Arthritis is not a wear-and-tear problem

March 27, 2018
27 Mar 2018

Arthritis is not a wear-and-tear problem

Arthritis - The Body Mechanic

Arthritis is the consummate boogey-man. It has been suspect #1 for joint pain since it was first identified. However, it’s also often falsely accused. I’ll get into that more in a minute. First, what is arthritis and why do we get it in the first place?

Arthritis is not a single disease, but rather an informal name for bone and joint pain. There are over 100 types, collectively suffered by over 50,000,000 Americans, including over 300,000 children. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and loss of range of motion. The two most common types you often hear about are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune problem, where the immune system attacks one’s own joint cartilage. Osteoarthritis is typically referred to as a wear-and-tear condition, where the joint cartilage becomes worn down over time. For the purposes of this article, I’ll be focusing on osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis, despite its reputation, is not a wear-and-tear problem; at least according to the most recent research. The latest theory is what’s called the “unused-arc” theory. In truth, the unused-arc theory is based on a theory proposed in the 1950’s that was met primarily with skepticism and derision at the time, but has recently begun to gain traction as more research has been performed, and competing theories ruled-out. The theory goes as follows… Wear and tear is what actually keeps the cartilage healthy.

Arthritis - The Body Mechanic

Proper use keeps joints lubricated and stimulates the repair and rebuilding process. Lack of use, on the other hand, allows the cartilage to become dryer, more brittle and more prone to damage over time. Specifically, this tends to happen in the parts of the joint surface related to ranges of motion that aren’t sufficiently being used. So, prevention is key. That means maintaining a healthy weight, staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise using all your muscle groups and moving through full ranges of motion in multiple planes. Exercises involving bands, cables and the Reformer are excellent in that they allow one unlimited variety in angles of resistance and ranges of motion. Cardiorespiratory exercise is also key. In addition to its other benefits, it improves overall circulation. But what do you do if you already suffer from arthritis pain? There are several things that can help.

All the things I mentioned above that help prevent arthritis can also help with managing arthritis. As I said above, that includes maintaining a healthy body-weight, staying hydrated and getting regular exercise. Diet is key because your diet can either create a pro-inflammatory environment or an anti-inflammatory one, depending on your choices. Red meats, polyunsaturated fats, sugars, simple carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and carbonated beverages are all conducive to inflammation. Dairy, glutens and foods from the nightshade family are also often pro-inflammatory. I’ve seen clients’ pain go away just from cutting out diet soda. Though exercise is key, often OA sufferers will find many types of exercise painful. There are options to help with this. First, and most importantly, is warming-up really well prior to exercise. The increase in body heat stimulates the secretion of synovial fluid (hyaluronic acid) into the joints. This is the joint’s lubricant, making movements smoother and more comfortable while creating a fluid barrier between the joint surfaces.

Arthritis - The Body Mechanic

Aquatic exercise can be especially useful. It allows you to exercise in a lower gravity environment which means less compression in the joints, while still moving through a therapeutic range of motion and strengthening the muscles which can unburden the joints. In terms of strength training, when exercising the affected joints, you can employ what are called short-arc isometrics. An isometric exercise is one that resists a load in a static position. With short-arc isometrics, you do a series of static holds at various points in the range of motion of the joint. Using the biceps as an example, you would start at the beginning of the motion, holding the weight in that position for several seconds. Then, using your other arm, you’d assist the involved arm in moving the weight 5-10 degrees further into the arc of motion where you would again hold for several seconds. You’d do this until you completed the full range of motion. This avoids the painful motion of the exercise while still getting the strengthening benefits. If the increments are close enough together, your brain will bridge the gaps neurologically and it will be as if you performed a single, contiguous range of motion.

I mentioned above that arthritis is often “falsely accused” of being the culprit in joint pain. Often, medical professionals will stop looking for the cause of pain once arthritis is identified. The fact is, an arthritic joint does not have to hurt. They often don’t. I’ve had clients with knees that were bone-on-bone who could still comfortably handle multiple flights of stairs. Addressing scar-tissue/adhesion build-up around the joints and surrounding tissues, addressing compensation patterns involving related muscles and cleaning up alignment and movement imbalances will often ameliorate or eliminate joint pain; arthritis or no.

Don’t accept an arthritis diagnosis as a death sentence for pain-free living. There is plenty that can be done. Don’t hesitate to contact me or schedule an appointment.

30 replies
  1. Rose Appel says:

    Hi, Tom
    Some time ago you included in your news letter your video on frozen shoulder. I lost it and would so appreciate your resending to me.
    thanks a lot.
    Rose Appel

  2. Sharvari P Joshi says:

    Thanks for sharing the useful information. It is really a great blog.

