Chiropractic Treatment for Arthritis
Chiropractic Care for Arthritis
Many types of arthritis respond well to chiropractic care plans, which may include both joint manipulation and physiotherapy modalities such as massage therapy. Several studies over the years have found chiropractic (sometimes described as manual manipulative therapy) effective in alleviating certain arthritic conditions, including ankylosing spondylitis and the various forms of tendonitis. Further, the amount of anecdotal and empirical evidence on the effectiveness of chiropractic in treating arthritis and joint pain is extensive.
“There was a 90% improvement in the disease activity index and an 85% improvement in the functional index from the pre-treatment baseline, as measured by the BASDAI and BASFI respectively. Spinal flexibility and chest expansion also improved.” (Rutherford, Nicolson, Crowther: Symptomatic improvement in function and disease activity in a patient with ankylosing spondylitis utilizing a course of chiropractic therapy: a prospective case study: JCCA J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2005 Jun;49(2):81-91.
“Massage, and other passive (practitioner-driven) manual therapies, have been anecdotally reported to improve health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in people with arthritis” (Cameron: Is Manual Therapy a Rational Approach to Improving Health-Related Quality of Life in People with Arthritis?: Australas Chiropr Osteopathy. 2002 July; 10(1): 0 15.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, as of 2006, approximately 46 million adults (24.3 million women; 17.1 million men) in the United States – or 1 in 5 – have some form of arthritis. Over 7 million Americans have their daily lives – including bathing, dressing, and walking – impeded by arthritis. While people of any age – even children (approximately 300,000 at last count) – can suffer from arthritis, it is more commonly experienced as people grow older. Nonetheless, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. among people over the age of 15 – and that is not a misprint. It is also the second leading cause of work disability, behind heart disease. Fifty percent of adults over the age of 65 have some form of arthritis, with women more likely to develop arthritis than men.
Also according to the Arthritis Foundation – half of all these people think there is nothing that can help them.
What’s Going On?
The literal definition of arthritis is a joint inflammation caused by a breakdown of cartilage. But the term arthritis is actually used to describe over 100 different rheumatic conditions – that is, conditions that involve inflammation and pain of the joints, muscles, or connective tissues of the body, including ligaments, tendons, the skin, and certain other organs.
As such, many different factors can attribute to arthritis, including wear and tear (esp. from overuse and/or repetitive motion), a weakened immune system, and hereditary factors. Osteoarthritis, or the degeneration of cartilage and growth of bone spurs at a joint, is the most common form of arthritis, but others include fibromyalgia, gout, and the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.
But while there are so many different types of arthritis (with more being discovered all the time), they all generally function in the same way, in terms of causing stiffness, restricted movement, swelling, inflammation, pain, and a progressive deterioration. Typical symptoms of all types of arthritis include: redness, swelling, stiffness, and warmth in a joint, and recurring or constant tenderness or pain in a joint. Other symptoms include inexplicable fever, fatigue, swollen lymph glands, and weight loss.
As the condition progresses, fluid and debris can build up in the joint capsule, and the resulting inflammation can trigger the development of bony growths that contribute to the severity of the condition. This bony growth and inflammation can lead to nerve compression which can cause sensations of numbness and tingling, muscle spasm, cramping, weakness, and even a loss of muscle control over the muscle supplied by the affected nerve. At its most extreme, an untreated case of arthritis can ultimately cause joint disfigurement. Fortunately, these growths can be seen on an x-ray.
Early diagnosis and prompt treatment have been found extremely effective in lessening and staving off the progression of arthritis and associated symptoms, as a result often preventing potential disability and deformity. In fact, once the related injury has been healed, or disease has been treated, or infection has cleared, the associated inflammation often goes away.
Arthritis Risk Factors
Risk factors for arthritis are broken down into two categories: those that are modifiable (things that can be changed) and those that are not.
Modifiable risk factors for arthritis include:
- prior joint injury
- certain jobs involving frequent repetitive activities involving joints, such as stooping over or kneeling down
Non-modifiable risk factors for arthritis include:
- women 15 and older
- men 45 and older
- those with a genetic predisposition to arthritis (hereditary factors)
There is no known cure for arthritis, but several treatments have been found effective for many patients, including chiropractic.
For more information or to schedule an appointment to see how Chiropractic Care may help your Arthritis, call us at 773.878.7330