Common Conditions


Did you know that there are more than 100 different types of arthritis?

1 in 6 Australians are suffering from Arthritis (that is 3.9 million people) and this number is expected to increase to 5.4 million by 2030. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are the most common forms of arthritis seen in practice. Osteoarthritis (OA) though is the one seen most in a chiropractic clinic and therefore the one we will discuss in more detail.

Although spinal Osteoarthritis (OA) aka degenerative disc disease (DDD) aka degenerative joint disease (DJD) can be found at various levels of the human spine, it is frequently observed at the C4/5/6 vertebral levels in the cervical spine (neck) and at the L4/5/S1 levels in the lumbar spine/pelvis.

Arthritis is a joint condition which involves the breakdown of cartilage tissue which lines many spinal and extremity joints. It has been historically believed that OA is due to trauma, infection or repetitive stress to a joint that causes the joint to degenerate. While all this is correct, there is another major cause of OA which now is seen more and more in not only our adult population, but also in our younger generations. The answer is immobility!

If a joint is immobilised for a few weeks in the position of comfort, contractures will develop in the surrounding soft tissues and as a consequence, a normal range of joint motion will be impossible. Evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that immobilisation is not only a cause of osteoarthritis but that it delays healing. In the year 2000 DC David R Seaman in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics wrote, “Two main promoters of degeneration are repetitive strain/microtrauma and sedentary lifestyle”. This basically means that post injury, if your joints are not returned to normal alignment and motion, it is highly likely they will begin to degenerate and become arthritic.

A chiropractor’s role in the battle against OA is to improve movement in these joints, whether they are pelvic joints, spinal joints or those even of the shoulder, hips or feet. Studies show that the analgesia produced by a joint adjustment involves serotonin and noradrenaline receptors in the spinal cord, thereby performing a supporting role for central mechanisms of pain modulation (control). At Health Focus Centre, Dr Raffi treats a handful of people every day who suffer from arthritis. From lower back pain to neck pain and headaches, improved mobility decreases the inflammatory cascade effects and reduces pain. This becomes the best natural method to improve pain without the use of medication. Dr Raffi will also prescribe you rehabilitation exercises and discuss your nutritional habits/diet as to best tackle the chemical impact your inflammatory diet will have on joints in your body.

Musumeci G, Aiello F, Szychlinska M. Osteoarthritis in the XXIst century: risk factors and behaviours that influence disease onset and progression. Int J Mol Sci. 2015 Mar 16; 16(3):6093-112.

Ackerman IN, Bohensky MA, Pratt C, Gorelik A, Liew D, 2016. Counting the Cost: the current and future burden of arthritis. Part 1 Healthcare Costs. Arthritis Australia 2016.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2009. Chronic disease and participation in work. Cat. No. PHE 109. Canberra: AIHW.
A review of back pain in golfers: Etiology and prevention. David R Seaman, JMPT
Sports Medicine Training and Rehabilitation 2000 9(3):169-187

Plaza-Manzano, G. et al. (2014) Changes in Biochemical Markers of Pain Perception and Stress Response After Spinal Manipulation. Journal of Orthopaedic and SportsPhysical Therapy; 44 (4): 231-239

Experimental models of osteoarthritis: the role of immobilization. Videman T, Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 1987 Nov;2(4):223-9.

Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis Fifth Edition 5th Edition
by Pamela K. Levangie DPT DSc FAPTA (Author), Cynthia C. Norkin DPT EdD (Author) 3:132

Refer Arthritis Australia’s website / Reports: Painful realities – The economic impact of arthritis in Australia, 2007 (Report by Access Economics Pty Ltd for Arthritis Australia, 31 July 2007).