Should You Use a Chiropractor for Arthritis Pain?

Chronic joint pain.

Swelling.

Stiffness.

Decreased range of motion.

You know the symptoms of arthritis all too well. You’ve tried anti-inflammatory medications, but are hoping to find a more natural, holistic approach to treatment and are wondering, “Can a chiropractor help with arthritis?”

We have the answer you’re looking for.

In this guide, we’ll cover what you need to know about chiropractic care and arthritis, and where you can go to find the relief you need.

Table of Contents

Can a Chiropractor Help Arthritis Pain?

The short answer is yes. A chiropractor may be able to help with arthritis pain through the use of:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Acupuncture
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Massage therapy
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Soft tissue mobilization; and
  • Rehabilitation and functional training

2 Main Types of Arthritis a Chiropractor Can Help With

#1: Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis refers to any type of arthritis that affects the back of the neck and includes:

  • Spondyloarthritis
  • Axial Spondyloarthritis
  • Psoriatic Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Reactive Arthritis
  • Enteropathic Arthritis
  • Undifferentiated Spondyloarthritis; and
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Spinal arthritis involves inflammation of the sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis, or of the facet joints in the spine. The various types of spinal arthritis may be caused by:

  • The wear and tear of aging
  • Infection
  • Autoimmune disorders; and
  • Other conditions

#2: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, also referred to as degenerative arthritis or non-inflammatory arthritis, is the most common type of spinal arthritis. 

This condition occurs when the degeneration of the cartilage between the joints slowly begins to break down, leading to:

  • Inflammation
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness; and
  • Chronic pain 

Osteoarthritis is the result of years of wear and tear and generally affects the:

  • Low back
  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Fingers
  • Thumbs; and
  • Big toes

What Is the Goal of Chiropractic Care for Arthritis?

Why should you go to a chiropractor for arthritis? The answer is simple. 

To keep your joints moving.

If each one of your joints is not moving regularly, your body takes notice. It then decides that, since that joint isn’t mobile, it is no longer needed. So your body slowly begins to fade out the usefulness of the joint over time. 

By keeping the joints throughout your body moving, you will slow down the natural process of degeneration.

Maintaining movement in the joints, along with the additional therapies a chiropractor offers, may help to decrease the pain, stiffness, and inflammation that go along with arthritis.

Can a Chiropractor Cure Arthritis?

No. A chiropractor cannot cure arthritis. But they may be able to help:

  • Prevent it 
  • Slow down the process of degeneration within the joints; or
  • Alleviate the symptoms of the condition

How Does Arthritis Chiropractic Care Differ From Traditional Arthritis Care?

If you visit a medical doctor for arthritis, they will most likely treat you with anti-inflammatory medications. 

The problem is that using anti-inflammatory medications long-term has been shown to potentially impair the healing rate of cartilage and may also cause damage to the lining of the stomach —  which may cause fatal stomach bleeds, particularly in senior citizens.

Thankfully, there is a better way to treat arthritis. Chiropractic.

When you visit a chiropractor for arthritis, you will likely be met with a variety of treatment modalities, including:

  • Chiropractic adjustments
  • Muscle stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Spinal decompression
  • Cold laser therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Soft tissue work; and 
  • Hydrotherapy

These modalities can work in harmony to relieve and prevent the pain of arthritis.

6 Methods a Chiropractor May Use to Help Arthritis Patients

Chiropractors use non-traditional methods, some of which may be unfamiliar to you. 

Let’s take an up-close look at some of the most common treatments you may experience when you visit a chiropractor for arthritis.

#1: Adjustments to Move the Joints and Correct Alignment

When you visit a chiropractor for arthritis, you may be adjusted in one of two ways: 

  1. A manual adjustment is done through the use of the chiropractor’s hands. By feeling your spine, the chiropractor can gain insight into what areas are out of alignment. They then use their hands to manipulate your spine to achieve the desired result. The movements are quick and generally pain-free. 
  2. An activator adjustment is done through the use of a small, handheld, spring-loaded activator. This tool delivers a fast, low impact thrust and is sometimes considered to be a more gentle chiropractic technique than a manual adjustment.

An activator adjustment allows the chiropractor to focus on a very localized area.

This type of adjustment is a good option for patients who may be nervous about the more hands-on manual style of adjustment.

At Therapia Wellness Clinic, Dr. Fanney personalizes your adjustment to meet your specific needs. And we don’t simply stop at adjustments like many chiropractic offices do. We offer a wide variety of treatment modalities that are designed to meet the unique needs of every patient.

