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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What causes osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease?

    Is it just because I'm getting older?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 3


    Matthew Hodgson has over 20 years of experience and specialises in correcting the underlying cause of peoples problems. He uses advanced diagnostic techniques and leading-edge … View Profile


     Osteoarthritis is probably one of the most common problems we encounter as we get older so it's a great question.
    The first thing we need to realize is it is not just a problem of getting old. Degenerative joint disease occurs as a side effect of what is known as Wolfs Law. This is when there are abnormal forces on a bone and it causes the body to lay down bone on the side that has the greatest force. This is why we see larger osteophytes or large bony spurs on the inside of the curve of a scoliosis.
    So Osteoarthritis is the result of abnormal position of a joint or abnormal movement. Both of which can be prevented if the issue is addressed as early as possible.

    I hope this answers your question and you find the help you need.


    Matthew Hodgson

  • 1


    Helen Potter


    As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, with extensive experience and highly advanced qualifications, as well as excellent communication skills, I can help you to: Become informed … View Profile

    According to Medical News Today: The latest resarch is looking at why we develop pain with osteoarthritis with the aim of developing better pain approaches rathre than the focus on cartilage breakdown.

    Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the oldest and most common forms of arthritis and is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint's cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of the bones and allows easy movement of joints. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.

    According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 27 million Americans live with OA, but, despite the frequency of the disease, its cause is still not completely known and there is no cure. many different factors may play a role in whether or not you get OA, including age, obesity, injury or overuse and genetics.

    Physiotherapy aims to help you have less pain and move more easily by teaching you about pain patterns and strengthening supporting muscles.

  • 1




    Dr Ryan Hislop


    Ryan Hislop is the Clinical Director at the Mudgee Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre. As an experienced and evidence-based diagnostician, Ryan works largely by medical … View Profile

    Although there is a common trend that the older we get, the more degeneration is present; there may be other factors at play which may speed up this degenerative change.

    Several studies (1-6) suggest that a reduction in the normal motion of a joint known as hypomobility (a joint that isn't moving enough) results in time-dependent degenerative changes. 

    Other studies suggest that degenerative joint changes may be due to traumas to the joint surface (7,8). These may be large traumas such as a heavy fall or accident, or multiple smaller traumas such as repeditive strain injuries.

    As Chiropratcors, we are interested in the health of the joints. We therefore aim to have the spine functioning at it's best. There are some small trials to suggest that when this is the case, there is a decreased risk of degenerative change (see references below).

    1. Cramer et al., Degenerative changes following spinal fixation in a small animal model. J Manip Physiol Ther 2004 (Mar); 27(3): 141-154
    2. Kirkaldy-Willis WH. Managing Low Back Pain. 2nd ed. New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1978.
    3. Evans EB, Eggers GWN, Butler JK, and Blumel J. Experimental immobilization and remobilization of rat knee joints. J Bone and Joint Surg 1960; 42A: 737.
    4.Hall MC. Cartilage changes after experimental immobilization of the knee joint of the young rat. J Bone and Joint Surg 1963; 45A: 36.
    5. Troyer H. The effect of short term immobilization on the rabbit knee joint cartilage: A histochemical study. Clin Orthop 1975; 107: 249.
    6. Mooney V, and Ferguson A. The influence of immobilization and motion on the formation of fibrocartilage in the repair granuloma after joint resection in the rabbit. J Bone and Joint Surg 1966; 48A: 1145
    7.Gelber et al., Joint injury in young adults and risk for subsequent knee and hip osteoarthritis. Ann Int Medicine 2000 (Sep5); 133 (5): 321-328
    8. Roos et al., Osteoarthritis after meniscectomy; prevalence of radiographic changes after twenty one years compared with matched controls. Arthritis Rheum 1998; 41 (4) Apr: 687-93

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