Does Chiropractic Help Arthritis?
Millions of American adults and hundreds of thousands of American children have arthritis. If you are one of those sufferers, you have likely looked everywhere for help. As with any condition, some treatments work better than others. Luckily, there is one that works wonders: chiropractic therapy.
What Is Arthritis?
Before we dive into the treatment, let’s take a quick look at what arthritis is and who suffers from it. If you aren’t familiar with the condition, a little background may help. This is especially true when helping a loved one with this disease.
Arthritis.org says that “arthritis is very common but is not well understood.” They go to say that it is not only one illness, like many might think. Most people likely assume that arthritis refers to osteoarthrtis. This is only one of many, but it does afflict the most people. (Rheumatoid is another well-known form.) Arthritis is a word that refers to the many diseases that all result from inflammation in the joints.
According to San Antonio Pain & Injury Centers, a chiropractor in San Antonio, there are well over a hundred varieties of arthritis-type ailments. The symptoms vary, but most involve similar warning signs. Joint pain and swelling in the muscles are both common. Stiffness and decreased range of motion is also typical. The aches can be temporary or permanent and might even worsen as time goes by. The pain might also vary in degrees, or level of discomfort, and some days may be better than others.
The business of everyday life can become quite a challenge. Many sufferers complain that simple tasks like walking up stairs are too difficult. Whether the changes are easy to see or hide underneath the surface, the pain is very real.
Who Suffers from Arthritis?
While it is more common in females and the elderly, “people of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis.” Arthritis.org also reveals that “it is the leading cause of disability in America”. As mentioned above, there are millions and millions of people that suffer from it. The Source Chiropractic says half of adults will get it in their knees. That is staggering.
They report that a further quarter of the population will have it in their hips by the age of eighty-five. And another one in twelve adults over the age of sixty will develop arthritis in their hands. That’s a whole lot of people suffering from this often debilitating illness. That said, there are therapies that provide relief. Chiropractic in particular has proven to be quite effective for countless arthritic people.
Can Chiropractic Therapy Help Arthritis Sufferers?
In a word, yes. In this video, Dr. Jordan Fairley of The Source Chiropractic describes how. He explains what it is, how it occurs, and the help a chiropractor provides. Most doctors, he says, will prescribe some form of conventional therapy to you for your joint pain. The inflammation does need dealing with, and this is their method for doing so. They will likely give you anything from an NSAID to a cortisone shot. NSAIDs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter drugs like Advil (ibuprofen) count as NSAIDs. Cortisone is much stronger.
Doctors intend to give your body a little help to deal with the pain. It allows your brain to reinterpret the achy signal coming from your knee or wrist or hip. Doctors are smart people. And they are correct when they prescribe anti-inflammatories for arthritis. The unfortunate fact is that this is counterproductive. In the end, you need something that will last.
The good news is that there is another form of therapy that works to rebuild the body and create lasting relief. This is a little like the difference between a bandage and surgery. One of those two will have an effect for much longer. I’ll let you guess which one it is…
How Do Chiropractors Alleviate Arthritis Pain?
This, finally, is where chiropractors come in. Chiropractors are trained and licensed professionals. It is their job, Dr. Fairley says, to return the body to its proper alignment. He also says they repair the body’s biomechanics. By doing this, they enable the body to repair itself. The joints and muscles can then build anew what they once lost. Or, to put it another way, the body can reduce the unintended inflammation.
Dr. Fairley makes the striking point that inflammation is not a bad thing. It is only the body’s response to stress. Without it, our bodies would not function very well. That said, too much of a good thing can become a very bad thing. This is arthritis itself.
The chiropractic process is safe and effective for most people. They use a combination of “ultrasound, electrotherapy, low-level laser, [and] infrared sauna”. These therapies aid the body in reducing pain and healing the joints themselves.
One quick note. There are types of arthritis or swelling that should not receive chiropractic treatment. These are the exception. Always tell the chiropractor exactly what is happening with your body. They will let you know if they can, or should, help you. If they can, then they will. If not, they will tell you otherwise.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Trust the doctors themselves. “The American College of Physicians…supports…nonpharmacologic therapies, such as chiropractic.”
And here’s one doctor in particular. Arthritis.org quotes Scott Haldeman, a medical doctor and neurologist from California. “If you have back or neck pain due to osteoarthritis, chiropractic is one of the safest therapies you can use.”
That’s high praise from doctors in general and one in particular who is very well regarded. I hope all this sets your mind at ease. Take a look at Dr. Fairley’s video as well, if you haven’t already. He does a great job of explaining how it all works.