Helping People and Animals with Arthritis – Waterside Chiropractic (2022)

Helping People and Animals with Arthritis – Waterside Chiropractic (1)

Arthritis is known by many names—but all of them indicate a condition that can be both painful and debilitating. The word ‘arthritis’ means ‘inflammation of the joint and is derived from the word arthritis comes from the Greek ‘arthron’ meaning “joint” and the Latin ‘itis’ meaning “inflammation”. In the UK, around 10 million people have arthritis (Source: The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, the latter being an autoimmune disorder of the joints, the former tending to occur when the cartilage that lines the joint surfaces erodes. In fact, arthritis comprises over 100 diseases and conditions. Chiropractic has been proven remarkably effective in treating arthritis and its symptoms, both in genetic and non-genetic related forms of arthritis.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disease that causes the joints to swell, resulting in pain, stiffness, and loss of function, particularly in the hands, knees, feet, hips, and spine.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in the UK, affecting around 8 million people. It often develops in people who are over 50 years of age. However, it can occur at any age as a result of an injury or another joint-related condition. Osteoarthritis initially affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This makes movement more difficult than usual, leading to pain and stiffness. The cartilage lining of the joint can then thin and tissues within the joint can become more active. This can then lead to swelling and the formation of bony spurs, called osteophytes. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage (connective tissue) between the bones gradually erodes, causing bone in the joints to rub together. The joints that are most commonly affected are those in the hands, spine, knees and hips.

In the UK, rheumatoid arthritis, (also known as RA) affects more than 400,000 people. Rheumatoid arthritis is another common form of arthritis, and it is an autoimmune disorder that can affect any joint, but is most common in the wrist and fingers. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, we know that rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the body’s own immune system targets affected joints, which leads to pain and swelling. The outer covering (synovium) of the joint is the first place affected. This can then spread across the joint, leading to further swelling and a change in the joint’s shape. This can then cause thebone and cartilage to break down. People with rheumatoid arthritis can also develop problems with other tissues and organs in their body such as the eyes, mouth and lungs. Generally more women than men get rheumatoid arthritis; women are three times more likely to be affected. It most often appears between the ages of 25 and 55, and can last throughout life. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two completely different conditions.

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Bringing chiropractic into the discussion of arthritis adds a dimension that opens up possibilities for maintaining an active lifestyle. It provides not only a resolution of chronic pain, but also the potential for addressing the disease with more flexible methods that focus on long-term health. For most of the twentieth century, many people believed that the diagnosis of arthritis necessarily came with the dreaded anticipation that normal activities would become a part of a previous life. With chiropractic and the benefits it provides, along with exercise and a healthy diet, arthritis can become a more manageable ailment.

Thesymptoms of arthritis you experience will vary depending on the type you have. This is why it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis if you have:

  • joint pain, tenderness and stiffness
  • inflammation in and around the joints
  • restricted movement of thejoints
  • warm, red skin over the affected joint
  • weakness andmuscle wasting

Arthritis in people is most likely to appear in the following forms:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative joint disease (DJD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gout
  • Juvenile arthritis

Who is Affected by Arthritis?

Arthritis is often associated with older people, butit can alsoaffect children. In the UK, about 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis (Source: NHS.UK). Arthritis also affects animals in much the same way that it affects people. Click here to read more about ‘Chiropractic for Animals’.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a form of physical medicine that focuses on the relationship between the body’s structure—primarily the spine—and how it functions. Chiropractic primarily addresses disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems and how they affect a person or animal’s health. A chiropractor performs a structural manipulation by hand, commonly known as an adjustment to realign the body.

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Daniel D Palmer founded the modern-day chiropractic profession 1895, which grew from the belief that the body is self-healing and that the nervous system is the key to maintaining health. With the brain and spine as the centre of the nervous system, it followed logically, according to Palmer and chiropractors since then, that it is the key to health. Proper adjustment of the musculoskeletal system, and preventing what are known as subluxations or traumas that occur to misalign the spine and bring stress in movement will help create an environment inhospitable to disease.

