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Posted on 10-09-2016

Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may have heard that sufferers of osteoarthritis have received help from chiropractic care and wondered whether chiropractic treatment could benefit them as well.  The Arthritis Foundation cautions RA patients considering traditional spinal manipulation adjustments typically performed by chiropractors.  Instead they recommend they speak with their rheumatologist before seeking any chiropractic treatment. 

According to an article at Arthritis.org, Alyce Oliver, MD, PhD, assistant professor of rheumatology at the Medical College of Georgia states, "If a patient has joints that have active swelling, I would not recommend going to a chiropractor.  If you can’t get swelling under control, it would be dangerous to get an adjustment."

So are there any benefits at all for RA patients to seek chiropractic care?  Yes, for some RA patients there may still be some relief from their symptoms through alternative treatments found at some chiropractic treatment centers.  These treatments include trigger-point therapy, incorporating stretching and exercise techniques, cold laser treatments and ultrasound treatments. 

Physical therapy exercises and stretches work to strengthen muscles in order to help support adjacent joints.  Ultrasound and cold laser treatments, applied to surrounding soft tissue can help to reduce swelling and inflammation, which in turn, reduces the pain and stiffness experienced by RA patients.  Trigger-point therapy treatments are methods where a chiropractor applies pressure to specific areas of certain muscles.  Applying pressure to muscles that are tense from neighboring inflamed joints can help relieve pain in some RA sufferers.

Any RA patient who is not finding relief from more traditional RA treatments can speak with their rheumatologist to see if they are a candidate for alternative chiropractic treatments.  If their rheumatologist gives them the green light, they may want to seek a chiropractor who is familiar with the special needs of RA patients.  For more information on the potential of alternative chiropractic treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, please contact us.

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