DR. SCOTT COOk: Chiropractic care can be a treatment for severe arthritis
More than 46 million Americans suffer with some form of severe arthritis. That number is expected to climb to 67 million by 2030 as the population ages.
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability among 19 million adults in the United States. Its estimated annual cost to the health care system is $128 billion.
Arthritis is known by many names, but all of them indicate a condition that can be both painful and debilitating.
In some manifestations, it is an autoimmune disorder of the joints, for others abnormal bone growth (aka bone spurs), and yet in others, the cartilage wears out.
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.
Chiropractic has been proven remarkably effective in preventing and treating arthritis and its symptoms.
By correcting joint and spine restrictions and/or misalignments, chiropractors help increase range of motion in the body. These manipulations have been shown and proven to decrease fluid build-up in the joints that often accompanies arthritic conditions. Once the body moves with fewer restrictions, many of our patients tell us the need for pain-relieving medication lessens and often disappear altogether.
In general, the stiffness and pain that can result from various forms of arthritis can be alleviated with chiropractic treatment.
It offers a noninvasive 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.
It should be noted, I am not downplaying the value of arthritic medication because when it is needed, it can be of great benefit to the patient. It should also be stated that chiropractic adjustments are safe and painless when done correctly and performed by a professional.
Chiropractic and its complementary treatments, which can include therapies such as ultrasound and electrical muscle stimulation, are very effective in treating arthritis as well.
The use of electrical stimulation in chiropractic treatment is believed to stimulate pain-inhibiting chemicals in the human body, also known as endorphins, and block the nerve fibers that are responsible for pain.
Chiropractic as a regular treatment will also help prevent arthritis, or at least its damaging effects.
This form of prevention is probably the most crucial benefit in treating the disease.
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 20th 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, arthritis can become a manageable ailment that, along with exercise and a healthy diet, will no longer be feared.