Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis can achieve a great deal of relief from their chronic pain and discomfort through chiropractic therapy. You’ll benefit from the most modern pain relief techniques, whether you are suffering from arthritis in your hands or in other joints. At Liringis Chiropractic, we look at a large number of related health issues and work to minimize joint damage, ease RA-related pain, and slow the progression in your body.
If you’re suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, your chiropractic doctor can help reduce your pain and swelling symptoms through the following therapies:
- Restore lost range of motion
- Improve flexibility and endurance
- Increase muscle tone and strength
During your first chiropractic visit, we’ll record a detailed health history regarding your arthritis and any other conditions you may have. This will help us better understand your chronic pain issues and your overall health so that we can use the best chiropractic treatment methods to help you feel better.
What’s the Difference Between Arthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?
As with any disease or ailment, proper diagnosis is always essential in determining the best course of chiropractic treatment for you.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and arthritis, or osteoarthritis (OA), have strikingly similar symptoms. The difference, however, lies in the cause of the joint pain symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system attacks the body’s joints. Osteoarthritis is caused by mechanical wear and tear on joints due to age or repetitive use.
Arthritis is most likely to appear in the following forms:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Degenerative joint disease (DJD)
- Juvenile arthritis
While the onset of Rheumatoid Arthritis can be relatively fast (over a period of weeks or months), osteoarthritis occurs gradually over many years. Also patients who have OA may not experience any swelling and their condition may only present itself, for example, in one hand or one knee, as opposed to RA, which always presents itself in both the hands or knees.
Do I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Arthritis is defined as an inflammation of the joints. The variety of symptoms can be different for each person, and can range from mild to moderate to severe. Some patients may experience arthritis symptoms for a period of time, but then it goes away.
Rheumatic diseases can include more than 100 conditions, such as osteoarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1% of the U.S. population (about 2.1 million people).
Rheumatoid Arthritis can begin in middle age, though it is more frequently found in older men and women. In more rare instances, Rheumatoid Arthritis can start at a younger age. RA causes loss of function in the joints as well as pain, stiffness, and swelling in the areas surrounding the affected joints.
According to recent studies by the Rochester Epidemiology Project, 41 per 100,000 people are diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis each year. Incidence of RA rose with age and peaked among people aged 65-74 years old. And according to the Rochester Minnesota Mayo Clinic Population, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with RA was estimated at 4% among women and 3% among men.
The following symptoms distinguish Rheumatoid Arthritis from other forms of arthritis:
- Swollen, tender, warm joints
- Sometimes fever
- General sense of malaise
- Stiffness and pain that continues for more than 30 minutes after extended rest
- Affects both hands (knees, hips, etc.), not just one
- Wrist and lower finger joints are most frequently affected first
- Neck, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and feet joints can also be affected
- Can last for years
- Can affect other parts of the body, not just joints
Chiropractic Help for Arthritis
Here are some of the chiropractic techniques that we use to help ease your pain and discomfort:
Trigger Point Therapy *– Your chiropractor will apply gentle pressure to the muscles that surround your joints to alleviate your arthritis pain symptoms.
Ultrasound Therapy – By directing ultrasound waves to your soft tissues and joints, we can help reduce arthritis pain, swelling, and stiffness. These sound waves act as a massage agent to your muscles and tissues that surround the affected joints.
At-Home Therapy – At Liringis Chiropractic, we take your care beyond your chiropractic office visit. We’ll provide simple exercises and stretches that are specifically designed for patients with arthritis. These exercises cover range-of-motion, strengthening, and endurance. And they can be conveniently performed at home or at work.
Both exercise and rest are key factors in managing Rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis symptoms. When you are not experiencing any swelling, pain or stiffness, we encourage you to perform your exercises and stretches several times a day. If you are experiencing an arthritis flare-up, then we encourage rest for those joints that are stiff or swollen. During this time, it is also important to go through your full range-of-motion exercises once per day.
* If you are experiencing an active arthritis or RA flare-up, any chiropractic treatment or manipulation can be dangerous. We recommend that you wait until your swelling is under control before seeking chiropractic treatment.