Every day, millions of people in America live with some form of arthritis. For some it is a minor inconvenience, while others struggle with crippling pain. The most common form of arthritis is a wearing down of the cartilage that buffers the joints, and though it commonly happens as a result of aging, it can actually impact any age group; it is often exacerbated by previous injuries. Though the disease can manifest itself in several different ways, it is always an inflammation of the joints, and because chiropractors deal directly with problems of the spine and joints, they can often provide long lasting relief for people who suffer from this condition by using a variety of methods, ranging from manipulation, to heat and ice, to electrical stimulation.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, and it is the form that chiropractors have the most success in treating. This degenerative condition involves inflammation, and a reduction of the material lubricating fluids that is normally found between the joints. The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility, and those can come in just about every and any joint in the body from fingers and toes to neck and spine; it is in the cases involving the neck and spine in particular that chiropractors can offer the most relief. Two thirds of arthritis sufferers who have sought medical help from traditional medical practitioners have also looked for alternative solutions such as herbal treatments or acupuncture, but the most popular alternative practitioners that people turn to are chiropractors. Three out of four patients who have visited chiropractors for their arthritis pain have found it helpful.
When a chiropractor treats an arthritis patient, the manipulation of the spine releases the joints that have been locked up by inflammation, providing not only pain relief but also increased mobility and flexibility. Many chiropractors go far beyond traditional manipulation techniques, offering advice and guidance on special exercises, nutrition, massage for the soft tissues, and pain management through electrical stimulation. The reduction of pain and the increase of flexibility that chiropractic treatment offers not only enables the patient to move more freely, it also reduces the need for pain medications. And because one of the key tenets of chiropractic medicine is that when properly aligned, the body can heal itself, regular chiropractic manipulation may actually prevent the occurrence or recurrence of arthritis symptoms.