Some chiropractors, with a holistic approach, will also employ other therapeutic techniques in treating patients. In addition to spinal manipulation, chiropractors use heat and ice, exercise, massage therapy, dietary supplements, recommending a healthier diet, weight loss, posture and other lifestyle alternatives, when addressing issues that often accompany arthritis and the physical strain it can bring to the body. Click here to read more about ‘What is Chiropractic’ and ‘McTimoney Chiropractic’.

How Can Chiropractic Help Arthritis?

Chiropractic for arthritis addresses the practical issue of getting the body to move more freely and addresses the compensations that can occur in other parts of the body when it is not being used correctly. For example, a person or animal with osteoarthritis of the knee may limp/be lame or not be able to walk freely, which then places other stresses and strains on other parts of the body like the spine, pelvis, foot and the other leg. Once the body is aligned to move with fewer restrictions, the need for pain-relieving medications lessens, or in some cases, disappears altogether.

Chiropractic as a regular treatment can also help prevent arthritis, or at least its damaging effects. This form of prevention is probably the most crucial benefit in treating the disease. The lifestyle changes and therapies associated with chiropractic can influence diet, exercise, and maintaining the body’s alignment that chiropractors believe will offset health problems that might accompany arthritis. Proper weight and a healthy immune system are both important factors in limiting the devastating effects of all forms of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Chiropractic—and the holistic health practices that often accompany it—offers multiple benefits in offsetting the dreaded effects of this disease that can take so many undesirable forms for so many people and animals.

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Why use Chiropractic for Arthritis?

The basis for chiropractic care is centered in the body’s ability to heal itself. By correcting joint and spine dislocations, a chiropractor helps increase range of motion in the body, which assists in movement. Chiropractic and its complementary treatments, which include nutrition and lifestyle choices such as exercise and massage therapy, can be used as a preventive measure in developing arthritis or to help relieve the serious mobility issues. Because chiropractic focuses on physical manipulation, joints can be directly adjusted in order to reduce pain. In general, the stiffness and pain that can result from various forms of arthritis can be helped or alleviated with chiropractic treatment.

Once arthritis occurs, chiropractic’s use of spinal manipulation can result in the diminishing of pain by assisting the overall physical health, resulting in greater ease of movement and decreased fluid build up in the joints that often accompanies arthritic conditions. The use of massage in chiropractic care can also ease stiffness and encourage movement. The application of heat and cold presses has been shown to ease arthritic pain.

Using chiropractic instead of prescription medicines for pain relief, or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), can reduce the chances of experiencing harmful side effects from long-term use. It offers a non-invasive method of maintaining physical health and addresses such conditions as arthritis in a way that will offer freedom of movement without the deteriorating effects that might come with medication.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine1reported that 63% of patients who visited a rheumatologist, for the conditions rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, also sought some form of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Of these individuals 31% (almost half) chose chiropractic care, making chiropractic the most popular alternative used by this group of people. Importantly, 73% of these patients determined that chiropractic care was helpful in controlling their chronic pain.

An additional aspect of this study was to determine why these arthritic patients chose CAM and the reasons they gave were:

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  1. Because their prescribed medication wasn’t working to control their pain
  2. Because they heard it would help
  3. Because it issafe
  4. Because it helped someone they know

Reducing the use of prescription medicines or over-the-counter medications such as NSAIDs for pain relief means fewer harmful side effects and addiction from long term use. The lifestyle changes associated with chiropractic recommendations will also positively influence diet, exercise and overall health.

The ability to control some symptoms through chiropractic care not only reduces the financial burden on the NHS (arthritis cases are set to double by 2030!) but more importantly it improves the quality of life of those suffering from the disease and may in some cases delay the necessity to take early retirement.

It is important that people realise that there are effective treatments without the side effects. If you, your animal, or someone you know has been diagnosedwith arthritis and you have read something that resonates with you, don’t hesitate in bookingathorough chiropractic consultationwith Waterside Chiropractic on 07738 110570. Chiropractic could change your life.

(1) Rao JK, Mihaliak K, Kroenke K, Bradley J, Tierney WM, Weinberger M. Use of complementary therapies for arthritis among patients of rheumatologists.Ann Intern Med1999; 131:409-416.


Can chiropractors do anything for arthritis? ›

Chiropractic care is a natural and non-invasive way to address many types of pain. Chiropractors focus on the relationships of the structures of the body and function, and one area where chiropractic care is extremely beneficial in improving the function of an arthritic joint.

