Aging is a fact of a life. We must accept getting older, but that doesn’t mean we have to put up with all the aches and pains that come with it. Arthritis is a condition that often creeps up on us as we age. Over 4.6 million Canadians are affected by arthritis. While there is no cure for it, there are treatments available through your chiropractor that can definitely help manage the chronic pain associated with the condition.
The main symptoms of arthritis are chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling, which can result in significant disability and poor quality of life.
Some forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are characterized by periods of activity and remission. With RA, treatment of the active phase is focused on suppression of the inflammatory process through prescription drugs. In the remission phase, the focus of treatment is the maintenance of joint function. It is in this phase where your chiropractor can help.
Chiropractors can assist those with RA by:
- helping them improve their range of motion
- improving flexibility and endurance
- increasing muscle tone and strength
- providing diet and nutritional advice and supplements to address inflammation
For the more common degenerative form of arthritis known as osteoarthritis (OA), the condition is understood to be much more stable, though it does progressively worsen. Your chiropractor can help with pain management and will also ensure what is being affected (most commonly hips, knees, and spine) by your condition remains as functional as possible for as long possible. Chiropractors are very well versed in the strategies for management of OA, particularly when coupled with the efforts of a family doctor.
Your chiropractor may treat your OA in a number of ways:
- chiropractic adjustment
- electric muscle stimulation (EMS)
- laser therapy
Establishing an early diagnosis is critical to the outcome of the condition, since arthritis gets progressively worse and therapies work best when started as early as possible.