Q: I have rheumatoid arthritis and have heard that a chiropractor may be able to fix it. Is that true?

A: Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammation of the joints that causes pain, swelling and stiffness. It is a chronic, or long term, and progressive disease and cannot be “fixed”. It can lead to a loss of function in the joint. Having the condition, however, does not necessarily restrict you to a life of inactivity. Though there is no cure for the disease, there are ways to manage it. Chiropractic treatment can play a role in that management. I think of arthritis like other chronic diseases such as heart disease. You need to make proper choices in your daily life that keep it from becoming a larger problem or pay the consequences. It really is that simple. The difficult part is knowing what the right choices are for some people and that is where a chiropractor could have a lot of value for you.

Your chiropractor can help you develop an exercise program that will help maintain range of motion in arthritic joints, and, in some cases, restore some lost range of motion. The exercise program will also be designed to improve flexibility and endurance and increase muscle tone and strength. Range-of-motion exercises may include stretching and dancing. Moderate weight lifting might be recommended to strengthen muscles that support joints. Finally, aerobic or endurance exercises like swimming or walking could be recommended as a way to control weight and benefit the cardiovascular system.

Another part of chiropractic treatment would be to provide nutrition and diet advice, including supplements that could be helpful with the inflammation that characterizes the disease. The chiropractic adjustment may not be appropriate for all arthritic candidates, but commonly it can be modified to not irritate the areas of pain and still improve the flexibility. Talk with your chiropractor if you suffer with the discomfort of arthritis.

If you would like more information, health tips and a newsletter from Advantage Health & Wellness PLLC, join our mailing list.