Treating Arthritis by Tackling Inflammation Through Chiropractic Care
For people living with arthritis, it can be hard to feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel when all you can focus on is the pain you’re in today. Worse, there’s fear that your joint function will only continue to deteriorate as you get older. It can feel like watching the things you love to do slip through your hands as you face pain, discomfort, and loss of mobility.
Finding relief from arthritis is extremely difficult due to just how misunderstood this disease is among both the people suffering from it and the professionals tasked with providing answers. Many physicians treat arthritis strictly as a pain-management issue. That means that they’re only concerned with decreasing surface pain without looking into the mechanisms that are preventing your joints from functioning properly.
Another Way of Looking at Arthritis Treatment
Both arthritic pain and treatment begin to make more sense when you look at this condition through the lens of inflammation. That’s because arthritis is really the inflammation of one or more joints at its core. From this angle, it becomes clear that chiropractic care is both an effective and practical solution for addressing both the underlying causes and painful symptoms associated with arthritis. Take a look at what you need to know about treating arthritis through chiropractic care if you’re seeking relief. We can start by covering what happens to our joints when arthritis moves in.
A Glance at Arthritis
Covering exactly what arthritis sufferers go through can be a good place to start. The joint inflammation that is felt with arthritis can actually create a rainbow of painful, uncomfortable symptoms that leave the sufferer feeling restricted. Here’s a rundown of the most common arthritis symptoms:
- Decreased range of motion.
Arthritis symptoms can vary by person. In addition, they can also vary by day for the same person. This is one of the reasons why people who live with this condition understand the concept of “good days” and “bad days” very well. People with more extreme arthritis symptoms will actually describe the painful inflammation and swelling they feel as being like a red, hot flame in their joints. Generally, arthritis worsens as we age even if it starts off very mild in our 40s or 50s. This is one of the reasons why learning to tame or manage arthritis as early as possible can be beneficial for preserving the quality of life.
What Can Chiropractic Care Do for Arthritis?
Chiropractic care is currently being used by countless people living with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis who are seeking gentle, non-invasive treatments that don’t rely on pain medication. While both conditions benefit from this type of care, chiropractors do take slightly specialized approaches depending on which type of arthritis is being treated. Chiropractors are interested in helping your body to restore joint function on its own regardless of which form of arthritis you’re living with.
Treating Osteoarthritis With Chiropractic Care
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis that causes extreme wear on the joint as we age. People with this condition experience a drastic reduction in the cartilage that is responsible for absorbing shock as we move around. The disintegration of that cartilage leads to the painful experience of feeling the friction of our joints rubbing together. Typically, a chiropractor will approach osteoarthritis as an issue requiring restored alignment between the spine and joints. By tackling deficiencies in the central nervous systems, chiropractors are able to focus on naturally restoring joint lubrication and nerve communication.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis With Chiropractic Care
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is not degenerative. This form of arthritis is the result of inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissue. However, it does share the characteristic of creating friction due to the loss of joint tissue and fluid. The condition can worsen if a misalignment in the spine is allowed to continue because of increasing, chronic friction whenever the joints move. In addition, spinal misalignment actually cuts off healthy blood flow to the joints that so desperately need this lifeline. Generally, a chiropractor will use very gentle, targeted adjustments to get the spine in proper alignment to reduce friction and blood-flow restrictions.
A Comprehensive View of Treating All Types of Arthritis
Chiropractors generally know which areas of the body to focus on when treating patients for arthritis. However, it’s also very common for chiropractors to take a whole-body approach to reduce inflammation that goes beyond just core joints and the spine. This is why X-ray scans and other diagnostic measures may be recommended during your visit. The goal is to get as comprehensive a picture as possible to see how severe spine, joint, and peripheral issues may be. Your chiropractor will also ask you some questions regarding your medical background to help determine a safe, optimal plan for tackling inflammation that doesn’t conflict with any treatments or medications you’re already using as part of an existing care plan. It’s important to remember that chiropractors are not “at odds” with conventional treatment options for arthritis. However, your chiropractor needs to know about your health history to ensure that the care they’re offering doesn’t conflict with a past or current plan.
The Science: Do Chiropractic Adjustments Help With Arthritis?
There is a growing body of research to suggest that people living with arthritis should be interested in pursuing chiropractic adjustment as a holistic alternative to other treatment options. One recent study demonstrates that a 12-week course of chiropractic care was able to help a 70-year-old female patient enjoy increased range of motion, improved balance, improved gait speed, and decreased disability following a long and painful period of suffering from osteoarthritis. Another study from 2013 found that 12 chiropractic treatments paired with patient education were more effective for treating hip osteoarthritis than a daily stretching regiment or education program alone.
Finding a Natural Treatment for Arthritis
For many in the health profession, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that you cannot treat arthritis without addressing inflammation. This is why chiropractic care is such an exciting option for people suffering from this condition. Chiropractic adjustments offer possibilities for both pain relief and restored function without the need for painful surgeries or medication. What’s more, the restorative aspect of a chiropractic adjustment is really focused on getting the body back in sync to get joint function back to where it should be. While we’ve focused on osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, it’s important to add that chiropractic care can also be effective for treating psoriatic and other forms of arthritis.
The final thing to say is that a chiropractic adjustment should not be thought of as a “cure” for arthritis. Time will tell if this condition can ever be fully cured. However, what we do know is that chiropractic care is emerging as a very effective, low-risk treatment that creates noticeable, lasting results for many people suffering from arthritis. We’re really looking at a way to “stop the clock” before the degenerative qualities of arthritis take more away from the person living with the condition. Getting the joints and spine back in alignment is a great strategy for preventing arthritic damage by reducing inflammation, grinding, and lubrication loss.