Have you been wondering whether chiropractic treatment can help with arthritis pain and discomfort? There is a common misconception that chiropractors only treat the spine and back, but the reality is quite different. In fact, in addition to performing a wide range of spinal adjustments and back treatments, chiropractic physicians treat the whole body, particularly the joints.
How does this help arthritis sufferers? When you need pain relief from the effects of arthritis in any joint of your body, or when you want to increase range-of-motion (ROM) of a particular limb, chiropractic treatment can help you in multiple ways. That’s because the physician not only performs a complete physical exam but is able to improve the overall relationship between your nervous system and your spine. Research backs up the effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients with arthritis. For example, chiropractic treatment has been clinically shown to reduce symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis (PA) and improve range of motion in patients who suffer from this form of arthritis.
Arthritis has many symptoms, some more obvious than others. Some adults who have arthritis mistake it for something else, or tend to think of it as general discomfort while it’s in the early stages. It’s important to visit a trained chiropractic physician as soon as you suspect that you have arthritis. That way, you’ll be able to find out about treatment options as early as possible. What are some of the common symptoms of arthritis? In most cases, they include some or all of the following:
- Localized swelling
- Redness or discoloration of the skin around a joint
- Generalized or specific pain
- Mild to severe stiffness
- Impaired range-of-motion (ROM) in one or more parts of the body, particularly in the limbs, hips, or back
Chiropractors are adept at treating arthritis in a variety of ways, and are the only medical professionals who can bring arthritis relief without the use of drugs or surgery. Because they examine, treat, and work with the whole body, chiropractors are able to gain unique insights into a patient’s arthritis-related challenges and delivers effective treatment to patients with different kinds of arthritis.
Why Chiropractic for Arthritis?
What can your chiropractor do for you if you suffer, or suspect that you suffer from arthritis? The good news is that you can get relief from all types of the malady when you receive chiropractic care. In fact, you’ll not only be able to get relief for low-back pain associated with arthritis and other conditions, but for pain and joint discomfort in the neck, back, and knees. It usually takes between 6 and 12 visits to begin to notice significant relief. For most patients, that means just a few weeks of visits to the doctor.
One of the challenges of obtaining reliable, effective treatment for arthritis is that the condition presents itself in so many ways. For example, you’ve probably heard of the most common types of arthritis, including some of the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis: A chronic and inflammatory condition that affects more than just your joints because it is an autoimmune condition
- Psoriatic arthritis: A type of the condition that tends to more frequently affect people who also suffer from the common skin condition known as psoriasis
- Osteoarthritis arthritis: Worn out cartilage is the cause of this most common type of arthritis that often affects older patients the most
- Anklosing spondylitis: This inflammatory form of arthritis can cause the vertebrae in your spine to fuse together, leading to a whole host of painful, range-limiting symptoms
- Septic arthritis: Caused by germs that reach a joint via the bloodstream and cause it to become infected, swollen, and tender
- Gout: Often affecting the feet, gout comes on quickly and usually causes redness, severe swelling, and pain
- Reactive arthritis: Urinary or intestinal infections can cause a “reaction” in a joint or joints, causing them to swell up and experience pain
It’s important to undergo a complete physical exam at your chiropractor’s office in order to understand both the type and severity of your arthritis, if that is what you are suffering from. No mater the type, chiropractic care can bring relief in a number of ways, including in-office treatment, spinal adjustments, ultrasound therapy, physical therapy, and education about diet and exercise.
For example, in cases where patients suffer from osteoarthritis, chiropractic treatment can bring significant relief. One study clearly demonstrated the overall effectiveness of a general chiropractic protocol for reducing pain, discomfort, and poor function in the knees of patients with osteoarthritis (OA).
What If It’s Not In Your Back?
As noted above, many people incorrectly believe that chiropractors only treat the neck and back. The truth is that your chiropractic physician can treat arthritis effectively and do so without resorting to drugs or surgery. While there are pharmaceutical drugs on the market, millions of adults are either allergic to them or don’t wish to risk the side-effects that typically come with medications. Another point about drug-based treatment is this: drugs are not designed to deal with the causes of arthritis but only with its symptoms. That’s why a whole-body approach, like chiropractic, usually makes more sense for arthritis sufferers.
What if your arthritis is not in your back? Well, the chiropractor will employ one or more of a long list of treatment options, including the following techniques:
- Cold Laser: This treatment involves a non-hot laser beam that targets the painful area and brings relief by reducing inflammation.
- Ultrasound: The sound waves in ultrasound therapy are able to completely massage your body’s aching, arthritic soft tissue and pain-filled joints. The result is often a significant reduction in stiffness, associated pain, and swelling.
- Infrared Sauna: This advanced pain-reduction technique allows your joints to be heated from the inside-out. It also brings increased circulation to the affected area and can work on arthritis symptoms in virtually any part of our body.
- Electro-therapy: By stimulating the muscles and nerves in the arthritic area, these completely non-painful electrical impulses work invisibly and effectively on a variety of injuries to the body’s soft tissues, particularly in patients who have arthritis
It’s important to remember that a chiropractor will not perform spinal adjustment on patients who suffer from forms of arthritis that include active swelling. The good news is that there are multiple types of therapy for arthritis that chiropractors can use, including several from the above list.
For example, even if you have active swelling associated with a severe case of rheumatoid arthritis, for example, the chiropractic physician might treat the surrounding area in order to restore range-of-motion and relieve pain in related parts of the body. Some people with RA in their knees suffer from low-back discomfort as a result of compensatory walking habits. A chiropractor can effectively treat the low-back pain and show the patient how to walk in such a way as to avoid a recurrence of the back condition. This is just one of many techniques chiropractors use to deal with the “whole body” of a patient who has any kind of arthritis.
Chiropractic is Completely Safe for Arthritis Treatment
No matter what kind of pre-existing condition is giving you trouble, a chiropractor can help. One of the key advantages of working with a chiropractor is the wide knowledge base you’ll benefit from. The doctor performs a full evaluation on your first visit and is able to determine exactly what type of arthritis you have, if indeed that is the condition that is causing your symptoms. Because arthritis, by its very nature, affects the joints and their surrounding tissues, chiropractors are uniquely trained to provide both insight, diagnosis, education, and treatment for this widespread, often painful condition.
Not only is chiropractic care 100 percent safe for arthritis patients, but it can restore a significant percentage of mobility, decrease pain levels, and often reduce associated swelling. The added benefit is that you never have to worry about side-effects from medication because none are used. Nor is there a risk of adverse effects of surgery because chiropractic treatment is a hands-on, non-drug, non-surgery treatment program.
Getting Help When You Need It
If you have arthritis and want relief from pain, swelling, and limited range-of-motion, chiropractic care can deliver visible results. Not only will you have the chance for improving your overall quality of life, you’ll benefit from non-drug pain relief, can do rehabilitative exercises to get even more relief, and gain a deeper understanding about your condition. Chiropractors offer three forms of treatment, generally speaking: direct physical relief, education, and ongoing support and prevention via nutrition and lifestyle counseling.
Getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising in the right way can be an effective long-term approach for preventing arthritis-related problems from reappearing. If you want to begin your journey toward arthritis relief today, contact our office at Delaware Integrative Healthcare and schedule an initial exam. We’ll begin working with you to reduce pain, restore movement, and bring long-term relief from the many problems associated with arthritis.
We’re always glad to hear from new or returning patients, so give us a call at your convenience. Our Dover office phone number is 302-744-8650, and our Middletown number is 302-376-5830. We look forward to hearing from you and helping to restore your good health.