  3. amr elsa says:

    drugs are the commonly used treatment for arthritis. For people who suffer from osteoarthritis, pain relievers like acetaminophen could be effective since there is little inflammation. But those with rheumatoid arthritis should use aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to decrease severe swelling. But some patients do not respond to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

  4. Vaibhav says:

    You have well define your blog.Information shared is useful.

  5. Sandra Patterson says:

    I thought it was really interesting when you said that maintaining a healthy body weight, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise are all important parts of maintaining arthritis. I have a friend that suspects that she is getting arthritis, but she doesn’t know what to do after that. Maybe this article can help her out, as well as a professional in that field.

  6. R3 Stem Cell says:

    Cutting out diet soda really works? I have heard this from several individuals but I thought it is just a remedy that bearly give any benefits.

  7. Dr. David Greene says:

    Cutting out diet soda might be a nice move and I have seen many recommendations for this but after months I don’t think its really works but yes, its a good thing to cut for a healthy life.

  8. says:

    Thanks for sharing a smart thought.

  9. Beatrice Eliason says:

    great blog…thanks for sharing this with all

  10. Abhishek says:

    Thank you For this Amazing helps me lot.. i personally think medication is the best therapy..

  11. Jason Helm says:

    Thank you for the information. I have used many drugs and other treatments for my arthritis. After such a long time I have found a doctor who for me is one of the best pain management doctors in rockland county ny., has recommended me a variety of vegetables and fruits with a few physical exercises to help me reduce the pain.

  12. cathy says:

    I haven’t eaten sugar, wheat, red meat, vegetable oils and minimal dairy for years and I have just discovered my hip is bone on bone (i’m 55 and this is the first I know I have degeneration in my hip). However I have dysplasia that was not diagnosed in childhood so I suspect my diet would not have protected me. However the pain is not that bad for just normal walking. Thanks for the unused-arc information though I will be doing a lot more exercise.

  13. Sagar Sharma says:

    very good informative article. It is the simple way to understand how problems are generating “Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune problem” “Osteoarthritis joint cartilage becomes worn down over time”

  14. Meddco Healthcare says:

    its an well written blog, very helpful.

  15. ear nose and throat doctor nyc says:

    I completely agree and thanks for sharing this. I personally think that medication, exercise and regular or weekly doctor check ups are the best things any person could do to stay healthy.

  16. QR Clinic Vancouver says:

    Thank you for sharing this blog. I wrote a post on my blog that talks about osteoarthritis. It has a few points that you may want to check.

  17. Richard Hoover says:

    Can yoga help improve joints for patients with arthritis?

  18. Dr. David Greene Arizona says:

    Yes, It is not a wear and tear problem, if you have arthritis, you won’t get rid of it easily and it will make your life visible, so it would be better if you use some tips for prevention like weight management, eat plain and healthy diet and save yourself from injuries.

  19. Connie Thomas says:

    Is it possible to have several different types of arthritis?

  20. Sienna says:

    It was truly fascinating when you said that keeping up sound body weight, remaining hydrated, and getting standard exercise are extremely significant pieces of looking after joint inflammation. I have a companion that speculates that she is getting joint inflammation, however, she doesn’t have a clue what to do after that. A debt of gratitude is in order for the unused-circular segment data however I will do significantly more exercise.

  21. David Geller says:

    Modern medicine implies a variety of methods of treating arthritis, including the use of medications, physiotherapy, exercise therapy and, in advanced cases, prosthetics. To ease the pain you can use balm like, but firstly consult the doctor.

  22. best cbd cream for arthritis pain says:

    Love your article. Very helpful with my arthritis. Will share with my community so that we can all benefit from your input.

  23. R3 Stem Cell says:

    Treatment is the only to get rid of arthritis so don’t wait for it to go away.

  24. Toni mischef says:

    Although the common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, other types include gout, Ankylosing Spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, septic arthritis, and thumb arthritis.
    Benefits of the Tree Pose Yoga in Arthritis (Vrikshasana) This pose leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It stretches the legs, back, and arms, and invigorates you.

    It brings balance and equilibrium to your mind.
    It helps improve concentration.
    This posture has been found to relieve some cases of sciatica.
    It makes the legs strong, improves balance, and opens the hips.
    Helps those who are suffering from sciatica.

    more five ways of yoga help in Arthritis.

  25. R3 Stem Cell says:

    You’re right and individuals should not take it lightly and find an effective cure rather than just pain management.

  26. HiOnNature says:

    Your post is really informative and full of relevant information.
    It’s great to read a post like this. Thanks for it!!!

  27. flexuron says:

    thanks for great advice

  28. Dr. David greene r3 stem cell says:

    Thank you for providing this informative set of blogs related to Osteoarthritis, looks pretty enlightening and effective for individuals suffering from the disease. The content is best for getting information regarding the issue. I was on the look for such info. My aunt was also suffering from the same disease and Regenerative(R3) stem cell therapy helped her a lot.


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