There is a wide variety of treatment for arthritis. One category is physical medicine and it includes physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, personal trainers and Doctors of Chiropractic aka chiropractors. Chiropractors are best known for their manipulation of spinal joints, which they refer to as an adjustment, but no two chiropractors adjust exactly the same way. This is important because if you do not feel better with, or have confidence in one chiropractor, don’t stop chiropractic, ask the people you know or your other care provider if they know a good chiropractor.
Many chiropractors educate their patients about the importance of participation in a natural, holistic approach to their health and life. This is especially important for those with chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis where nutritional, ergonomic and proper of movement strategies on a day to day basis can help decrease both internal and external inflammation which, in turn, reduces symptoms.
Chiropractic care is much more than just manipulation and different chiropractors approach arthritis differently depending on the nature, extent, type and location of the problem along with their practice philosophy. In addition to manipulation, many chiropractors use various machines called modalities for pain control and to help healing. They include electric stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, lasers, hot pads, hot baths, manual and mechanical traction (also called decompression). Not every chiropractor will have every machine but most chiropractors will use some modalities. No single approach will help every patient, but most patients will respond to some of these devices. Chiropractors also use various types of exercise to treat arthritis. This can range from a foam roller or a large ball, to resistance training in the form of free weights, multi-station machines and elastic cords.
Many chiropractors also employ various types of manual therapy or massage. In fact, of all of the healthcare professions, only massage therapists, and possibly doctors of osteopathy, use their hands on patients more than chiropractors do.
Finally, chiropractic treatment of arthritis also includes orthotic inserts for shoes, therapeutic taping, posture apparel and nutritional advice including dietary recommendations and, when indicated, nutritional supplements.