Our joints come in a number of shapes and sizes and enable us to move in numerous different ways while we carry out various activities through our daily lives. Without our joints, our bodies would be rigid and immobile. Unfortunately, these necessary points in our bodies are often injured, which leads to discomfort and pain.
The joint in the body that is most commonly injured is the knee, followed by the shoulders, spine and ankles. Nearly 30 million doctor visits each year are attributed to shoulder and knee injuries alone while doctors see nearly 200 million back pain cases annually – many of which are related to injuries to the joints.
How Joints Work
Joints are made to stand up to the daily loads that are placed on them while offering a full range of motion. Every joint is comprised of at least two different surfaces that are designed to touch each other while allowing for movement, including ball and socket joints, like the hip; gliding joints, like those in the spine; and hinge joints, found in the elbow and knee.
The bones in the joint allow movement but there are also muscles present that are responsible for pulling the bones that cause the movement to occur. Bones and muscles are connected by structures that are called tendons, which need to be very strong to allow movement to take place and they need to work well to prevent muscle damage. Ligaments help prevent excessive movement by remaining attached to bones. Muscles, tendons and ligaments are found at each joint location in the body in specific locations. Fluid is present in each joint to lubricate the joint surface, allowing for lifelong use while reducing friction.
Keeping Joints in Good Health
Just like proper nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and a healthy exercise routine are each important for long term joint health, so are the movements that your body performs on a daily basis. By moving your joints through their full ranges of motion, several purposes are served, including supplying each joint with necessary blood for long term maintenance.
The majority of joints in the body are lined with a firm tissue that covers the entire bones surface that makes up the joint. This pliable tissue is called cartilage. Cartilage is fed with synovial fluid that is pushed into the cartilage through imbibition, which is a pressure-filled process. This process can only occur when movement takes place. This is why movement is important for joint health. When bone grinds on bone without a healthy covering of cartilage, degenerative joint diseases can develop, which can lead to the development of cysts, bone spurs and even excess bone production.
Spinal discs are made up of two parts, including a larger, more ligament-like outer portion known as the annulus fibrosus as well as an inner gelatinous portion known as the nucleus pulposus. Each of these structures are water or fluid based and rely on movement for their nourishment. Because of this, spinal movement is imperative when it comes to the health of joints in the spine.
Good diet and nutrition are also important when it comes to joint health. When your body is filled with healthy nutrients, your joints are equipped with more long-term stability as well as a greater level of resistance to the wear and tear that they undergo with everyday life.
How Chiropractic Can Help
Chiropractors adjust the spine, which can help to eliminate subluxations located in the vertebrae of the spine. The work of a chiropractor can help to improve mobility while alleviating pain. Chiropractors also have similar leverage when it comes to joints as they can relieve tension while promoting efficient function by manipulating the joints.
Chiropractors can adjust many joints in the body, including those in the back and neck, ankles, knees, wrists, elbow and shoulders. A chiropractic adjustment in any of these joints may bring about alleviation of pain and improved mobility.
Although joint pain is a regular part of many of our lives, there is chiropractic care readily available to help make life less painful. We use our joints for almost everything so keep your joints in good health as best as you can!