Chiropractic for Osteoarthritis Sufferers

Osteoarthritis is a painful condition affecting joints. Chiropractic care improves the range of motion of the joints and takes the stress off the nerves to reduce pain.

What is osteoarthritis, and what are the common symptoms of it?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and it is pretty much down to wear and tear. The protective cartilage at the end of the bones in the joints, they kind of act like brake pads. They actually wear down over time. The most commonly affected joints are usually those weight bearing joints which are knees, hips and spine. The most classic symptom we get is stiffness, especially first thing in the morning. Then pain during or after movement and then you get a lot of limited range of motion within the joint.

What are some chiropractic techniques used to treat the different joints affected by osteoarthritis?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Joints are designed to move and when moving well with full range of motion and a good weight bearing into the joint, essentially the joint moves well. Joints are replenished with synovial fluid, the equivalent to brake fluid in a car. So, a great technique, specific to chiropractic is called Flexion distraction, which we actually do in our office. It essentially pinpoints the joints that are not moving well, and it works them through range of motion while under tension. This helps replenish the fluid within the joint, and the disc, and it kind of takes stress off the joint, and the disc, and the nerve.

Could chiropractic care reduce a person’s dependency on medication to manage their pain?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely. The US population are 5-6% of the world, yet consumes over 50% of prescription medication. You’re currently in an opioid addiction crisis through over-medication. Chiropractic care is a noninvasive, non-drug approach to health care. More than one studies have shown chiropractors are more efficient and safer way to manage pain in your lower back specifically. A study in 2003 from a spine journal showed it to be five times more effective than NSAIDs (they’re your over the counter medications such as Ibuprofen, and your other drug treatment) in both the lower back and the neck.

Can ongoing chiropractic treatment help restore range of motion and improve a person’s ability to move and get around?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Certainly. Chiropractic adjustments are focused around improving and restoring joint mechanics. The better a joint moves, the better we move, essentially. Chiropractic care supplemented with some soft tissue work, soft tissues being the muscles leading to tendons, specifically breaking down something called adhesion, similar to scar tissue within the muscle, along with some good stabilization and a strengthening program really provides positive outcomes in both the short and the long term.

For those already seeking medical care for osteoarthritis, could chiropractors work with the other medical professionals to design a treatment plan that includes chiropractic care?

Dr. Luke Stringer: Absolutely, co-management with other professionals in other health care fields such as physical therapists and pain management specialists, can really benefit a patient as you’re receiving the three main pillars to correct your osteoarthritis. One, good joint function, that’s exactly what chiropractors do. Soft tissue stabilization, is exactly what physical therapists do. And then, decreasing inflammation and pain, which yields quicker results, and essentially that is what the pain management specialists are doing.

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