Chiropractic Approach to Joint Pain
Joint pain is commonly felt in the hands, knees, feet, hips, and spine. Pain could be felt as a burning, throbbing, or grating in nature. The joints at such times are often stiff, sore, or achy. Joint pain could be limiting and affect your quality of life. In this article, we will discuss how chiropractic can help treat joint pain effectively.
How is Joint Pain Different Than Other Types of Pain?
Joint pain can be described as pain, discomfort, or inflammation of a joint. A joint basically is the meeting point of two bones and can contain ligament, cartilage, muscles, and tendons in and around it. If pain, discomfort, or inflammation arises from any of the above, it is called joint pain.
Health conditions that may cause joint pain include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bone cancer, bone infection, gout, bursitis (inflammation of the burse), etc. While joint pain may be associated with an underlying health condition, it could be caused to other sole factors. These causes include:
- Injuries. These may be to the joint, bone, or soft tissues around it. They include fractures, trauma, etc.
- Sprains and strains
- Overuse or repeated use of muscles
- Overload of muscles and joints like heavy physical activity
- Low physical activity or lack of use of muscles
- Being overweight or obese
Are Chiropractors Able to Effectively Treat Joint Pain?
Over the years, chiropractors have shown to be masters in managing acute and chronic pain. There are other medical and alternative therapies used to treat joint pain, however, chiropractic care has proved to be a better option, particularly for those who do not love drugs or will prefer a closely natural way of treatment. The following studies provide evidence.
A 2012 study showed that chiropractic care involving low-level laser therapy in patients with joint pain secondary to osteoporosis provided significant pain relief and improvement in osteoarthritic symptoms. In recent times, chiropractors have widened their scope of services and often offer laser therapy. Chiropractic care with laser therapy promotes full-body relief from joint pain, as well muscle pain from trauma and injury.
In a more recent study, manual therapy, a chiropractic approach was proven to effectively manage temporomandibular joint pain. It relieved most of the myofascial symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunctions.
In addition, chiropractic care has been shown to reduce the need for an opioid prescription. According to a 2019 study, patients with spinal pain but were chiropractic users had their odds of receiving an opioid prescription lowered by 64%.
How Do Chiropractors Treat Joint Pain?
The Illinois Chiropractic Society discusses in various articles the different chiropractic approaches used in treating joint pain. They include:
- Exercise- stretching, strengthening, and stabilization exercises
- Myofascial release
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue manipulation (IASTM)
- Ice therapy
- Heat therapy
- Cross friction massage
These therapies are employed by the chiropractor depending on the joint(s) affected. Also, multiple techniques are combined for the best positive outcomes.
How Can I Prevent Joint Pain?
How to prevent joint pain depends on the joint involved. However, general tips include:
- Adequate Exercise – Exercise is good to keep your joints and muscles in shape and healthy. However, exercise or physical activity should not be too little or too much. Little to no physical activity over time can affect your joints and result in pain. In the same vein, overworking your joints and muscles will result in joint pain.
- Adequate Rest – You must give your joints a break. After exercise, long walks, heavy lifting jobs, and tasks that require repeated use of your joints and muscles, take time to rest.
- Diet – Avoid eating too hard or tough foods to avoid temporomandibular (jaw) joint pain.
- Good Posture – A good posture that doesn’t increase tension in your joints will help prevent joint pain. For example, sitting upright will prevent spinal pain.
- Lose Extra Weight – If you are obese or overweight, the extra pounds increase the weight or load your joints bear. Losing extra weight and maintaining a healthy weight will help relieve your joints and prevent joint pain.