Living with arthritis pain can seem hopeless at times.
Over the years, chiropractic care has become a popular treatment method for management of arthritis pain, particularly in the spine.
A 2010 study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that spinal adjustments used by chiropractors were as effective as medication for low back pain.
Even more, a 2013 study published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage found that seeing a chiropractor for 12 treatments, two times a week for six weeks, was superior to daily stretching and patient education for osteoarthritis of the hip.
With more and more positive research being published on chiropractic care for the management of pain, it’s easy to see why many sufferers of arthritis pain choose chiropractic care.
Anyone that lives with arthritis knows that it is a constantly evolving management of symptoms.
Arthritis treatment: What you need to know about symptoms
Arthritis is a general term and there are several different types of arthritis. Some different types of arthritis include:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage inside the joints degrades and is worn down. It is characterized often by a decrease in joint space which, in time, may cause the bones to wear on each other because they lack the protective cartilage between them. The pain can worsen over time as the body dehydrates with age and the body’s cartilage degrades even further as part of the normal aging process.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which the body starts to attack its own immune system by destroying and eroding cartilage, connective tissue, ligaments and joints in the body.
- Psoriatic Arthritis is another autoimmune disease in which the the body’s immune system begins to destroy the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints spaces in and around bones. It may even affect the skin and fingernails.
- Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a condition where the ligaments in and around the spine begin to harden and stiffen overtime. Typically, AS starts in males in their early to mid 20’s. This condition can cause poor posture (kyphosis), chronic stiffness and pain in the back.
- Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) is a condition where the spinal discs at multiple levels begin to degenerate and thin. Symptoms include chronic pain and stiffness in the neck and back, even radiating pain and numbness into the arms or legs.
- Lupus is another autoimmune inflammatory disease that may affect more than the joints in the body and cause organ damage in the kidneys, brain or other organs. Symptoms include fatigue, rashes, kidney problems, fever, and even loss of hair.
- Fibromyalgia is a condition in which the brain and body do not properly process pain signals or inflammatory mediators in the body, which drive pain, often called cytokines. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, chronic pain, depression, sleep problems, and mood problems.
How chiropractic care is able to help with arthritis pain:
Most chiropractors utilize physical therapy as part of their practice. These treatments for arthritis pain usually include:
Ultrasound therapy for arthritis pain– The deep penetrating ultrasonic heat can provide a significant decrease in stiffness, pain, and inflammation in joints ligaments, nerves and muscles.
Electrotherapy for arthritis pain– Targeted electrical impulses are used to soothe tense, inflamed muscles and dull overactive, excited nerves.
Manual therapy for arthritis pain– The clinician will stretch or gently massage areas of inflamed and sore tissues. This causes increased circulation to the affected region and increases mobility, flexibility to muscles, fascia, tendons and joints.
Targeted therapeutic exercises for arthritis pain– The clinician prescribes and performs targeted therapeutic stretches and exercises to increase circulation, increase strength, and increase flexibility.
Arthritis treatment in summary…
Chiropractic care should be considered as a valuable tool for managing chronic pain from arthritis. For certain more serious autoimmune conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, and Psoriatic Arthritis, co-management should be included with a Rheumatologist.
Dr. Jeffrey Gerdes, D.C.