52.5 million US adults (about one in five) have been diagnosed with arthritis, a condition that often comes with pain, aching, stiffness, or swelling around the joints. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Other forms of arthritis that occur often are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and gout. Some forms, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.
While most people think of arthritis as an old person’s disease, the truth is very different. Nearly two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65, and the condition can also affect children. It is more common in women than men, and also more common in people who are obese.
I have a close friend in her late 30s who struggles daily with rheumatoid arthritis. Even on strong medications, her pain and swelling have not completely gone away. She’d love to be rid of the medications – they cause unpleasant side effects – but doesn’t want the full pain of her arthritis to return. One option she should probably consider is chiropractic care, which can aid in reducing the pain of arthritis without drugs and nasty side effects.
Today, Americans are increasingly willing to try alternative forms of health care for common complaints such as arthritis. Many people are now turning to chiropractic care to help managed their arthritis symptoms. The common medical approach to arthritis involves over-the-counter and prescription medications that can come with nasty side effects, like the ones my friend is taking. But a recent article in the journal “Medscape Rheumatology” titled “CAM for Arthritis: Is there a Role?” (CAM is short for ‘complementary and alternative medicines’) confirmed the steady growth of chiropractors’ popularity among arthritis sufferers. “There’s little question in my mind that chiropractic works, especially for acute musculoskeletal pain,” wrote Dr. Nathan Weil, M.D.
That view is shared by Gerald Clum of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress, who agrees with Dr. Weil that chiropractors are in many cases more knowledgeable about the musculoskeletal anatomy than most other rheumatologists, because of their extensive training and experience working with musculoskeletal conditions.
“The evidence-based, hands-on care provided by a doctor of chiropractic,” says Dr. Clum, “helps to significantly relieve symptoms such as joint pain and swelling, and improve range of motion, endurance and muscle tone and strength. And patient satisfaction is high as many arthritis sufferers are looking for ways to stay active and avoid prescription medication.”
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