Can Chiropractic Help with Osteoarthritis (aka Joint Degeneration)?

If you’ve had back pain or a stiff neck, whether from arthritis or an injury, you’ve likely considered seeing a chiropractor. While it’s true that chiropractors manipulate or adjust the spine to improve pain and mobility, the benefits may extend beyond the back and neck. By using varying degrees of force in an effort to adjust misaligned joints, chiropractors try to improve the relationship between the spine and nervous system, which they believe may affect the function of all the systems in the body. 

But what should you expect from a chiropractor visit and is it safe for arthritis? If you’re looking for a non-medication way to take the edge off of those painful joints, chiropractic care may be for you, as long as you remember to listen to your body, and find a chiropractor that will listen to you and your wishes.

Most of what chiropractors do today is gentler than “cracking” backs or “popping” necks into place. In fact, there are many different techniques that chiropractors use to adjust the spine, joints and muscles with varying degrees of force. 

If you have back, neck or other joint pain due to osteoarthritis, chiropractic is one of the safest therapies you can use, explains Scott Haldeman, MD, a neurologist in Santa Ana, California and Chairman Emeritus of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic.

Cozy up with heated mitts

During your first visit, the chiropractor should take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam of every joint to determine what approaches are right for you. This will determine if chiropractic care is right for you and what the specific care may be most helpful.

In my office, I like to use a broad range of therapies, tools and exercises to help your body do the best with what you’ve got.  Chiropractors focus on the relationships between structure and function; if the structure of a joint is not able to function optimally (like it arthritis), then it can’t work as it was designed, which can leave to pain, dysfunction and further degeneration. So, helping the joints move as well as they can with keep them as healthy as they can be.

One of the best ways to help with the pain and stiffness of degenerative osteoarthritis is to use deep heat and joint mobilization; the heat will help to increase the blood circulation to the region to increase the nutrient availability and the joint mobilization helps to “slosh” the viscous synovial fluid over the cartilage lining the joints (this is how the cartilage with its poor blood supply gets nutrients).

Heat and hand and foot rubs?  Sounds pretty nice, right?

Joint mobilization can help with arthritis pain and may even help to slow down further joint damage

If this therapy speaks to you, consider a Cozy Up, or a Cozy Up 2 session.  30 -45 minutes of our Rejuvenation Room; resting on the far-infared heated jade stone therapy mat, wearing hand and foot masks of intensely moisturizing blend of macadamia nut and rosehip oils, shea and coconut butters while wearing heated and weighted mitts and booties.  (the Cozy 2 includes 15 min of joint mobilization as well.)  Deep heating may help improve circulation and soothe arthritis and muscle pain.

Chiropractic Can Improve Body Awareness

Proprioception, our ability to recognize our body’s position in space is critically important; how we walk, our ability to transition from sitting to standing, even bringing a fork to our mouths to feed ourselves are all dependent on us knowing where our bodies and joints are positioned in space.

Reference: Haavik and Murphy (2011) Subclinical Neck Pain and the Effects of Cervical Manipulation on Elbow Joint Position Sense. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics Vol 34, No 2; 89-96.

In a recent study, the clinicians noted when joints do not move properly due to injury or lack of mobility from disuse, the receptors in the associated joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles do not fire properly and do not send sufficient sensory information to the brain that is required for proper body awareness and coordination/motor control.

Further, “spinal manipulation (adjustments) delivered to dysfunctional cervical segments in people with subclinical neck pain improved upper limb joint position sense (aka proprioception at the elbow) accuracy in this group.”

Chiropractic adjustments restore mobility and sensory input to the brain.
That can help restore neuromuscular function/coordination.

“These findings support the concept that neck joint dysfunction can impair the way proprioceptive input from the upper limb is processed and provides evidence that this can be improved by cervical spine manipulation.”

Take home point:

Chiropractic adjustments don’t just alleviate pain, they alleviate the underlying dysfunction leading to pain and thus restore not just comfort, but function and quality of life.

1%

Go to bed 15 minutes earlier – add 15 minutes of sleep each night and you will get 91 more hours of sleep in a year.
Get 15 minutes of nature time daily and that’s 5,460 more minutes of healing, rejuvenating sunshine and stress relief a year.
Go for a brisk 15 minute walk every day and you have walked between 546,000 and 709,000 more steps in a year (1500 steps for average walker- 1950 steps for vigorous walkers).
Don’t underestimate small changes.

National Preparedness Month – “Scary Simples”

Every Monday during September, National Preparedness Month, I will share a “Scary Simple” Preparedness video from Ready.gov.

Let’s prepare now, just in case…

During an emergency, finding somewhere for your family is stressful enough without having to find somewhere that will accept your pet, too. Finding a local, pet-friendly shelter is simple. Find out more information on how to prepare for emergencies at Ready.gov.

Wellness Hour – “Fascia Facial”

Self care is potent Health care

If you regularly suffer from headache and/or TMJ (jaw) pain, this time will allow us to focus on releasing fascial adhesions in the face, head and neck; soothe muscle tightness and soften the tension along the suture lines.  I integrate cranial mobilization, trigger point therapy, cupping, gua sha, and muscle energy techniques during this one-on-one time.  Care can be extended with 30 minutes solo time in the Rejuvenation Room for  Aromatherapy, Far Infrared heat therapy and LED red and near infrared light therapy to promote circulation and cellular healing.

This Wellness Hour is a great option for those looking for further help with troublesome migraine and/or tension headaches, TMJ pain and dysfunction and overall tightness or soreness of the head and neck. 

With this combination of therapies you may note any / all of the following: Increased cellular energy production (mitochondrial activation) (see LED light therapy post here); increased blood flow with better tissue oxygenation and removal of cellular waste products (see Infrared heat therapy post here); improved range of motion in the joints; decreased muscle tension; decreased migraine headache frequency and severity (see this blog post about cranial therapy for migraine relief) decreased pain; and overall relaxation. 

Celluma Light therapy for improved cellular health

Celluma LED light therapy is FDA approved for pain management and skin care.

It uses light energy to improve cellular health by accelerating and the repair and replenishment of compromised tissue cells.

Boosting cellular energy leads to a cascade of metabolic events that can lead to increased microcirculation and decrease arthritic joints, muscle spasms, and muscle and joint stiffness.

I am so excited I get to share this amazing technology with you!

If you have questions, check out more on my “Favorite Things” page or would like to book a consult / LED session, contact me here.