Degenerative arthritis of the spine is one of the most common disorders that occur, limiting function in persons over 50 years of age. Approximately 300,000 persons over 65 years of age are limited in their activities because of it. If everyone lives long enough, so it has been said, everyone will get degenerative arthritis. Degenerative arthritis, however, does not have to mean a hopeless and ongoing painful condition.

While degenerative arthritis of the spine cannot be cured, the pain that accompanies it can often be improved with chiropractic treatment. Older Americans have learned this and have a high rate of usage of chiropractic services. Researchers at the University of Iowa School of Medicine in a 1985 study of the spinal pain of the 65 and overpopulation, found that 75% had sought chiropractic treatment. In male subjects, more had seen chiropractors than medical doctors.

Chiropractic treatment seems to be effective for two reasons. The first is its ability to correct the spinal joint misalignments that are often the cause of pain. Degenerative arthritis weakens the spinal soft tissues that maintain joint alignment, causing frequent misalignments in these persons. The other reason chiropractic treatment is often helpful in degenerative arthritis is that it is effective in regulating spinal pain. In a 1984 study in the American Journal of Physical Medicine, researchers reported a 140% improvement in spinal pain tolerance following chiropractic manipulation. This improvement was thought to occur through the same mechanism as seen with TENS and acupuncture. In a related study, chiropractic manipulation was also found to elevate circulating levels of endorphins, a powerful pain blocker released by the brain.

For many suffering from degenerative arthritis of the spine, chiropractic treatment can provide relief. No one should “just have to live with it’ until they have tried chiropractic.

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