Can chiropractor reverse arthritis? ›

Chiropractic treatment may be able to address the cause of osteoarthritis. A joint may be damaged over time because it's out of alignment, or because of the way you sit, stand, or walk. Chiropractic care can fix those issues, which may keep your arthritis from getting worse.

Can a chiropractor help with inflammatory arthritis? ›

Reduce inflammation

For RA and other inflammatory diseases, chiropractic care is believed to balance the function of the body through alignment of your spine and other joints. These adjustments may also help lower the production of proteins that can build up in the immune system and contribute to inflammation.

Does chiropractic make arthritis worse? ›

Since the adjustment restoresthe alignment and movement of a “stuck” joint, then no, adjustments of the spine cannot cause arthritis. In fact, they do quite the opposite, they slow down, prevent, and in some cases, even help to reverse arthritis.

Is massage good for arthritis? ›

As Claire Gavin, a Toronto-based RMT explains, “Massage helps relieve pain and eases the muscle stiffness associated with arthritis by improving circulation, helping to reduce inflammation. That translates to enhanced blood flow to arthritic joints, improved movement, and reduced pain,”.

What is best treatment for arthritis in lower back? ›

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids (pills or injections) to reduce pain and swelling. Other medications targeting specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis. Physical therapy to improve back muscle strength and range of motion in the spine.

What can a chiropractor do for arthritis in the neck? ›

Chiropractic alleviates neck arthritis using varying degrees of force. This is due in an effort to adjust misaligned joints. So chiropractors try to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system, which they believe may affect the function of all the organs and systems in the body.

When should you stop chiropractic treatment? ›

In general, it is advised to discontinue chiropractic care if any of the following is true:
  1. Increased pain. It is not uncommon to note mild discomfort after the initial manipulation treatment for the first 24 to 48 hours (similar to starting a new exercise). ...
  2. No improvement within 2 to 4 weeks. ...
  3. Symptoms have gone away.

What is arthritis caused from? ›

Arthritis is caused by inflammation of the joints. Osteoarthritis usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips. Sometimes osteoarthritis follows a joint injury. For example, you might have badly injured your knee when young and develop arthritis in your knee joint years later.

Can massage make arthritis worse? ›

A good therapist will want feedback on what you are feeling during the session,” says Chunco. Massage should make your arthritis pain and stiffness feel better, not worse, says Veena Ranganath, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Medicine.

What is better hot or cold for arthritis? ›

For an acute injury, such as a pulled muscle or injured tendon, the usual recommendation is to start by applying ice to reduce inflammation and dull pain. Once inflammation has gone down, heat can be used to ease stiffness. For a chronic pain condition, such as osteoarthritis, heat seems to work best.

How can I stop arthritis getting worse? ›

Slowing Osteoarthritis Progression
  1. Maintain a Healthy Weight. Excess weight puts additional pressure on weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees. ...
  2. Control Blood Sugar. ...
  3. Get Physical. ...
  4. Protect Joints. ...
  5. Choose a Healthy Lifestyle.

Is heat good for arthritis? ›

Heat therapy is an easy, inexpensive, and medication-free way to relieve some types of arthritis stiffness and pain. Heat therapy can: Encourage the healing of damaged tissue. Warmth causes the blood vessels of the muscles to dilate, which increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.

What does spinal arthritis feel like? ›

Tenderness of the affected vertebrae. Feeling grinding when moving the spine. Tingling, numbness, weakness, or sharp shooting pains in your arms or legs if nerves of the spine are affected. Headaches (when the upper, or cervical, spine is affected)

How is arthritis diagnosed? ›

How is arthritis diagnosed? Doctors usually diagnose arthritis using the patient's medical history, physical examination, X-rays, and blood tests. It is possible to have more than one form of arthritis at the same time.

Can chiropractor help with arthritis in hip? ›

Some patients with hip osteoarthritis (HOA) have also benefited from chiropractic care. In one study, 83% of HOA patients improved within nine visits to a chiropractor.


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4. Natural remedies to ease arthritis pain in dogs
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6. Case Study; Applying Aquapuncture to an arthritic cat starring "Tuesday"
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