Arthritis and How Chiropractic Care Can Help

What is arthritis?

Arthritis is a joint disease comprising 100 types of conditions that cause joint pain and other conditions related to joints. It affects people across age, race, and sex and, when left untreated, can cause permanent damage or changes to the joints. Some types of arthritis are associated with aging and older adults. Of the four most common types of arthritis (listed below), chiropractic care has been shown to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, which primarily affects the joints.

Approximately 24 percent of American adults—5.8 million people—are living with arthritis. Arthritis is one of the most common causes of work disability in the US. It’s also the leading cause of disability in adults over age 55. However, this doesn’t mean it’s limited to people over 55. People of all ages, even children, can suffer from arthritis.

How do I know if I have arthritis?

The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints. These are often accompanied by a reduced range of motion. People who suffer from arthritis may find it difficult to walk, climb stairs, or go about their usual daily activities like working, housework, and recreational activities; they may also have chronic pain that can be debilitating.

One visible symptom of arthritis are knobby finger joints. But in many cases, only an X-ray will show the damage arthritis produces. Symptoms of arthritis may be mild or severe, remain at the same level for many years or progress over time.

Types of arthritis

While joint damage is most noticeable in many people with arthritis, the disease also affects major organs (heart, lungs, kidneys), the eyes, and skin. Here’s a quick overview of the most prevalent kinds of arthritis.

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common type and can damage most joints. We see it most frequently in the spine, hips, knees, and hands. It is a disease that affects the entire joint and weakens the bones by wearing away the cartilage. Osteoarthritis causes the connective tissue in the joint to deteriorate and leads to joint inflammation, which causes further damage to the joint lining. Osteoarthritis may originate from work-related damage, joint injury, or certain lifestyle factors.
  • Autoimmune inflammatory arthritis stems from an overactive immune system that attacks healthy tissue. This includes the spine, hands, and feet. Autoimmune inflammatory arthritis can also damage the skin, eyes, heart, and other organs. Among these types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, which starts in the joint lining, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis (also called ankylosing spondylitis), gout, and juvenile arthritis.
  • Infectious arthritis comes from a viral, fungal, or bacterial infection that usually originates in one part of the body and migrates to a joint. This is usually seen in the knee. The individual may spike a fever along with having pain and swelling.
  • Metabolic arthritis is also known as gout. This occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joints. This causes sudden, intense pain, usually in the big toe.

Chiropractic care for arthritis

At Virginia Family Chiropractic, we help many patients who seek treatment for pain relief from arthritis. Chiropractic care for arthritis is safe, non-invasive, and works to increase joint motion and relieve pain. Osteoarthritis in particular benefits greatly from chiropractic care and avoids the downsides of long-term use of anti-inflammatory medication. Chiropractic treatment can also help relieve joint pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Chiropractic treatment for arthritis works not only for neck and back pain (common targets of osteoarthritis) but alleviates pain in joints as well. There are dozens of techniques chiropractors may use and we tailor our chiropractic care to each person’s specific arthritis condition. The goal is to improve joint function and relieve pain. In addition to soft tissue manipulation and gentle joint manipulation, we offer these adjunctive therapies

  • Trigger Point Injections to relieve pain and alleviate inflammation
  • Traction and exercises to stretch joints, strengthen muscles, and increase range of motion
  • Electrical stimulation TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that delivers tiny electric pulses that stimulate nerves and muscles
  • Robotic MLS (Multi-Wave Locked System) Laser therapy, which uses light to penetrate deep into soft tissue to stimulate healing on the cellular level, relieve pain, and reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Ultrasound – the sound waves massage soft tissue and help reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Heat and/or cold therapy

Arthritis pain relief at Virginia Family Chiropractic

If you’re suffering from arthritis pain and are seeking pain relief, better joint mobility, and improved quality of life, contact Virginia Family Chiropractic for an appointment in one of our four offices in northern Virginia. We are here to answer your questions about safe chiropractic care for arthritis and are dedicated to helping alleviate arthritis pain.