Can a Chiropractor Help Arthritis?
Chiropractors are thought to be the frontline providers of relief from back pain, but they really are healthcare professionals who care for and treat the entire body. It’s true that Chiropractors adjust the spine, but they also use varying degrees of care and techniques to adjust misaligned joints and provide a holistic approach the relief of arthritis.
Arthritis is a condition that will often rear it’s painful head as we age. Millions of people are affected by arthritis. With no sign of a cure in sight, treatments by Chiropractors can help manage the chronic pain associated with this condition.
The main symptoms are chronic joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and can eventually lead to a significant reduction in movement causing disability.
Some forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis can be characterized by periods of activity and remission. During the active phase, the focus is on suppressing the inflammatory process through diet, relaxation, and pharmaceutical help if required. In the remission phase, the focus remains on the maintenance of joint function.
During the remission phase, Chiropractic care can help by:
- Helping to improve the range of motion
- Improve flexibility and endurance
- Increase muscle tone and strength
- Provide diet and nutritional advice and supplements to aid in decreasing inflammation
Osteoarthritis is a condition that is slightly more stable, but does become progressively worse over time. Most commonly it is the hips, knees, and spine that are affected – and it is your chiropractor that can help with pain management so you can remain functional for as long as possible. Chiropractors come with a great degree of knowledge in strategies and management of osteoarthritis.
With the assistance of your family doctor, a Chiropractor may treat osteoarthritis with:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- ultrasound therapy
- electric muscle stimulation (EMS)
- laser therapy
Early Diagnosis is Imperative
Beginning treatment as early as possible is the key to receiving the best outcome, since arthritis just gets progressively worse over time. The treatment you will receive will be preventative, meaning it will be focussed on reducing further damage to your joints and pain. The inflammation related to arthritis conditions can be quite damaging to joints and the soft tissue in your body, so developing a team of health care professionals, a plan, and beginning treatment will directly affect you prognosis.
Ultimately, We Too Wish You Didn’t Have An Arthritis Diagnosis
There are many other forms of arthritis that can be helped by a Chiropractor. An arthritis diagnosis can be scary, the thought of long term chronic pain is something no one wants to have to suffer with. Fortunately the progression of this condition can be stalled with adequate and immediate care – significantly improving your quality of life.
Calf Strain. Can Your Chiropractor Help?
If you have ever torn the fibers in your calf, you know how painful it can be. The older you get, the more susceptible you are to tears and injuries from your weekend workouts and athletic activities.
How Do I Know I’ve Torn a Muscle?
You’ll know if you have heard a “pop” while pushing off that leg during an activity – followed by a sharp pain and some swelling or bruising. This particular calf strain is graded by the amount of torn fibers.
The severity of the sprain will fall into one of three categories:
Grade 1 (mild) – Few muscle fibers have been injured. You may not feel pain until the following day, and would usually be during or after an activity that would instigate a pain response. You’d still have strength and range of motion, and there isn’t usually and swelling or bruising.
Grade 2 (moderate) – A large number of strains fall between a grade 1 and 2. With a grade 2 strain, there are many muscle fibers that have been torn which has lead to a decrease in your range of motion, swelling, pain, and bruising.
Grade 3 (severe) – All of the fibers of the calf muscle are torn, meaning there is noticeable damage. There is likely severe swelling, pain, and bruising. There is limited mobility, and the range of motion is severely limited as a result of the pain.
This should consist of the PRICE protocol, similar to RICE, but the P is for protection, R rest, I ice, C compression, E elevation. This should be followed until the swelling goes down, and while your body heals. Ensure you are resting, drinking water, standing, and NO high heels!
While this takes place while determining a treatment plan that includes the assistance of a chiropractor. This rehabilitation plan will consist of strengthening, stretching, and adjustments to prevent future tears of the calf muscles that could lead to plantar fasciitis, Achilles strains, or hamstring strains.
Rehabilitation is the Key
The importance of proper rehabilitation for your calf strain can’t be emphasized enough, because failure to do so will cause your calf to heal tighter and with more weak points which will lead to further injury. In addition, a massage can be beneficial immediately after the injury (not at the actual sight of the tear though!) to lengthen the entire posterior chain while increasing the circulation.
Begin with non weight bearing stretches once the swelling has decreased, and if your body is tolerating that well for a few days, then you can move onto weight bearing stretches. The severity of the injury, how much time passed before you sought treatment, along with your body’s ability to heal will determine how quickly you will be able to resume your regular activities.
If you are experiencing what you think may be a calf strain, talk to your chiropractor about beginning treatment before it’s too late and you have prolonged the healing process.
Exercise and Chiropractic Care
With the exception of those with heart problems – combining exercise, nutrition and your chiropractic care is the best way to get the results you have been looking for. And without getting carried away, this is not about becoming an athlete – it’s simply about getting your body moving more regularly. Taking care of your body not only requires seeking out healthcare professionals to help you improve, but it requires your commitment to yourself along with your willingness to follow a new routine – which may include exercise.
There are years worth of studies and evidence to support the fact that light to moderate exercise is just as important as adjustments, stretching, and nutrition. For example, when treating lower back pain – strengthening the abdominal muscles will support your lower back resulting in a decrease in pain.
The addition of aerobic exercise will help to promote proper digestion while improving circulation. This can be as little as a walk around the block daily, to cycling or running. The resulting toning, fat burning, and weight loss are essential components to pain relief overall.
Chiropractic care will bring pain relief once the spine is aligned properly. You can expect a reduction in pain in your neck, back, hips, joints, along with other parts of your body that could be affected by a misalignment. Improvement in headaches, digestion, energy, and immunity are also an expectation of chiropractic treatment.
When Exercise and Chiropractic Care are Mixed
With both being maintenance routines, they will work well together. Between pain relief and an overall improvement in strength, you will find yourself feeling and looking better. In addition, you will have a decreased risk of developing diseases or additional pain in your joints or back.
The overall sense of well being should be your motivation to continue with your routine, creating lifelong healthier habits.
A Holistic Approach
Working with a Chiropractor is a journey you will have to take alongside other healthcare modalities. The use of adjustments alone to ease pain can bring some relief, but when adjustments are used alongside exercise (and nutrition), you’ll find a difference you wouldn’t otherwise notice without it.
Safe and Effective Care
Chiropractic care can be the safest route to go when you are looking for pain relief that is free of medication and stress. The biggest reason people often don’t make the initial first step is because they are unsure of what to expect. The expertise of your Chiropractor will put your questions at ease, and give you the confidence you need to move forward towards a pain free future.
If you haven’t reached out yet, give us a call and book a visit to get a clear understanding of how they can help you and your individual needs.