12 Ways chiropractors can help arthritis patients

Although there are dozens of types of arthritis, they all cause joint pain, inflammation and a general...

Although there are dozens of types of arthritis, they all cause joint pain, inflammation and a general blah feeling for the patient. Ready to add another doctor to your wellness plan? Consider chiropractic care. These hands-on professionals focus on aligning your bones to maximize the efficiency of all body systems--including the joints and immune system.

1. Improve range of motion

When a chiropractor does a full adjustment, all bones are aligned. This may initially cause discomfort, but after several adjustments, the joints will work more efficiently and with less pain, and your range of motion and mobility will increase. Imagine that cracking in your knees going away and having the ability to open jars without as much difficulty.

2. Build muscle

Once your bones are aligned, it's easier to start exercising. A chiropractor can suggest weight-bearing exercises to build bone mass and increase muscle. Some clinics even offer exercise classes to keep you motivated. As a bonus, weight loss can reduce lower joint pain dramatically.

3. Try massage therapy

Some chiropractors also offer massage therapy. Since massage focuses on muscle relief, this is a perfect complement to working with your bones. The chiropractor can focus on releasing tension in the muscles surrounding your joints and releasing stress from muscles that have been compensating for the extra wear and tear on your joints. Massage therapy can also reduce edema in the legs.

4. Increase flexibility

When you're sore and stiff, flexibility is limited. By aligning your bones and soothing your muscles with chiropractic care, your flexibility will ultimately increase. Ask your chiropractor to show you simple flexibility exercises to make reaching and grasping easier.

5. Do modified exercises

While you're working on controlling your arthritic symptoms, modified exercises might be beneficial. These put less stress on your joints while still giving your muscles a good stretch. Ask about seated exercises to reduce knee and ankle pain. Or, learn about floor exercises to give the spine a rest while you work your arms and legs.

6. Try electronic stimulation

Some chiropractors work with alternative therapies, such as electronic stimulation. Electrodes are attached to the skin and small pulses of electricity are directed at the joint. This treatment can relieve pain and improve joint functioning.

7. Increase your strength

Since chiropractors chart your progress from visit to visit, it's possible to see an increase in your overall strength over time. The doctor may ask you to complete simple strength tests such as squeezing his hands or pushing against a weighted device to monitor your improvement and the success of his treatment plan.

8. Use heat and ice treatments

You know how good a hot bath or an ice pack feels at home. Imagine having controlled heat and cold treatments administered by a doctor. A chiropractor can perfectly time and direct both heat or cool sensations to your muscles and joints to provide relief. Ask about hot stone therapy and topical cooling gels.

9. Stimulate the immune system

Autoimmune-based rheumatoid arthritis can suppress the patient's ability to heal from simple illnesses such as the common cold. Chiropractic care can give the body a healing boost by opening the sinuses, alleviating body aches and promoting a healthy digestive system.

10. Less medication dependence

By using chiropractic care, eating a healthy diet and exercising, a patient can reduce the number of prescription and over-the-counter medications needed to suppress pain or boost immunity. With routine chiropractic care, medications and supplements for fatigue and nausea may be a thing of the past.

11. Mood booster

When you're sore, stiff and generally not feeling well, being social can be hard. By visiting with a chiropractor once or twice a week, your mood will improve as you notice immediate physical progress and hear positive feedback. This type of emotional well-being isn't possible when you visit other doctors once every few months.

12. Slowing the disease

Since chiropractic care is a proactive approach, it can help slow the progress of your disease. Instead of treating symptoms with medications, you're keeping the body in tip-top shape to make further joint erosion and build-up of inflammation-causing synovial fluid increasingly difficult.

Do you think a chiropractor could improve your health? Talk with your family doctor or rheumatologist about the benefits of chiropractic care. Then, give an Atlanta-based chiropractor a call. Before scheduling an appointment, ask what types of therapies they offer for your medical condition and if they accept your medical insurance.

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