Cartilage are connective tissues composed of hyaline cartilage, and are found in the joints of the body. These tissues are designed with enough flexibility to be squeezed like a pillow to protect the bones of joints from touching each other and causing friction, which would lead to osteophytes (bone spurs) and osteoarthritis. Degenerative changes can occur in cartilage tissue, as a result of wear and tear, or due trauma. Cartilage tears can occur in any joint, especially the weight bearing joints in the ankles, knees, and hips. Though cartilage tears can occur at any age, older people are more susceptible due to the wearing out and weakening of cartilage associated with age. A torn meniscus is the most common type of cartilage tear.
Just like with bulging discs and herniated discs, cartilage tears do not always result in pain and other symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms associated with cartilage tears include pain in the joint, swelling, limited range of motion, audible clicking or popping sounds, or the joint locking into certain positions. In cases where the severity of symptoms is high, cartilage tears may need to be repaired surgically in order to restore a quality of life for the person, especially in cases where the patient becomes unable to use that joint.
Pathology: Like other types of soft tissues, the cartilage in synovial joints such as the meniscus of the knee have portions of it that are largely avascular and this have poor mechanisms for repairing itself. In cases of knee pain where the tears cause severe pain and immobility, the sections of cartilage though to be involved with causing symptoms are removed.
Let's take a look at some other soft tissue injuries that may affect our joint and cause lower back pain.
Synovitis: The synovium is a two layered structure found in nearly all the joints of the human body, and help to aid in the protection of the bones of the joint and cushioning of that joint. Synovitis is a condition that caused inflammation of the synovium, particularly the synovial lining. This inflammatory condition may be due to an inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or noninflammatory joint diseases. Synovitis may cause enough swelling in the joint that the joint becomes painful. Synovitis may produce enough swelling in the joint that it may be noticeable to see when looking at. This disease, if not successfully treated, may alter the ability of the synovium to produce synovial fluid, which may be essential for the lubrication and protection of the knee joint. If this inflammatory disease is not treated, the white blood cell count, viscosity, and volume of synovial fluid may be affected, possibly resulting in joint pain or osteoarthritis of the joint.
Subluxation: Chiropractors and osteopaths are specially trained in the use of hands on techniques to recognize and treat subluxations of the spine and other joints. A subluxation is a partial dislocation of a joint. While complete dislocations of the shoulder and hip are visually and painfully obvious, the more subtle minor joint subluxations dislocations may go undetected in physical examinations and medical diagnostic tests like X-rays. Nevertheless, subluxations may cause instability of joints, the human spine, and cause stretching and possible tearing of the ligaments associated with the affected joints. Chiropractors and osteopathic physicians are trained to recognize subluxations, and to pop joints back into place using sunned, powerful thrusts.