Arthritis can be a challenging condition to manage. Whether you’re engaging in physical activity or simply taking groceries from the car to the house, symptoms can flare up and make even the smallest task a difficult chore.
If you’re dealing with arthritis, you aren’t alone. It’s an extremely common condition that affects nearly ¼ of all adults in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Fortunately, for those who struggle with arthritis symptoms, there are effective remedies that don’t require going under the knife for joint surgery. While chiropractors are often associated with issues in the back and spine, they are also able to work on any joint in the body, including extremities like the arms and legs.
Below, we help you better understand arthritis before explaining how chiropractic care for arthritis could be the solution you need.
To understand why chiropractic care is an effective alternative treatment option for arthritis, we first need to explain the condition itself and how it affects the body. This is because arthritis isn’t one single disease but is an umbrella term used to describe a variety of conditions that affect the joints.
Typically, arthritis refers to the swelling and inflammation of the joints that causes pain and stiffness that worsens as we get older. There are two main types of arthritis, detailed below.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is the degeneration of the cartilage in the joint. Cartilage is the strong, flexible connective tissue on the ends of bones and in between joints that allows for movement without the bones rubbing against each other. This wear and tear can cause pain that gets worse over time and restricts mobility in the joint. This is the most common type of arthritis. While osteoarthritis can develop in younger individuals, it usually manifests later in life with a slow onset.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): The other most common type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is when an issue with the body’s immune response causes the immune system to attack the synovial membrane, a lining of the joint capsule that encloses the individual parts of any joint in the body. It can cause swelling and inflammation that stiffens joints and can destroy cartilage and bone over time. Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis more commonly starts at any age and can develop rapidly.
|Age of onset|| || |
|Speed of onset|| ||
|Joints affected and symptom locations||
Both forms of arthritis cause the development of inflammation in and around the joints, which is often the main cause of pain and discomfort. This inflammation is a response triggered by the body as a part of the healing process.
This inflammation can often be exacerbated by cold weather, as changing barometric pressure and low temperatures can lower circulation and increase pain sensitivity. This causes many people with arthritis to experience worse symptoms during the fall and winter months.
Understanding the differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is important because treatments for the two vary, as they have different causes. Some at-home treatments that you can to help manage your symptoms include:
- Staying mobile and active to prevent stiffness.
- Stretching to reduce pain and maintain range of motion.
- Getting plenty of vitamin D to promote healthy bones and joints.
- Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet with green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards; nuts; and foods high in omega-3, such as salmon, turmeric, and olive oil.
If you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and still experiencing symptoms of arthritis that affect your quality of life, it may be time to seek out professional help. One increasingly popular option is chiropractic care for arthritis.
Because rheumatoid arthritis is an immune-mediated disease, chiropractic care is limited in its ability to help; however, it can be extremely beneficial for individuals with osteoarthritis.
Chiropractic Care for Arthritis is Safe and Effective
You may be surprised to learn that chiropractors can provide significant improvements in symptoms for people with osteoarthritis. This is because chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts with tools designed for treating conditions that affect the joints such as osteoarthritis, even if they don’t occur in the spine.
Chiropractic care offers patients safe, non-invasive treatment options that aim to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and restore range of motion and mobility to the affected joints. Moreover, chiropractic care for arthritis can limit or even eliminate the need for pain medication, meaning it’s a holistic approach that isn’t addictive.
The type of treatment administered will depend on the joint(s) affected and the severity of the symptoms. Some of the most common and effective treatments for osteoarthritis include chiropractic adjustment and massage therapy.
|Chiropractic Care for Osteoarthritis|
|Chiropractic Adjustment||During chiropractic adjustments, the specialist uses hands and/or small instruments to apply gentle, controlled force to the affected joint. Doing so flushes the joints of inflammation and reduces pain while also restoring the proper range of motion to the joint.|
Chiropractic adjustments also release the excess pressure that is causing the cartilage in the joints to deteriorate faster, thus helping to prevent or even halt the progression of arthritis.
|Massage Therapy||Massages have been shown to reduce arthritis pain by stretching and releasing pressure in the connective tissues that surround muscles and joints. This also restores the range of motion to the joint and releases endorphins that further reduce pain.|
|Spinal Alignment Traction||A root cause of many cases of osteoarthritis is excess pressure, often from uneven weight distribution. The spine’s natural curvature plays a pivotal role in distributing weight across the body, and irregularities in this curvature could cause joints such as the vertebrae, sacroiliac joints, knees, ankles, or shoulders to experience more weight than they should.|
Restoring the spine’s natural alignment can be a foundational solution to arthritis pain.
|Postural Exercises||Exercise is a very good way to reduce inflammation, pain, and improve weight bearing through the body to help osteoarthritis. A chiropractor trained in postural analysis will typically make a full exercise program based on an individual’s poor postures.|
While you may think that chiropractic treatment options are relegated to the spine, chiropractic adjustments and massages therapy can be utilized on just about every joint in the body, including the following:
Chiropractic treatments can be a great solution for most patients suffering from osteoarthritis. However, because osteoarthritis is a chronic condition, even the most impactful treatments won’t provide long-term relief if they don’t address the underlying cause of the arthritic pain, such as spinal misalignments.
That’s why it’s imperative to partner with an expert who can identify and resolve the true cause of your arthritis and not just the symptoms that are a reaction to it.
PostureWorks for Arthritis Relief
Chiropractic care for arthritis works, but depending on the source of arthritis, some treatments are more effective than others. At PostureWorks, we work diligently to not only alleviate the symptoms our patients experience but to eliminate the cause of those symptoms for long-term relief.
That’s why we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) to gain a clear picture of your arthritis. With CBP, we accurately assess your spinal health using a series of spinal and postural biometric readings and examine your entire medical history to isolate the root cause of your arthritis. We then use that information to develop a treatment plan tailored to address the exact cause of your pain.
That way, you will not only receive relief from pain and discomfort but will have peace of mind knowing that chronic arthritis will not return.
Contact us today to learn more about chiropractic care for arthritis or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.