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Can Arthritis Be Reversed?

Why does a joint develop arthritis?

There may be a number of reasons for this. But let’s look at the ones at the top of the list:

 

Mechanical Damage

This happens when the mechanics or the normal workings of a joint is not correct. A torn ligament would cause a joint to not work as correctly as it should. Incorrect movement or alignment of a joint will bring on degeneration and arthritis in that joint.

 

Biochemical damage

Chemical imbalances, such as inflammation of the joint, may cause damage in and to a joint due to cartilage degeneration

 

Genetic

Genetic factors of conformation can cause arthritis in a joint. I have unfortunately inherited my Dad’s flat feet. This combined with my rotated hip has caused major wear on my knee due to misalignment and has worn away the cartilage.

 

Chondrocytes

These are the cells that help build and repair cartilage. During the early stages of Osteoarthritis, the body works like mad to try to repair the damage.

The body sends different cells to the affected joint to deal with inflammation and tissue damage. But, the capacity of the adult articular chondrocyte to build new cartilage is limited. Unless the destructive process is interrupted, the damage becomes irreversible.

 

For this reason, early diagnosis is of key importance.

Therapies aiming at blocking or reversing cartilage damage will be more effective. The aim is to possibly preserve normal homeostasis – i.e. the normal rate of cell destruction, restoration, and remodelling.

The later stages of osteoarthritis may require different interventions such as tissue engineering, to repair damaged cartilage.

We can see then that once osteoarthritis sets in, the degeneration is real.

 

What can we do about preventing arthritis before it begins?

Let’s say your dog is suffering from:

  • hip or elbow dysplasia,
  • has a knee injury,
  • perhaps had surgery (or not) for a cruciate ligament tear
  • jumped off the bed and was limping and the vet told you he hurt his shoulder or wrist.

 

These are cases where you can become proactive! You immediately look to prevent osteoarthritis as best you can!

 

 

How can you help prevent osteoarthritis from progressing?

 

Goal 1: Manage the inflammation early.

When a sudden injury or trauma happens, inflammation signals the body to repair. But when inflammation continues for too long, it can do more harm than good.

In the case of a joint injury (compared to a muscle or tendon), it is a good idea (to listen to your vet) and put your dog on an anti-inflammatory now, for the short-term.

This should not be a ‘forever-thing’, but a short-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories is useful. Similar to a human after spraining an ankle, you want to get that inflammation down as soon as possible. This is also a good time for other rehab tools such as laser therapy, acupuncture etc.

Some rest is in order: Leash walks only, no playing, no sporting activities.

If this is a genetic condition (i.e. hip or elbow dysplasia), this phase might be shorter than if this is a new trauma (i.e. a torn cruciate, or post-operative condition).

 

Goal 2: Stimulate tissue healing.

Some rehabilitation tools work well. Laser therapy, shockwave, and ultrasound all have an effect on tissue regeneration.

Always speak with a specialist rehab veterinarian when working with rehabilitation tools.

 

Goal 3: Strengthen the surrounding muscles

Start strengthening muscles after the inflammation has settled. Strengthening makes a huge impact on joint health. It helps cushion a joint by minimizing concussive forces (i.e. muscles can act as ‘shock absorbers’).

Strengthening protects joints from the abnormal forces that can occur secondary to muscle weakness around a sore joint.

Which exercises are best?

It depends on which joint is affected. Some specific muscle building exercises are required… not just walking. So, you’ll be looking for someone to prescribe them specifically for your dog’s injury.

 

Goal 4: Maintain full joint range of motion.

A joint gets its nutrition from lubricating all its surfaces in synovial fluid (i.e. the fluid within the joint). If the outer edges of a joint don’t get lubricated, that’s where the degenerative processes will begin.

To prevent this, your dog needs to be able to bend and straighten that joint fully. You could do this manually, or find an exercise that will accomplish this.

For example, sitting square with knees, ankles, and hips tucked in is great in particular for knee or ankle arthritis.

 

Goal 5: Start joint supplements now!

And keep them onboard – forever.

A number of supplements aim to improve cartilage health. But Sashas Blend is proven to do so.

 

Preventions start with a puppy. Otherwise, they start today with your dog RIGHT NOW.

BE PROACTIVE!

 

So, ‘Can osteoarthritis be reversed?’ The answer is ‘Maybe… if you catch it in time!’

 

 

References:

Four Leg Rehab Inc. Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt (Animal Physio.), CAFCI, CCRT

http://book.bionumbers.org/how-quickly-do-different-cells-in-the-body-replace-themselves/ accessed April 15, 2019.

Wodarz D. Effect of stem cell turnover rates on protection against cancer and aging. J Theor Biol. 2007 Apr 7;245(3):449-58.

Goldring MB. Update on the biology of the chondrocyte and new approaches to treating cartilage diseases. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2006 Oct;20(5):1003-25.

Lopez HL. Nutritional interventions to prevent and treat osteoarthritis. Part II: focus on micronutrients and supportive nutraceuticals. PM R. 2012 May;4(5 Suppl):S155-68.

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