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  • Can Chiropractic help arthritis?

  • Many patients ask, can chiropractic adjustment help arthritis pain and inflammation?  May is arthritis and osteoporosis awareness/prevention month. We want to address what chiropractic can and cannot do for arthritis patients seeking relief through a chiropractic adjustment. 

    What is Osteoarthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease?  How chiropractic can help?

    By definition arthritis is a general term referring to inflammation within a joint. There are many different types of arthritis and they are categorized by the cause. The most common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease (DJD) caused by physical stress on joints through injury, microtrauma, overuse or poor posture.   The most common symptoms associated with arthritis are pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion.  There isn’t a cure for osteoarthritis or DJD.  It is progressive and can be very limiting.

    Chiropractors are the only providers that use non medication treatment for relieving the symptoms of osteoarthritis through the chiropractic adjustment.  Consider this vicious cycle. Joint is injured, the muscles around the joint tighten, mobility is restricted, inflammation sets.  Over time the joint becomes stiff, achy, and surrounded by chronic micro inflammation.  To improve all this the joint needs to move, but movement hurts.  The less you move, the more arthritis progresses, the more it hurts to move and the more you need to move.  

    Chiropractors use variety of adjusting techniques to restore the movement in the joint, decrease inflammation and muscle spasm.  The adjustment is also specific to the joint, whether in the spine or the extremity, so the treatment is focused and most effective.  Chiropractic care cannot reverse the damage of osteoarthritis, but it can provide natural relief, slow the progression and retrain the joint to an optimum fiction.   Your chiropractor can also instruct you on safe stretching, foam rolling, and mobility exercises that are all helpful in maintaining ranges of motion and decreasing associated pain and muscle spasm.

    Other types of arthritis and chiropractic care

    Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout or ankylosing spondylitis are other type of arthritis that are characterized by excessive active inflammation, excess of uric acid in the blood or natural fusion of the spine in the case of ankylosing spondylitis.  Gentle chiropractic care in a form of low force and velocity adjustment is NOT contraindicated.  We certainly recommend that you are under care of medical provider since most patients need medication as well. 

    What is osteoporosis? Is chiropractic adjustment safe for people with osteoporosis?

    Osteoporosis is a condition in which there is a reduction in bone density/mass which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. Osteoporosis is most common in women over the age of 50.  Osteoporosis may not be symptomatic by itself however, people with osteoporosis are at risk for fractures.  

    While calcium and vitamin D are important supplements, the most effective way to treat osteoporosis is with weight bearing exercise. Weight bearing exercises activate Wolff’s Law which states that bone will adapt to the load it is put under. Basically, when lifting a weight, or when walking the bones are put under the stress of the contracting muscles.  This activates the osteoblasts-bone producing cells to deposit more bone in the area, thus strengthening the bone.  Activating Wolff’s Law is the best means of both prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. 

    Chiropractic adjustments should be performed with caution due to the increased risk of fractures.  Low force and low velocity adjustments such as drop table or instrument assisted adjustments are great options.

    As always check with your trusted chiropractor if chiropractic adjustment can help with arthritis pain.  As always choose chiropractic before medication and surgery and visit our website, like us on Facebook, Instagram or call us for an appointment.