Arthritis pain is one of the most common health complaints reported by people as the get older. Arthritis in the spine is a condition that targets the protective tissues inside the vertebral joints. As we age, degeneration of the body’s joints causes certain physical changes to occur. These processes are physically identifiable, but are not proven to be inherently painful. It is for this reason that the majority of all people eventually develop arthritis, but only a small minority actually suffers any significant pain.
Of course, it must be clarified that the scope of this article details symptoms associated with osteoarthritis only. Other types of arthritic change are complete different in their expressions and do not account for the overwhelming majority of diagnosed cases of arthritis in the spinal structures.
A lifetime spent pursuing an understanding of the martial arts has taken a toll on my body. I have been involved in constant training and teaching for so many years that parts of my body have experienced degeneration comparable to someone literally twice my age. I am in my forties, but I have injured many areas of my body:
I have had broken ribs, dozens of back injuries, torn meniscus in my right knee twice, separated my right shoulder twice, several dental injuries and lost a few teeth, extensive foot injuries and fractures, dozens of muscle, ligament, and tendon injuries, I have been stabbed and cut in weapons training, trauma, contusions, and bruises from falls, throws, kicks, punches and other blunt forces to my body. I have completely destroyed my right hand and wrist requiring extensive reconstructive surgeries. The list goes on and on.
I have developed arthritis is my right hand recently. I thought it might become a problem for me and it did for some time. I was confident that although the diagnosis was not good, I could alleviate all the pain through constant usage and avoiding any fear of the condition. This was the same approach I used to combat my back pain, so it made sense to try it for my arthritis as well. It took a few months, but my pain did end.
Once the arthritis pain was convinced that I would not allow it to gain control over me, it gave up and left, so far never to return. This is the power of knowledge therapy. It can override the powerful diagnostic nocebo effect and banish pain forever. I have used it time and time again to become a stronger and healthier person. Knowledge therapy has literally saved my life.
Odds are that you have not damaged your body the same way I have damaged mine. Very few people (luckily) have the same attitude of: mind over body and that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Martial arts have been my greatest love, as well as my greatest physical oppressor.
I have now been diagnosed as having severe arthritic change in several areas of my body, including in my spine. At first, doctors were surprised that I was not in pain constantly. Eventually, the pain came, but seems to be mostly due to other structural issues in my vertebral column. In contrast to these more serious conditions, my arthritis pales in comparison.
I do not fear arthritis pain and I do not expect that it will cause me any great suffering in life. I understand the facts of the condition as well as the circumstances of my own physical state. I am at risk for arthritis, but undaunted by the prospect of the pain. My belief is that this alone may help keep me functioning normally well into old age.
The strength of the mind and knowledge of the realities of this condition will prevent almost any patient from suffering under the tyrannical pain of arthritis. It is simply a matter of overcoming the perception that mild to moderate forms of this condition are guaranteed to cause pain. The reality is that most cases of minor arthritis are simply another less desirable part of getting older. The anatomical changes will occur, but they do not have to become a physical torture as so often is the belief.