Chiropractic CE

Does Chiropractic Work for Arthritis?

Does Chiropractic Work for Arthritis

            Chiropractic is an efficient and safe treatment or Arthritis, and with the amount of areas in the body that arthritis can affect, it is essential that patients have the most medical remedies possible available to them. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), 21.2% of all adults or 53.2 million people have arthritis. This number grows with age, although it can happen at any age, and depends on the underlying issue. There are many ways as chiropractic providers that we can aid those afflicted with arthritis that go further than just chiropractic adjustments.



Arthritis Basics


            Simply put, arthritis is joint pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion due to inflammation in the joints. Although most patients have arthritis in the limbs, there are actually over 200 varieties of arthritis able to hit any area of the body.


Most Common Forms of Arthritis:


  • Osteoarthritis – this is the most common type and it is also known as degenerative joint disease. This occurs due to repetitive trauma, and is most common in those older in age.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – often referred to as RA, and is the 2nd most common form of arthritis deriving from an autoimmune issue. This type involves the immune system attacking the joint.
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – this is another variety of arthritis where the body attacks itself.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis – this is another variety of arthritis that derives from an autoimmune issue.
  • Septic Arthritis – this type of arthritis is due to a bacterial or viral infection in the joint.

In general, it is vital that patients are diligent about getting proper diagnosis, as with most medical conditions, once we are aware of the type of arthritis a patient has we can treat more effectively. Arthritis pain can occur from immune system dysfunction, obesity, trauma, and even genetics



Chiropractic for Arthritis


            Many patients and general practitioners alike have the false belief that a chiropractor would treat an inflamed joint. It is actually quite the opposite. For example, a patient may have a flare in the ankle or knee region which is causing them to walk strangely. This may lead to pain in the lower back or pelvis which we would adjust to reduce overall pain by treating the surrounding tissues. The benefit of chiropractic treatment is obviously that can be helpful for arthritis, but also that it is a non-invasive and natural procedure. It is even more beneficial to those who are at risk of arthritis emerging due to lifestyle factors or genetics as chiropractic can be instrumental as a preventative.


Chiropractic Treatment Techniques Utilized for Arthritis:


  • Adjustments – using gentle adjustments on the body is helpful for arthritis because improved alignment increases tissue health, decreases strain on the joints, and increases nerve function. Even the subtlest of misalignments in the body can cause arthritic pain to be worse.
  • Natural Pain Relief – this can include straightforward options like ice and heat or mechanical traction or electrical stimulation.
  • Exercise/Stretching – it is important as chiropractic providers treating arthritis patients to design a stretch and exercise routine that focuses on muscle strength and flexibility with an emphasis on functional movements. This will make completing day-to-day tasks much easier, and ultimately, aid in future joint health.
  • Lifestyle Recommendations – this can include stress management tips, weight management, diet, sleep quality, mindfulness, and more. This will help in treating arthritis with fewer complications.

However, it is most important that patients know and understand that a chiropractor cannot cure the patient’s arthritis as at this point in time there is no cure. The main goal of chiropractic treatment along with other medical interventions is to mitigate the symptoms and progression of arthritis.

Other Chiropractic Treatments for Arthritis:


  • Ultrasound
  • Massage
  • Magnet therapy
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Hot and cold therapy
  • Electrical stimulation.

As mentioned before, providing patients with proper exercises that they can do in office and at home can be extremely helpful in order for them to get a more well-rounded treatment from us and their general practitioner. When it comes to the most common body parts afflicted with arthritis, the limbs, there are many beneficial exercises we can recommend for our patients. This is especially the case for the hands and feet. The following exercises are helpful to prevent injury and relieve pain.


Chiropractic Exercises for the Hands & Feet:


  • Hands – Praying Position – great for a beginner and stretches the hands and wrists. Bonus is that this can be done anywhere.
    • Palms together in praying position with elbows and arms touching. Then, slowly spread the elbows apart and lower the hands to waist level. Stop this action once the hands reach the belly button. Hold for 10-30 seconds and repeat.
  • Hands – Clenched Fist – this exercise increases flexibility and lowers risk of injury. It is important to note that if a patient is healing from an existing injury, this exercise should be skipped.
    • Sitting, place hands palms up on the thighs. Then, close the hands slowly into a fist, but don’t clench too tightly. Once fisted and keeping your forearms on the legs, lift the fists toward the body bending the wrist. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower slowly and open the hand all the way. Repeat.
  • Feet – Calf Stretch – this exercise really gives a great stretch, and can be done on a slant board or even the wall.
    • Foot on the slant board or wall, keep the heels on the floor and lean into the wall, and hold for 3 seconds and repeat.
  • Feet – Feet Raises – this exercise is also great for beginners or those who aren’t as mobile due to their arthritis.
    • Lean on the wall with feet flat on the floor with the fee slightly away from the wall. The further they are from the wall the more stretch there will be. Raise the toes slowly, then lower the toes again slowly to the ground. Repeat 10x.

There a multitude of other great exercises in our chiropractic toolbox that would be great for patients with arthritis all depending on the patient’s presenting symptoms.



Chiropractic Works for Arthritis


Above all, the main goal of chiropractic treatment for arthritis is to work with the patient’s medical team to relieve the pain and swelling from arthritis. Chiropractic providers come in to provide and natural and safe treatment, and hopefully help to mitigate the over-consumption of medications which are helpful, but have horrible long-term side effects. We should also be sure that any exercise plan given to a patient is to be kept low impact, slow, heat before exercise, and ice after. More and more patients are turning to alternative treatments like chiropractic to help with their arthritis and it is easy to see why.