#2: Rehabilitation and Functional Training

The goal of rehabilitation and functional training for arthritis is to:

  1. Restore strength 
  2. Retrain problematic patterns of movement; and
  3. Achieve long-lasting results

Rehab provides the patient with an ever-changing environment to adapt to, making it a highly practical treatment modality for arthritis patients.

#3: Interferential Current Therapy (IFC)

Interferential current therapy, also known as IFC, is a common type of electrical muscle stimulation. 

When used for the treatment of arthritis, IFC is may be helpful for:

  • Relieving pain
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Increase the blood flow to painful areas; and
  • Speeding your body’s natural healing process

Interferential current therapy is done by placing electrodes on a painful or inflamed area. The current then travels back and forth between the electrodes to deliver the desired result.

#4: The Graston Technique

The Graston technique is a form of soft tissue mobilization that is used by a wide variety of health care practitioners, including:

  • Chiropractors
  • Physical therapists
  • Athletic trainers 
  • Massage therapists; and
  • Osteopathic physicians

During the session, the practitioner uses a metal instrument to massage, scrape,  and stretch your muscle tissue in a specific area of your body. This may help to prevent or relieve arthritis by:

  • Increasing blood flow
  • Reducing pain
  • Identifying areas of restriction within your body
  • Breaking up scar tissue
  • Stretching connective tissues
  • Improving function; and
  • Restoring normal movement patterns to painful tissues

#5: Hydrotherapy

Hydrotherapy involves applying moist heat packs to painful areas. 

This modality is frequently combined with interferential current therapy and can be very effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis by:

  • Reducing stiffness
  • Easing the pain in your joints
  • Reducing inflammation; and
  • Facilitating a greater range of motion

#6: Kinesio Taping

Kinesio Taping is a form of athletic taping that lifts the layers of skin and fascia. 

There are a variety of ways that Kinesio Taping may help bring relief to people suffering from arthritis, including:  

  • Increasing the flow of blood
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Supporting muscles 
  • Stabilizes aching joints 
  • Helping to prevent further muscle injury; and
  • Allowing injuries to heal

Kinesio Taping can be particularly beneficial when it is used as a part of a treatment plan for osteoarthritis that occurs in the knee or at the base of the thumb.

Combine Chiropractic Treatment With Other Modalities for Arthritis Relief

At Therapia Wellness Clinic, we believe in a holistic team approach to care. Here are a few of the other treatments you may benefit from when you visit our clinic. 

How Acupuncture Can Help With Arthritis

Acupuncture uses thin, disposable, sterilized needles to treat specific points along the meridians of your body. 

Acupuncture may help arthritis by: 

  • Suppressing your body’s inflammatory response
  • Relieving joint pain
  • Improving circulation; and
  • Relaxing muscles

How Massage Therapy Can Help With Arthritis

There are many types of massage therapy, including:

  • Swedish
  • Deep tissue; and
  • Lymphatic

All forms of massage are fine for patients who suffer from arthritis, and the type you choose will depend on the amount of pressure you prefer.

Massage therapy can offer a variety of benefits for those suffering from arthritis, including: 

  • Improving circulation
  • Relieving pain
  • Breaking up inflammation
  • Reducing stiffness
  • Increasing range of motion; and
  • Reducing stress

How Long Should You See a Chiropractor for Arthritis Treatment?

The length of time you will need to see a chiropractor for arthritis will vary from person to person.

Initially, you may want to come several times a week until your pain and inflammation are under control. Then a monthly visit may be enough to keep your symptoms at bay.

However, even if you’re not experiencing pain, it’s critical that you keep your joints moving for preventive care —  and to slow the inevitable process of degeneration that comes with aging.

Choose Therapia Wellness Clinic in Portland for a Holistic Approach to Arthritis Pain and Maintenance

At Therapia Wellness Clinic in SW Portland, our goal is to bring rejuvenation and healing to our community.

While we specialize in chiropractic, we have a diverse team of practitioners who work together to holistically serve our patients through the use of:

  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture; and 
  • Chinese medicine

When you come to our office for treatment, we will …

  • Perform an exam
  • Gather a comprehensive evaluation of your condition
  • Listen to your concerns about how you are functioning and feeling; and
  • Create a personalized treatment plan to meet your individualized needs

Whether you are looking for relief from your arthritis symptoms or want to focus on prevention — Therapia can help.

Book an appointment today to learn more about our holistic approach to healthcare.