Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the world. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the joints, which can cause pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. It is important to note that osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body, but it is most commonly seen in the hands, hips, knees, and spine. Osteoarthritis is more common in older adults, with prevalence rates increasing with age.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), osteoarthritis affects approximately 10% of men and 18% of women over the age of 60 worldwide. In the United States, it is estimated that over 32 million adults have osteoarthritis, making it one of the leading causes of disability.
Risk factors for osteoarthritis include age, obesity, joint injuries, and genetics. While there is currently no cure for osteoarthritis, treatments such as exercise, weight management, pain medication, and joint replacement surgery can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life for those affected.
What happens in the body during osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time. Cartilage is a firm, rubbery material that cushions the joints and helps them move smoothly. When it deteriorates, the bones in the joint can rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
When inflammation occurs during osteoarthritis, the body produces an increased number of cells within and around the joint. This is a protective mechanism designed to heal. These cells release inflammatory substances into the synovial fluid, the lubricant that allows joints to move smoothly.
The body's healing mechanism is designed to activate the joint but when inflammation persists and the lifestyle, underlying nervous system and diet are not adjusted, eventually osteoarthritis sets in. Over time, the synovial fluid becomes less viscous and heavier. Joints start to feel stiffer, denser. Density is literally building up at this point and fluid flow elsewhere in the body will be affected. As these inflammatory substances come into direct contact with sensory nerve cells in and around the joint, the sensation of pain can occur.
As osteoarthritis progresses, it can lead to significant pain and limited mobility, making it difficult for individuals to perform daily activities. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other psychological effects due to its impact on quality of life.
Screaming Joints and Stiff Bones: The Telltale Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Pain: Affected joints might hurt during or after movement. Pain in extremities in early stage onset such as fingers and toes.
Stiffness: Joint stiffness might be most noticeable upon awakening or after being inactive. Especially hard to get up after being seated.
Muscle weakness: Osteoarthritis can cause muscles surrounding the affected joint to weaken over time, leading to further functional limitations.
Tenderness: joint might feel tender when you apply light pressure to or near it.
Limited range of motion: As the disease progresses, it can become more difficult to move the joint through its full range of motion.
Grating Sensation: You might feel a grating sensation when you use the joint, and you might hear a popping or cracking.
Bone Spurs: These extra bits of bone, which feel like hard lumps, can form around the affected joint.
Swelling: Osteoarthritis can cause swelling and tenderness in the joint, which may be accompanied by warmth and redness.
Osteoarthritis tends to occur in women over 50 with obesity but it's important to recognise that this is a trend and doesn't mean it's exclusive. There are many people who have early onset osteoarthritic conditions and symptoms that are actually younger and physically mobile and not overweight. This is a degenerative disorder compounded by excessive weight and pressure on joints but that's not where the root causes lie. The root causes of this condition lie in inflammation, nervous system sympathetic overstimulation and spinal alignment compounded by injuries, lifestyle factors and physical neglect of health.
However, in recent years it has become clear that osteoarthritis is not restricted to cartilage damage, but is a failure of the entire joint, along with inflammation -- the body's response to stress, sustained and buried trauma and injury.
Osteoarthritis is not restricted to cartilage damage, but is a failure of the entire joint, along with inflammation -- the body's response to stress, sustained and buried trauma and injury.
Taking a Holistic Approach to Addressing Degenerative Conditions
The physical structure of our bodies is the foundation of our consciousness, and chronic conditions can be seen as a reflection of that consciousness. When the skeletal system, which forms the foundation of our body and spirit, experiences degradation, it can be challenging to build back up from that base level. The impact of joint degradation can be felt throughout the entire spine, causing compensatory issues that affect tissues and visceral functioning over time. Understanding this connection between the physical structure and consciousness can help individuals identify and address the underlying issues that contribute to chronic conditions, leading to a healthier, more balanced body and spirit.
Degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis require a comprehensive and holistic approach to transformation. It's essential to address various aspects of health, including diet, mobility, stress management, somatic connection, posture, spinal health and alignment, and inner work on subconscious beliefs related to self-worth, self-regeneration, and creative fluidity. By embracing a holistic approach, individuals can create a supportive environment for healing and transformation that addresses not just physical symptoms, but also underlying emotional and spiritual issues. With time, patience, and a willingness to engage in deep transformation at all levels, it is possible to create a sustainable path towards improved health and wellness.
