July 5, 2010

“They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano, But When I Started to Play…”

robertBy Robert J. Scranton, D.C.
Fibromyalgia Centers of America

Retirement, we understand is great if you are busy, rich and healthy. Too many seniors though are like our friend, Agnes. Agnes had been a wonderful piano player at one time in her life, but as far as she was concerned those days were way behind her. You see as she got a little bit older she started to notice some discomfort in her low back and hips that made it difficult to sit on that hard piano bench for more than a few minutes. It was only slightly annoying at first but got worse the older she got. At about the same time she began to develop a soreness and stiffness in her neck that made it difficult and then eventually impossible to even look down at her music or the keyboard. It finally got to the point that she had to give up the favorite part of her week; playing the church organ on Sundays.

Agnes went to her family doctor for some answers, because she did not want to continue living like this. Her doctor then did an exam and determined that she had osteoarthritis. Agnes said, “Ok now how do we fix it and get rid of it?” Her doctor told her that there was no cure, that she would just have to live with it. He gave her a prescription for some pain medication and some anti-inflammatory drugs and sent her on her way. She tried all the drugs he gave her and none seemed to help. In fact some of them seemed to bother her stomach and make her dizzy. Agnes even tried Celebrex so she could” celebrate, celebrate,” but the only people who were celebrating were the people who sold the drug because it didn’t fix her problem either.

According to the statistics, Agnes is joining the ranks of a long list of older Americans who are becoming functionally disabled by osteoarthritis. Here are some of the facts: Almost 16 million Americans over age 60 are afflicted with osteoarthritis. By the year 2020 it is estimated that 60 million people will be affected by osteoarthritis. Before age 45 osteoarthritis occurs more frequently in males. After age 55, it develops more often in females. Although up to 85% of people over 65 show some evidence of osteoarthritis on X-ray, only 35% to 50% experience symptoms.

Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage in a joint deteriorates. Unlike some other types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis concentrates in the joints where deterioration occurs. Osteoarthritis is often associated with back and neck pain, because it can affect the cartilage in the discs that form cushions between the bones of the spine, the moving joints of the spine itself, or both. In addition, the nerves may become rubbed or pinched, causing tingling or burning. In advanced cases, numbness and muscle weakness occurs.

Now back to Agnes’s story. Unlike a lot of Americans who give up on their bodies, Agnes refused to believe that this was all due to “old age” and that she would have to continue living with it. Agnes had a friend who was doing a lot of walking again and working in her garden, and so Agnes asked her what her secret was. She referred Agnes to our office and after doing an exam and taking some x-rays we determined that we could help her. Osteoarthritis is a disease that is basically caused by a lack of motion in the joints. When those vertebrae in the spine get stuck out of position so that they can’t move anymore that is basically an invitation for arthritis to settle in the joint. That is why Chiropractic helps so much with osteoarthritis because we get the joint moving and back in its normal alignment to make the joint work better and get rid of the pain.

Agnes got so much better she surprised her family and friends by playing the piano again at her 80th birthday party. If you’re tired of arthritis give us a call we’d like to help you too!

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