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Is Your Joint Pain Actually Arthritis? Probably Not.

Arthritis is often a misleading term when it comes to joint pain.

Has your joint pain been misdiagnosed as arthritis?

The definition of arthritis is “painful inflammation and stiffness of the joints”. Many people have painful inflammation and stiffness in a joint or multiple joints, but it would be incorrect to diagnose them as simply having arthritis. We see this all the time – someone comes in and says, “So-and-so specialist that I saw told me that my knee/shoulder/foot/back pain is arthritis”. Granted, they probably do have inflammation in the painful joint, but by using arthritis as the primary diagnosis, patients are led to believe that this arthritis is the cause of the pain when really the “arthritis” or inflammation is a symptom of a movement problem that can be fixed with the right corrective programming. The term arthritis implies that it is just some permanent condition when it almost never is. Arthritis is in practically every case simply a result or symptom of a movement problem. It is a symptom of a correct diagnosis, it is not a diagnosis by itself. 

shutterstock_309988982When people are told they have arthritis, they think that it is just some unavoidable condition that they now have due to age or genetics and that they just need to deal with it and maybe take medication regularly. The much more likely scenario is that over time they have developed movement problems and stability and strength deficits and imbalances that have caused one or more joints to be overly stressed in a way that simply would not happen if the body was functioning normally. The inflammation can go away quite quickly when you fix the way the body stabilizes and moves so that the joints are no longer being stressed in an inappropriate way. For example, if a client has an imbalance in their hip and trunk stability, and they have more stability in their left hip, then they may favor that side every time they walk or bend over or get up out of a chair or go up stairs, and their right knee may start hurting every day due to these undetected and uncorrected asymmetries and stability issues. To label this as arthritis is misleading and doesn’t get us any closer to a solution – and the idea that medication is the answer is a scary trend.

shutterstock_516984886The most revolutionary process and system that we have ever seen starts out with using an objective movement assessment called the Functional Movement Screen. This is an 6-8 minute movement assessment that just tests basic, fundamental human movements. It has nothing to do with fitness, just movement. It simply checks to see if you can perform the basic movements that every three year old on earth can perform. If you can’t, the first step is to correct whichever dysfunctional movements show up in your screen. These fundamentals must be corrected before any higher level movements take place such as walking or running for exercise. We have never seen someone with pain issues who didn’t have at least one dysfunctional red flag in their movement screen – not a single person. We are passionately trying to get more professionals to use this system since we are so surprised when we see clients who have been working elsewhere for months but on day one when they come to see us we are finding movement problems that were not addressed elsewhere since whatever assessment systems were used let significant red flags slip through. While the Functional Movement Screen provides valuable information, it is not the solution by itself – it simply provides a map of where to go in correcting someone’s movement issues. The work that is done after the screen is where the real magic happens.

If you have been diagnosed with arthritis, don’t lose hope and settle in to the idea that you just have to get used to it. Call or email us and if you are not in the southern California area we still know the best people to put you in touch with anywhere in the US.

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