Can A Chiropractor Help With Arthritis?
Arthritis, defined as the wearing down of any joint in the body, can make it hard to carry out your normal daily activities. Oftentimes, traditional medical management involves pain medications, injections, and surgery if symptoms and joint damage are severe enough.
If you are wondering what holistic treatment options are available for managing your arthritis, chiropractic care is a great one to consider. Today, we will dive into exactly why that is.
What Type of Arthritis Can a Chiropractor Treat?
Seeking chiropractic treatment usually brings about visions of cracking spines for back or neck pain. However, since the spine plays a vital role in all major bodily functions (including joint health), chiropractic treatment can provide relief for other types of joint pain as well. Chiropractors understand the importance of balance within the body, particularly at the spine, to promote good overall health. For arthritic joints, this translates to less strain, also wear and tear on the joint itself with your usual activities. This means you can stay more active and healthy while keeping symptoms better managed. While arthritis can’t be reversed, it can most certainly be managed well for years to come.
What is Arthritis?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as many as 23% of all adults are dealing with some form of arthritis (over 5 million people in the U.S.). While any age group can deal with arthritis, it is significantly more common in individuals over the age of 60. Symptoms can vary largely with arthritis, with the most common being pain, loss of flexibility and range of motion, weakness, stiffness, and swelling. As symptoms progress, it can lead to muscle weakness and faulty movement mechanics that further exacerbate the issue and make it hard to participate fully in life.
There are two primary causes of arthritis that both affect the integrity of the joint:
OA is defined as the wearing of the cartilage within a joint. Cartilage is vitally important for providing cushioning and impact absorption and acting as a force transducer within each joint with activities. When this cartilage becomes warped or starts rubbing bone on bone within the joint capsule, it can lead to arthritis symptoms. Risk factors include repetitive motion, previous injury, poor biomechanics, being overweight, and aging. Common affected joints include the knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and fingers. Additionally, one arthritic joint can lead to faulty movement mechanics that lead to the onset of arthritis in other joints (for example, knee arthritis is closely correlated to hip arthritis of the opposite side of the body).
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
RA is caused by an overactive immune system that results in the body attacking its own tissues, including the joints. This auto-immune disease can lead to joint damage and deformity if not well managed. Risk factors are widely unknown but do appear to correlate somewhat to genetics. RA commonly attacks the joints of the hands and the cervical spine (neck).
What a Chiropractor Can Do for Arthritis
Holistic chiropractic management is natural, non-invasive, and simply a great option for feeling good in your own skin when dealing with arthritis symptoms- whether it’s caused by OA or RA. Plus, if you are at high risk for developing arthritis due to certain lifestyle factors or your history, they can also preventatively help you as well. What treatment techniques can a chiropractor use to help you feel your best?
Let’s dive into some of the top options, although your exact treatment plan will depend on your needs.
Recognizing any misalignments within the body and addressing them with appropriate gentle adjustments is a great treatment tool for arthritis in any joint. Better alignment equates to better nerve function, tissue health, and less strain on the joints themselves. There is a reason that adjustments are a common part of chiropractic care for their effective role in pain management and beyond.
Natural pain management
There are tons of holistic ways to manage your arthritis pain that your chiropractor can review with you as needed. Most are cost effective options that you can try in the clinic to decide if they work for you. Then, you can consider transitioning to using these modalities at home. Options might include specific exercises, mechanical traction, ice, and heat- to name a few.
Once your joints are better aligned with adjustments, understanding proper movement will minimize the risk of continued wear and imbalance on your joints. Your chiropractor can help you design an exercise and stretching program that focuses on adequate muscle strength and flexibility. Your program will emphasize functional movements that help you learn to move properly with all of your daily activities. Being able to complete daily tasks without limping or an awkward posture can make all the difference in your future joint health.
True meaningful management of arthritis comes from making informed decisions about every facet of your life. Well-rounded holistic health is all about making the right choices in every area of your health (the full body, mind, soul, etc.). Chiropractors recognize this and can help guide you to sustainable health. Factors like stress management, mindfulness, weight management, sleep quality, nutrition, and more all play a crucial role in your ability to feel great and manage your arthritis with significantly fewer issues.
Managing Your Arthritis Optimally
Since a chiropractor views your body as a complicated interconnected system, they can help you notice subtle nuances that can be addressed with the right type of treatment. When it comes to holistic health, there is no such thing as coincidences. There is always a reason that one system is affecting another. Your chiropractor will be able to help you brainstorm the best course of action for your arthritis. If you’re ready to find a chiropractor and you live in Boise, ID, consider giving the holistic minded team at Optimal Spine & Posture a call. You can also schedule a FREE new patient consultation online.
The Potential Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Arthritis
Now that you know what treatment options and potential are available to you, let’s review the specific benefits you stand to gain with this type of care. Chiropractic care benefits include the following:
- Increased joint range of motion
- Pain relief
- Better mechanics with daily activities or sport
- Increased muscle strength and balance
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved function of the nervous system to support tissue healing
- The ability to stay active and healthy
- An increased sense of well-being
- Minimize the onset of more severe symptoms associated with your arthritis (and beyond)