One question we hear quite a bit here at Haka Life Nutrition has to do with chiropractors. Specifically, can a chiropractor help with arthritis? While the specific answer depends on each individual’s situation and what their doctor recommends, there are two primary benefits chiropractors can offer those with arthritis. These benefits are reduced inflammation and proper alignment. We’ll get into each below.
What is a chiropractor?
Chiropractors are health care professionals who perform adjustments to the spine and other areas of the body such as the arms and legs. The goal is to correct alignment and relieve stress on those parts of the body.
A chiropractor’s primary role is to realign the vertebrae in your spine in order to reduce pressure on your nerves.
Just remember, a chiropractor can’t provide the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs to function at its optimum level. (Fortunately, GLX3 has that part covered)
Is a chiropractor good for arthritis?
The primary benefit of pursuing chiropractic care to help with your arthritis pain is that chiropractors are specifically focused on finding mal-adjusted parts of the body, and readjusting them. This can include adjustments to the back and shoulders, and throughout the body, that provide full-body relief from pain and discomfort.
For those with arthritis, it works like this. You go to see a chiropractor. She works your spine into alignment, with a focus on specific areas of pain like the neck or shoulders. However, your arthritis pain — separate from the pain that drove you to the chiropractor’s office — is in your elbows and fingers.
You are still likely to benefit from the appointment.
Yes, the chiropractor may do some work on your arms and elbows. But the real perk for you is that proper alignment of the spine means less tension is placed on your joints, leading to less pain from added pressure. When your back isn’t out of whack, your posture is better and the pressure on your joints — all over the body — is reduced.
Chiropractors can help reduce inflammation
When your back, neck, and shoulders are properly aligned, your body moves in its natural flow. Nerves serve their purpose without added strain. Joints open and close in a natural manner. But why is this?
It comes down to two tiny particles present in the immune system. The first is cytokines. Cytokines are, according to news-medical.net, “cell signaling molecules that aid cell to cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection, and trauma.”
In short, they are triggered to optimize the cells of the immune system. When your body produces too many, the result can be severe inflammation. Chiropractic adjustments help keep cytokines in check through proper spinal alignment, as less pain and discomfort means less cytokine interference.
The second particle is called neuropeptides. Like cytokines, less neuropeptides means less inflammation as they are present when your body’s alignment is out of whack, triggering pain and strain on the nerves.
Feel good, move good
When your body feels properly aligned and is moving pain-free — i.e. “feels good” — you’re able to enjoy a more active lifestyle. This isn’t exactly news to most of us, but it is super important here. The role of a chiropractor is to align your spine, not only for the spine’s sake but with the hope that the rest of the body will react well.
It works like this. When the spine is properly aligned, you are able to walk, sit, stand, and even sleep with better posture. This impacts the joints, or rather, it effectively doesn’t impact them. Meaning, when you’re able to get through the day, moving, working, resting, and doing what you do, without adding unnecessary pressure on the joints.
In the same manner that maintaining weight level prevents added pressure from being put on the joints, so too does maintain proper alignment. If your back or shoulders are out of whack it can add extra pressure to the hips, wrists, or elbows, for example.
Of course, you can’t visit a chiropractor every day. But you can optimize your visit by remaining vigilant of bad posture. Sit upright, not uncomfortably rigid but simple in a normal, straightly seated position.
Avoid curling or bunching of your body when lying in bed, and a big one here, don’t sleep with your fingers tucked underneath your head or hips, as that adds significant pressure to the joints in your hands.
Bring that same awareness to walking and standing. We recommend trying some basic yoga poses like mountain pose, which involves standing straight up with the shoulders back and arms resting by your side or lifted into the air. For those who are able, a child’s pose, which involves sitting on your knees before stretching the arms and upper body out on the mat in front of you, can feel quite nice as well.
Overall, while a chiropractor isn’t going to solve all of your arthritis woes, one can help. Always speak to your doctor first.
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