Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chiropractic Care
Over 52 million people in the US suffer from arthritis, and of those about 2 million have a condition called rheumatoid arthritis. Although arthritis is thought of as something that impacts the elderly, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Rheumatoid arthritis can begin as a child, and often impacts young adults and people well before middle age. Chiropractic care can help your symptoms if you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?
RA manifests itself differently in each person. Generally it is characterized by swollen, warm and tender joints that have prolonged stiffness and pain lasting more than 30 minutes. Sufferers may experience a general sense of malaise or have a fever and symmetrical symptoms such as pain in both wrists. Wrist and finger joints that are closest to the hand are impacted as well as the shoulder, knee, hip, elbow, ankle, neck and feet and the symptoms can progressively spread to other parts of the body – not just joints.
RA can be tricky because some people have symptoms for a few months or years and then the symptoms go away. Other people have moderate symptoms with occasional flare ups when the symptoms get worse and then periods where the symptoms get milder or disappear for a while. Then there are those who have a severe form that are constantly in pain for years at a time, and that can lead to joint damage and a loss of mobility.
Exercise can be very beneficial to those with RA and is considered to be a key in arthritis management. Exercise promotes healthy and strong muscles, flexibility, endurance, and joint mobility. It has to be balanced with rest, however, in order to help lessen active joint inflammation, fatigue, and pain. Dance, stretching, tai chi and other range of motion exercises are best to help with flexibility and building muscle for people with RA.
How do you find the right balance between exercise and rest? Well, when you’re having a flare up or are in an active arthritis phase then rest. When the symptoms decrease, exercise more. It is important to consult with your chiropractor and other health care providers for the best advice in how to balance rest and exercise.
How Your Chiropractor Can Help
Chiropractors can help assist you with keeping mobile and also help to make you more comfortable. Keeping your body aligned will not only help you to move more freely but also reduce your need for pain management medications. Remember, chiropractic addresses the whole body, not just the problem. Your chiropractor can help you address your lifestyle, diet, and exercise habits that can have an impact on your whole body. Plus, your joints will benefit from adjustments and alignment by reducing your pain and stiffness. Chiropractic care is a great, non-invasive alternative to promote health and manage conditions like RA, helping you to lead a more productive and pain free life.