Aging from a new perspective
Kerith Powell Chiropractor
I’ve been asked many times during my career as a chiropractor, do I have arthritis? My answer is usually yes Mr. Jones you do. I watch as a mood of gloom or resignation comes over the man. At this point I know they are ready to hear what I tell them next. They may have been told or witnessed a loved one suffer from what was called arthritis. What I think they are associating with the word arthritis is their hobbies, work, family fun time, slowly fading from their life experience.
In 1998 an anatomy teacher of mine explained that there are only two vertebrates on the planet that scientists have not found signs of arthritis. One is the sloth and I can not recall the other one. It stuck with me, for the simple fact that the large animals like elephants and the smaller ones like squirrels, that the whales of the ocean and the fish of the sea, even the frogs get arthritis.
What we have in common is that we are living on the same planet. Each of us wake up to fight gravity and inertia. This requires us to use force, by contracting our muscles. We depend on our bones to support our frames. We also rely on the connective tissue to hold our bodies together.
Every cell in our body goes through a life cycle and eventually dies. This fact is well established, but how is it that the new cells repeat the patterns of the old?
Mr. Jones will tell me that he’s getting old and I have to ask, is that part of your body older than the rest of you? If all our joints are the same age, and age alone is responsible for arthritis, then all the joints should be affected the same way. We know that is not the case in osteoarthritis, which is what I am talking about. We know that the joints are affected differently, but why?
The best information we have indicates that the answer is related to stress. Think of stress as a load someone has to carry. A pound of feathers and a pound of lead are both equal to a pound. One individual may have mental, another a physical, and yet another a chemical stress. We have to adapt to these stressors, and arthritis is one form of adaptation.
To reduce the ill effects of arthritis we have to find a way to share the stress load more efficiently, carry the burden better. In some cases that means thinking of a situation from a new perspective, moving our bodies in a new or different way, or adding nutritional supplementation to offset the bombardment of chemicals we ingest or are exposed to at work.
Awareness of all I’ve said so far really will not help until two things become foremost in one's mind. First he or she must believe that their body has the capacity to heal and then they must take action of some kind to assist in the healing process. The degenerative process of arthritis will not stop on its own, in fact it did not start on its own. The degenerative process began with poor adaptation to one of stressors of life and will continue to progress unless a new pattern is established.
Some of the physical options include surgery to remove the spurs caused by arthritis, physical therapy to improve the movement of the joints, rehabilitation to strengthen weaker areas. Some of the mental efforts include prayer, meditation, deep breathing exercises. The chemical component may be as simple as adding more water to one's daily routine. Other cases require a more elaborate plan.
We take the approach that your body innately strives for health. We look for the tools that will help you on the way towards health. Don’t let arthritis permanently affect your function, like keeping you from playing your favorite sport, or doing your favorite activity. You have options and we can help. Do not wait until you have built up years of abnormal stress in your body to come in. The longer you wait to make a change the more difficult the change will become.
Dr. Kerith Powell is a chiropractor at Dr. Chris’ Natural Remedies in Snellville GA.