Chiropractic care is generally associated with helping joint pain and dysfunction, primarily involving the spinal joints. This all sounds great, but what are joints, what causes them not to work properly, and how is joint pain and dysfunction corrected?

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oints are where one bone connects with another. They are the space between that allow for proper movement and function. Our body has many different types of joints, from those that barely move at all (like the sutures in your skull) to synovial joints that move in many different directions (like your shoulder joints, ankle joint, hip joint, spinal facet joints, etc…). We know that when the joints move properly, your muscles and ligaments function at an optimal level. This affords you proper function and no pain. However, when joints do not work properly, this leads to a whole host of problems.

Primarily, when the joints do not work properly, the muscles and ligaments do not function properly either. They will tend to either shorten or elongate, depending on the joint problem. When this occurs, they will leak toxins that will irritate local tissues and nerves. This leads to further pain and dysfunction. It turns out to be a vicious cycle until the underlying joint problem is addressed.

In addition, if a joint does not work properly, the local muscles will be forced to work harder to get the joint to move properly. They cannot do this and the risk for muscular damage goes up as the muscles are constantly working in an improper fashion.

It is important to note that when your body experiences pain, it also alters other bodily function, literally! For example, when you bang your knee or burn your hand, your heart rate and respiration change for a little while. These effects of neurological involvement due to joint dysfunction are called ‘autonomic concomitants’. This means side effects in your body that are not readily apparent. If you have musculoskeletal damage to your body that goes untreated, it is also likely that you are, to some extent, adversely affecting your heart, brain, lung, and other organ function over time.

So, what are the reasons why joints do not work properly? There are basically three causes. One is a mechanical cause. Macro trauma (large trauma) such as a car crash or bad fall and micro trauma (repetitive use injury) certainly lead to joint damage. Another factor is chemical. This means you are what you eat, literally. If your diet is inflammatory, you will be more likely to swell easily and be susceptible to more injury. The third factor that affects joint function is mental. This is apparent when people are under stress. Many times they will get headaches, back pain, neck pain, stomach pain, etc… Stress affects the hormones and chemicals in your body and can create an environment where healthy joint function is hard to maintain. This is why you might be interested in finding out your chronic oxidative stress (COS) level, as determined by the science behind the Nobel Prize winning physics of the Biophotonic Scanner. COS tells you the stress state of your body and whether you are winning or losing the battle of antioxidants vs. free radicals.

The job of the chiropractor is to help primarily with the mechanical causes of joint dysfunction. The chiropractor is also trained to deal with certain chemical and mental influences. Sometimes a referral is necessary if the patient has needs that are outside the scope of chiropractic. If that is the case, Drs. Manison and Surprenant work with excellent medical professionals in the Columbia / Ellicott City / Baltimore / Howard County area in all areas of medicine. Chiropractors correct the underlying cause of joint dysfunction so that the body can restore normal ranges of motion in the region that allows for the compensatory soft tissue reactions to heal. It is through this manner that chiropractors are best suited to deal with joint pain and dysfunction.