Subluxation and Osteoarthritis: Joints That Don’t Move Break Down
Degenerative Changes Following Spinal Fixation in a Small Animal Model. G.Cramer, J.Fournier, et al. J. of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Vol. 27 # 3, Pgs. 141-154
Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate changes of the lumbar vertebral column following fixation.
Design: Using an established small animal (rat) model of spinal fixation (hypomobility), 3 contiguous lumbar segments (L4, L5, L6) were fixed with a specially engineered vertebral fixation device. Spinal segments of control rats were compared with those of animals with 1, 4, or 8 weeks of fixation. Subgroups of these fixation animals subsequently had the fixation device removed for 1, 2, 4, 8, or 12 weeks to evaluate the effects of attempting to reestablish normal forces to the vertebral segments following hypomobility.
Conclusion: These findings indicate that fixation (hypomobility) results in time-dependent degenerative changes of the Z joints.
What does this article say? This is a paper that describes a study examining joints that were prevented from moving. The joints that were fixated were examined microscopically to determine how the lack of motion affected the health of the joints.
How did they do this? In order to do this, the joints were fixated in small animals. While doing this type of research, it is carefully reviewed to determine that the study is of high quality and that there will be highly meaningful information. By using small animals such as mice or rats, the changes they go through in a study can be very closely observed in a way that they can’t be in human studies.
What did they find? The joints that were immobilized began to break down and degenerate, while the joints that moved remained healthy. The type of breakdown that the researchers found in the fixated joints was the same as in osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. While there are many types of arthritis, this is the type people are generally referring to when they say ‘arthritis.’ They also found that the longer the joint did not move, the more degenerative arthritic changes it showed.
Who do I pass this on to? Anyone that mentions suffering from, or wanting to avoid, arthritis. Or better yet, pass it on to the person you know who is already very health-conscious, wants to stay active, and wants to learn how chiropractic care can help keep them moving and healthy!