While the importance of spinal health is well-known, what's not often discussed is the impact of spinal misalignment on brain health. Specifically, misalignments in the cervical and upper thoracic spine can significantly affect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow to the brain, which can have major consequences such as neurotoxicity and age-related neurological conditions. Neurons, the cells responsible for transmitting and processing information in the brain and nervous system, are particularly susceptible to damage caused by neurotoxicity. It's essential to address spinal misalignments to ensure optimal CSF flow and support the health of the brain and nervous system. By taking steps to correct spinal misalignments, individuals can support their brain health and potentially reduce the risk of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.
Cracking the Connection: How Osteoarthritis and Spinal Issues are Related
Osteoarthritis and spinal issues are related in several ways. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that often affects weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips, but can also affect the spine. As the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down, bones in the joint can rub against each other, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
In the spine, osteoarthritis can cause degenerative changes such as the formation of bone spurs and a loss of disc height, which can lead to spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected areas.
Misalignments or imbalances in the spine can also contribute to osteoarthritis by causing excessive wear and tear on the joints. Poor posture, spinal misalignments, and muscle imbalances can all contribute to degenerative changes in the spine and increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis.
In addition, osteoarthritis and spinal issues can have a compounding effect, with pain and dysfunction in one area of the body causing compensatory issues in other areas. For example, chronic pain in the knees or hips can lead to altered gait patterns and increased stress on the spine, potentially exacerbating existing spinal issues or contributing to the development of new ones. Kyphotic-lordotic posture is a common postural issue that involves a marked curvature or hunch in the shoulders and upper thoracic spine. This posture can put heavy strain on the musculoskeletal system, leading to chronic pain and dysfunction, but it can also affect other bodily systems such as the respiratory and digestive systems. The curvature in the upper back can compress the chest, making it more difficult to breathe deeply and efficiently, which can cause shortness of breath and fatigue. In addition, the curvature can also affect the position of the organs in the abdomen, potentially leading to digestive issues such as acid reflux or constipation. Understanding the impact of kyphotic-lordotic posture on the body can help individuals take steps to correct their posture and prevent associated health problems.
This spinal alignment is most often caused by:
Prolonged misuse of the body: Engaging in repetitive motions or activities that strain the muscles and joints, such as sitting for long periods, can lead to chronic pain and inflammation over time.
Persistent poor posture: Poor posture, such as slouching or hunching over, can put undue stress on the spine and lead to misalignments, muscle imbalances, and chronic pain.
Unresolved injuries that have affected nerves at the base of the spine or in the neck: Injuries to the spine or neck can affect the nerves that run through these areas, leading to chronic pain, numbness, or tingling in the affected areas.
Birth defects / birth trauma: Birth defects or trauma during birth can cause misalignments or imbalances in the body that can contribute to chronic pain or dysfunction later in life.
Trauma and holding in the nervous system that has solidified and created patterns of contraction: Emotional or physical trauma can cause the body to hold tension and create patterns of contraction in the muscles and fascia, leading to chronic pain and stiffness.
Imbalances in deep fascial layers particularly around the posterior side of the heart the area related to self-love: Imbalances in the fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs, can contribute to chronic pain and tension in specific areas of the body, such as the chest, which is related to emotional health.
Closing in of the chest area and heart due to protective defensive mechanisms around emotional vulnerability and openness: Emotional factors can contribute to chronic pain by creating tension and imbalances in the body, such as protective mechanisms that close off the chest and heart area, leading to restricted breathing and muscle tension.
Imbalance in the atlas area due to a sense of 'holding up the world' overburdened by duty and responsibility: The atlas is the first cervical vertebra in the neck, and an imbalance in this area can cause pain and dysfunction. Overburdening oneself with responsibilities and obligations can lead to chronic stress and tension in the neck and shoulders, contributing to an imbalance in the atlas area.
Stretching or ligament looseness or laxity can cause problems of head forward position as head forward position can cause further dames to the cervical spine ligaments.
Rebuilding from Within: Identifying the Root Causes of Degenerative Conditions to Renew Your Body and Life.
Have you ever wondered what is causing your degenerative condition at a structural level, and how it can be resolved? It's important to consider the deeper aspects of your being, such as unconscious beliefs and the level of embodiment. By identifying what is degenerating within you, whether it's physical, emotional, or spiritual, you can begin to take steps to build yourself back up from the inside out. But how do you do that? What do you need to renew the flow and vitality within your body and life? Exploring these questions can help you understand the root causes of your degenerative condition and develop a plan to address them.
