Rheumatoid Arthritis

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is any condition in which your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells in your body. The immune system is there to protect your body against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. A normal immune system can differentiate between your own cells and foreign cells, but in an autoimmune disorder, the immune system gets confused and starts treating your own cells like foreign invader cells, releasing autoantibodies that attack and destroy your healthy cells. Different autoimmune conditions attack different parts of the body. With rheumatoid arthritis, it is mainly the soft tissues in your joints that are targeted, but it can also affect things in your body such as your skin, eyes, lungs, nerves, heart, and blood vessels. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints, which causes a painful swelling, and can eventually lead to bone erosion and joint deformity. Other symptoms can include warmth and tenderness in the joints, joint stiffness (which is usually worse in the mornings and after periods of inactivity), fatigue, fever, and loss of appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first, such as the joint the connect your fingers to your hands, and your toes to your feet. As the disease progresses is starts to affect larger joints such as your wrists, elbows, shoulders, ankles, knees, and hips. The symptoms tend to be symmetrical, occurring in the same joints on both sides of your body. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may vary in severity over time, and may come and go. You are likely to have flares in your symptoms, and then periods or relative remission, where the pain and swelling in your joints lessens, or in some cases even disappears temporarily.

What is the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, and what are some of the risk factors?

It is unknown exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, however it is likely there is a genetic component to it. While your genes don’t necessarily cause rheumatoid arthritis to happen, they can make you more susceptible to react to environmental factors that could trigger the disease, such as an infection from certain viruses or bacteria. There are certain risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis, these include:

  • ♦ Your sex: you are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis if you are a woman than if you are a man.
  • ♦ Age: rheumatoid arthritis can happen in anyone of any age, but it is more likely to start when you are middle aged.
  • ♦ Family history: if any of your family members has rheumatoid arthritis, there may be an increased risk of you developing the disease.
  • ♦ Smoking: smoking cigarettes can increase your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, and can also increase the severity of the disease if you do develop it.
  • ♦ Being overweight: this who are overweight seem to have a higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

How can chiropractic help with rheumatoid arthritis?

There are a few ways that chiropractic can help with the management of rheumatoid arthritis. Chiropractic can help with your joint function and mobility, which can help to reduce pain levels. When joints stop moving in the way they are supposed to, it can lead to a lot of inflammation in that joint, which can lead to a lot of pain. Chiropractors are able to get your joints moving the best the can within the limits of your condition. This can help to reduce inflammation, and therefore pain, and can help to improve mobility of the joints. Chiropractors can also provide you with things like exercises and stretches, to make sure the muscles surrounding the joints are working at their best and are able to support the joints.

Another way that chiropractic can help is through the nervous system. When you get areas of the spine that aren’t moving properly, this can interfere with proper nerve function throughout the body. Chiropractors are able to find these areas of nerve interference, and perform chiropractic adjustments in order to get your spinal segments moving correctly, which removes the interference from the nervous system. As rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and your immune system is controlled by your nervous system, it is important to get your nervous system working at its very best. While it isn’t going to be a cure for your condition, having a well functioning nervous system may help to reduce the severity of the disease, and help your body cope with it better.

An important thing to know about chiropractic, is that there are lots of different chiropractic techniques out there. Not all adjustments are big manual adjustments that involve ‘clicking’ of the spine. While manual adjustments are very effective for a lot of people, they are not for everyone. People who have severe rheumatoid arthritis affecting their joints will not be adjusted with manual adjustments. There are other very gentle and effective techniques that can be used on affected joints. These adjustment can help with function and mobility of the joint, without the risk of causing any further damage to the joint. Your chiropractic care will always be tailored specifically to you and any conditions you may have. Chiropractors are very knowledgeable on many conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, and know how to be very specific in the type of care they are providing for your body and your condition.

Chiropractic is safe, effective, non-invasive, and drug free. Unlike most medications, chiropractic adjustments have very little unwanted side effects. It is a natural way to help look after the health of your body. It can work great in conjunction with any medical care or any other therapies you are having. Your chiropractor will be more than happy to work along side the other people who are proving you care, in order to help you gets the best results possible from your care.