National Healthy Aging Month

Healthy Aging Month

September is the annual Healthy Aging Month when Americans nationwide are reminded to focus on the positive aspects of growing older and take personal responsibility for one’s health – physically, socially, mentally, or financially. We, at Excel Chiropractic, have chosen to honor this month by focusing our efforts on those who wish for helpful information on successful aging. We believe it is never too late to take control of your health.

                One of the biggest issues Americans face as the age is the onset of arthritis pain. Specifically, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and one of the most common reasons for disability for adults today. This condition, often called wear-and-tear arthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. While osteoarthritis can damage any joint in your body, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, neck, lower back, knees and hips. Sadly, no cure for this disease exists yet. However, there are natural treatments and lifestyle changes that can slow the progression of the disease, relieve joint pain, and improve mobility.

                As you age, the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in your joints begins to deteriorate. This process is slow and worsens over time. As the cartilage deteriorates, you may begin to feel pain, tenderness, and/or stiffness in your joints, especially after long periods of inactivity. You may also experience a loss in flexibility; unable to move your joint through its full range of motion. In severe cases, you may feel a grating sensation when you use your joint or find that you are susceptible to bone spurs. If you are experiences any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your doctor so that he may diagnose your condition.

                If you are diagnosed with osteoarthritis, it does not mean that you cannot be healthy and successful in your golden years. By focusing on making healthy lifestyle changes, you can help reduce your osteoarthritis symptoms. Ensure you are getting enough rest to help reduce inflammation of your joints. Adopt an exercise routine that keeps you active, but is gentle on your joints, like walking or swimming. A healthy diet along with exercise will help you lose weight, which will relieve pressure on your joints and reduce pain. Using hot/cold packs will help with muscle stiffness or spasms and allow you some control over your pain.

Chiropractic care can also have a positive impact in controlling your osteoarthritis. Chiropractic care involves chiropractic manipulative therapy, also called a chiropractic adjustment, along with therapies such as ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation. For us, one of the most important steps is to restore normal joint alignment.  By aligning the joint and enabling it to move properly, chiropractic care can reduce further wear and tear and slow down the degenerative process.  In addition, we can help reduce pain and inflammation in the joints, which goes a long way to reducing the overall pain in osteoarthritis patients.  Chiropractic manipulative therapy also increases the mobility of the joint which can help improve joint stiffness and lack of motion

In addition to treatments, we may also recommend stretches and exercises specific to your affected joints. These recommendations may include range of motion movements, stretches, and light exercises that may help maintain fluidity in the joints and flexibility of the muscles.

Healthy Aging Month should be a motivation for everyone to resolve that it’s not too late to shore up their health. As we grow older, it is our responsibility to ensure we are making the right choices to be successful in both health and happiness. By taking charge of your health and learning about conditions, such as osteoarthritis, that you may face as you age, you are taking the first step in improving your overall well-being.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Healthy Aging Month, osteoarthritis, or this article, please feel free to contact our office at 605-332-9235.