Supporting Recovery through Diet and Lifestyle Changes, Combined with Trauma Healing.
Emerging research suggests that certain foods have the ability to not only reduce inflammation in the short term, but also influence the expression of pro-inflammatory genes and immune cells that drive disease. For instance, a large study published in 2016 found that following a Mediterranean-style diet could reduce the risk of frailty (a marker of disease progression) in patients with osteoarthritis, as compared to those following a typical American diet. In addition, a recent study from the University of Surrey revealed that a low-dose supplement of fish oil, rich in essential fatty acids, can help reduce inflammation in joints, alleviate pain, and improve cardiovascular health in patients with osteoarthritis.
Exploring Dietary Changes to Manage Osteoarthritis: Beyond Fish Oil and Mediterranean-style Diets
- Vitamin K: Go Green! An increase in foods rich in vitamin K such as kale, spinach and parsley was also found to deliver benefits to patients with osteoarthritis. Vitamin K is needed for vitamin-K-dependent (VKD) proteins, which are found in bone and cartilage. An inadequate intake of the vitamin adversely affects the working of the protein, affecting bone growth and repair and increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
-Sulforaphane : Again, Go Green!: Sulforaphane slows down the destruction of cartilage in joints associated with painful and often debilitating osteoarthritis. Sulforaphane is released when eating cruciferous vegetables such as brussels sprouts (yum) and cabbage, but particularly broccoli. Previous research has suggested that sulforaphane has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties, but this is the first major study into its effects on joint health. - Type II Collagen - Collagen hydrolysate supplements are rich in a number of amino acids (a group of chemical compounds) that play an important role in the creation of collagen. Type II collagen is one of the main proteins in cartilage. Taking collagen hydrolysate can improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis by stimulating your body’s production of joint collagen. - Anti inflammatory foods - the Mediterranean diet stems from its ability to regulate inflammation by focusing on anti-inflammatory foods (berries, fish, olive oil) and excluding or limiting pro-inflammatory ones (red meat, sugar and most dairy).
- Turmeric and ginger are natural anti-inflammatory agents, and there are many ways to incorporate them into your cooking, tea and smoothies.
Foods to Avoid if you have osteoarthritis
Saturated fats. Saturated fats also cause inflammation, and according to the Arthritis Foundation, people with arthritis have a higher risk of heart disease. So there are two good reasons to limit their intake. They include meat, cheese, and butter. You can still eat them, but be sure not to consume more than 20 grams per day.
Sugar triggers the body’s immune system into defense mode, causing osteoarthritis flare ups that may leave your joints feeling weak and non-functional.
Dairy forms especially processed- A study published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2015 found that eating dairy foods increased low-grade inflammation in a small sample of German adults. And a study of more than 40,000 people with osteoarthritis (OA) found that those who ate more dairy products were more likely to need hip replacement surgery.
Alcohol. Here are two reasons to limit alcohol intake if you have osteoarthritis: (1) Drinking liquor, wine, or beer will cause pain flare ups, and (2) its consumption can interfere with medications, making them less effective.
Here's a picture of the broccoli i'm growing in my garden. Isn't she gorgeous?
Healing is possible if people are willing to deepen beyond the physical symptoms and address the root causes and contributing factors that THEY are creating
Healing is possible if someone is willing to address the cluster of symptoms, understand their own creation and recognise and address the root causes that underlie a label such as osteoarthritis and fundamentally rewrite their identity and lifestyle.
This requires the earlier questions to be actively explored and addressed and change to be implemented consistently.
This leads to a profound shift in structure, spinal health, fluid flow regeneration and consciousness.
What clients say:
"I was born with Spinabifida. My disability has deteriorated significantly affecting my mental and physical wellbeing. I have two replacement knees and osteoarthritis in my hips. I've felt like a prisoner trapped in my own body. The last couple of years especially, have been overwhelming and exhausting.
My first session with Safa was unbelievable. It was transformational. Without touching my body she realigned my spine. She removed all blocks and debris that needed shifting in other parts of my body.
After our first session I could walk with so much more ease and there was no pain in my body! My body and spine feels so realigned. The difference is phenomenal.
I'm feeling so alive today. My husband was so happy to see the change in me. I can't wait for the second session."