Welcome to the Family Chiropractic & Massage blog! Here, we will discuss anything and everything that has to do with chiropractic care and wellness. We will share helpful information and hopefully answer any questions you have through our articles. We are a chiropractic clinic that began in 1997 and has since grown to locations in North Charleston, Summerville, and Moncks Corner, South Carolina. We are dedicated to providing tailored care and treatment with traditional and new techniques to help our patients reach their wellness goals. We treat a variety of conditions including neck pain, back pain, injuries, sciatica, scoliosis, and more. Besides chiropractic care, we also offer physiotherapeutic care, rehabilitative care, and massage therapy. Our licensed massage therapists offer all types of massage from deep tissue to compression massage and more. We are strong believers in natural healing! Check out our website to find out more information about the services and care we offer, and contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced doctors!

In our last post, we continued our discussion about foods that can help strengthen your immune system. Incorporating these foods into your diet is a great way to protect your body and prevent colds, the flu, and other infections. In part one of this discussion, we mentioned citrus fruits, garlic, spinach, poultry, and shellfish! In part two, we talked about elderberries, broccoli, tea, sunflower seeds, blueberries, and red bell pepper. If you are interested in learning more about these foods and how they can boost your immune system, we encourage you to check out both blogs!

Today, we’ll be discussing arthritis and how chiropractic care can help. Arthritis is described as the inflammation of one or more joints, causing pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. There are different types of arthritis and each has different causes. Over 52.5 million people have arthritis or another rheumatic condition diagnosed by a doctor. If you or a loved one suffer from arthritis, stick around to learn more about the condition, and how chiropractic care may be the right treatment for you. Let’s get started!

The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, with osteoarthritis being the most common. Let’s take a closer look at these.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis occurs when flexible tissue, or cartilage, at the ends of bones wears down over time. Cartilage is a firm, yet slippery tissue allows for frictionless joint motion. If cartilage wears down, bone rubs on bone. This type of arthritis can affect any joint, but it most commonly affects joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Symptoms of osteoarthritis tend to develop slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Tenderness
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Swelling
  • Bone spurs
  • Grating sensation

Although osteoarthritis is often referred to as a “wear and tear” disease, it is not caused by simple wear and tear. Osteoarthritis that occurs without a known cause is known as primary osteoarthritis, while osteoarthritis caused by another disease, infection, or injury is known as secondary osteoarthritis. 

Anyone can get osteoarthritis, but certain factors can put you more at risk. For example, women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though the reason remains unclear. Other risk factors include:

  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • Joint injuries
  • Genetics
  • Repeated stress on a joint
  • Certain metabolic diseases, such as diabetes
  • Bone deformities

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the joints. The body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, making it inflamed and swollen. This disease can eventually destroy cartilage and bone within the joint. Symptoms include:

  • Tender, warm, and/or swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness
  • Fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite

The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but there are some factors that may put you at a higher risk for developing it. Again, women are more likely than men to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Other risk factors include:

  • Family history
  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Excess weight

How is arthritis diagnosed?

In most cases, a doctor will take a look at your medical history, take note of your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and then may decide to order diagnostic imaging. Some types of imaging can help detect problems within the joint that are causing your symptoms, such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Once it is determined that you have arthritis, your doctor will discuss treatment options. When it comes to arthritis treatment, the main focus is to relieve symptoms and improve joint function. For some people, a combination of treatments may be best. Some people need to try different treatments before they find what works best for them. 

Common treatments include medications such as NSAIDs, counterirritants, or steroids. However, if you are looking for a natural, drug-free treatment for arthritis, chiropractic care may be the best option for you!

How can chiropractic care treat arthritis? 

When most people think of chiropractic care, they most likely think of treating back pain. While this is absolutely true, chiropractic care is also beneficial for a variety of other conditions– This includes arthritis. In fact, chiropractic care is one of the safest treatments for arthritis, because it is all natural, non-invasive, and drug-free. Chiropractic care is great for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, rather than a degenerative joint disease, some people feel that chiropractic adjustments will not help them. This is not the case, however. Since chiropractic care benefits the immune system, patients with rheumatoid arthritis can still see results. In fact, chiropractic care has been shown to reduce inflammation and reduce joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, each patient is different. So, a chiropractor should first discuss your medical history with you to determine the best course of action. 

There are a few different ways that a chiropractor can treat issues with joints and soft tissue, including through adjustments, stretching and massage, and joint mobilization. Since osteoarthritis most commonly affects weight-bearing joints such as the spine, hips, and knees, a chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation can relieve pressure. By emphasizing joint movement, chiropractic adjustments can help stabilize affected joints and mobilize them to relieve the pain. In some cases, the traction technique may be used. Traction is a less forceful type of technique that uses gentle stretching to mobilize the affected joints. Since chiropractic adjustments improve your overall spinal health and nervous system function, your body will be able to better manage the symptoms caused by arthritis. Additionally, other therapeutic options may be recommended, such as heat and ice or massage therapy. 

For most patients, choosing chiropractic care as a treatment for arthritis allows them to see the following benefits:

  • Reduced pain and/or discomfort
  • Improved range of motion
  • Improved flexibility
  • Decreased inflammation
  • Increased activity/lifestyle

As you can see, chiropractic care is an extremely effective and safe treatment for arthritis and other joint issues. We hope you found this article informative, and we encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. It would be a pleasure to assist you. Here at Family Chiropractic & Massage, we offer chiropractic care as well as massage services and heat and cold therapy. We have doctors who have studied various chiropractic techniques to render care to patients with different types of conditions. As people vary, so do the techniques chosen to help each patient get well. We use evidence-based treatment methods to help patients get better faster. If you are suffering from any type of back pain, contact us today to set up an appointment so we can assess your needs and create an effective treatment plan. One of our experienced doctors would love to help get you on the right track to living a healthy, pain-free life! Thank you for reading, and we hope you’ll check back for more articles about chiropractic care and all it has to offer!