Arthritis is another of those words that mean different things to different people. To most, it means your joints have got a bit of wear and tear in them; to a specialist such as a rheumatologist or chiropractor, arthritis refers to a very specific group of much rarer inflammatory diseases of which rheumatoid arthritis and anklylosing spondylitis are probably the best known. Wear and tear – often referred to as ‘osteoarthritis’ – is a completely different disease process, which is why specialists prefer the term ‘degenerative joint disease’, or DJD for short.
So do you have DJD? If you’re over 50, then the answer is almost certainly “yes” – most commonly, it affects the joints that we use the most (thumbs, toes, backs and necks) or the ones that bear the most weight (hips and knees), particularly if you’re carrying extra poundage! So if you’ve got some swelling or stiffness in those joints, can you do anything about it?