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By far the most common arthritis is degenerative arthritis, also called osteoarthritis. Its most common causes are injury, and chronic or repeated stress on joints. But degenerative arthritis doesn't show up right away. If it showed up months after an injury that would be fast. It usually takes years. Likewise repeated stress over years can eventually bring on arthritis. So by the time it shows up on an x-ray, the process of degeneration has been going on a long time.

That's why it's usually considered a condition of old age. But the reality is that the stresses that bring it on begin at a young age. When it comes to the spine, misalignment (think poor posture) and subluxations (think stiff joints) can lead to degenerative arthritis because they create chronic mechanical stress and cause joint cartilage to soften and degenerate.

But just because you have arthritis doesn't mean you can't be helped. The stiffness of joints and misalignment of the spine are often more responsible for pain than the degeneration of the joints. Joint stiffness and misalignment are what chiropractic care focuses on improving.

By relying on anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve symptoms, the underlying condition can continue to worsen. When improvement is felt with chiropractic care, it is because the body is working better. And when joints work better, arthritis is slowed down.

If you have a specific question for us, you can use the "Ask the Expert" link to the left. If you would like our special report on arthritis click here.