Arthritis, or the inflammation of the joints, is one of the most common chronic conditions in America. Chronic conditions can be debilitating –physically, mentally, and emotionally. They require lifestyle changes, ongoing support, and a positive but realistic outlook on life.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there are over one-hundred kinds of arthritis, and more than 50 million Americans struggle with arthritis every day. Arthritis medication can alleviate symptoms, but usually at the expense of living with different gastrointestinal problems or other side effects.
Fortunately, there are alternative treatments that can help patients with Arthritis. Many individuals have found relief through chiropractic adjustments, which promote the spine’s optimal alignment, thus restoring joint health. The benefits also extend beyond just your back or neck, as the goal of chiropractic is to develop the relationship between the spine and the central nervous system. Thus, one benefit can cause a domino effect throughout your body. In this post, we will explain in depth how Dr. K can help you manage the pain that comes with chronic conditions like arthritis.
What Causes Arthritis?
Some types of Arthritis can begin as cartilage tissue breaks down. Cartilage protects your joints by absorbing the shock from stress. Some forms of Arthritis, like Osteoarthritis (OA) can be caused by regular wear and tear. Genetics and injuries also play a big role in the development of OA.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, and it usually affects both sides of your body. Some symptoms of RA include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of joint function. Even more so than with OA, genetics are a big factor in developing RA.
Another kind of Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, encompasses the inflammation of the skin and joints. Although Psoriasis is a condition in and of itself that causes red and white areas of irritated skin, about 10-30% of patients with Psoriasis will also develop Psoriatic Arthritis.
Other forms of arthritis, such as infections (Lyme disease), scleroderma, and fibromyalgia could also benefit from chiropractic treatments.
Arthritis & Chiropractic Care
If you suffer from Arthritis and would like to try a non-medication alternative, you may be curious about chiropractic care. Nonetheless, not every Arthritis discomfort can be treated with chiropractic are. During your first consultation, Dr. K will ask you about your medical history, the kind of arthritis that you have, and your habits. This initial visit is essential to determine what kind of chiropractic care will be best for you.
Scott Haldeman, MD, a neurologist in Santa Ana, California and Chairman Emeritus of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic, states that if you suffer from OA, chiropractic is “one of the safest therapies you can use.” A study stated that chiropractic care was at the top of the RA patients’ list for Complementary and Alternative Medicines. If you suffer from RA, Psoriatic Arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis, you should check with your medical provider and your chiropractor first to see if this is a safe option for you.
Chiropractic Adjustments for Arthritis
In essence, this is the most basic way that a Chiropractor can help you:
Chiropractors correct vertebral subluxations (misaligned spinal bones) through safe, gentle maneuvers also known as chiropractic adjustments. This is especially important for OA patients. Vertebral subluxations place stress on the joints, causing them to move out of alignment. According to the article in Optimal Health University presented by Dr. Kordonowy, as a response to this misalignment, the joints form bone spurs which irritate the muscles, tendons, and tissues.
Even if you already suffer from OA, you can still find relief from chiropractic adjustments. Properly aligning your spine will promote circulation and reduce the likelihood of pain and injury. Your chiropractor will perform the best maneuvers to treat your specific needs, whether that be more active exercises or soft and gentle movements.
In a study of 252 patients with low-back pain from OA, researchers randomly assigned patients moist hot packs and chiropractic care, or the hot packs without the chiropractic care. Those receiving both reported greater pain reduction than those without it.
If you suffer from inflammatory arthritis, like RA, you can still find relief through chiropractic care. Ultrasound or electrotherapy can both be good options for you.
With Arthritis, Prevention Is Key
In a 2000 study, researchers noted that the risk for later-life OA increased significantly for individuals who had a specific spot that had been injured. We urge our patients to not underestimate the severity even of a “minor” injury –as we do not know where this damage could lead. The same study stated that “By age 65 …. 13.9% of participants… had reported a knee injury [that started] during youth or young adulthood … that developed osteoarthritis in the knee.”
If you suffer from chronic conditions like Arthritis, chiropractic care can help to significantly improve your quality of life. There are still other habits that you should adopt to stay healthy, such as: regular exercise, a balanced diet, and proper sleep. If you are having issues with these habits or managing your pain, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (828) 277-0903. Dr. K will gladly assist you in your quest for health and wellness!