Arthritis and Chiropractic Treatment

Cheyne Thompson Child Care, Lifestyle Health

Arthritis can cause joints to be inflamed which can lead to stiffness, pain, misshapen joints and loss of joint function. It can affect most joints in the body including the spine, hands, hips, knees and ankles. Continue reading to learn more about the different types of arthritis and how Chiropractic treatment can help!

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that about 3.3 million (about 15% of the population) had arthritis and more women than men (about 18% compared with 12%) in 2012. (1)

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Types of Arthritis

Arthritis is not just a consequence of ageing, as commonly thought. It can have different causes such as degeneration, inflammation or infection.

In August 2017, Osteoarthritis was the most common type of arthritis in Australia (about 50% of all cases). Rheumatoid Arthritis is the next most common. It affects about 406,000 Australians. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects 6,500 children currently.

Osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” type of arthritis, commonly due to past injuries from accidents /injuries or overuse of the joints over a long period of time. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Gout are inflammatory types of Arthritis and there can be a genetic predisposition for these. Additionally, there is another less common type of Arthritis called Septic or Infectious Arthritis caused by bacterial infections.


In 2014-15, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said about 2.1 million Australians (about 9%) had Osteoarthritis. It is more common in women than men, and more people suffer from it as they age (about 50% of people over 75 years of age have it). (2) It can impact every area of your life. It may affect your independence, social life, relationships and emotions. (3)

There is currently no cure for Osteoarthritis, although, if severe enough, hip and knee replacements may be an option. It is often managed with pain medication such as paracetamol, anti-inflammatories and opioids (eg codeine). Recently medications containing codeine have been removed from the shelves in shops and are now only available with a prescription. This is to help prevent side-effects, abuse and addiction.

A major symptom of Osteoarthritis is joint pain, usually felt when you’re active initially but it can progress to being painful at rest. About 35% of people with Osteoarthritis have back problems associated with the arthritis as compared to 14% of the general population.

When is Chiropractic Care helpful?

Scott Haldeman, MD, is a Neurologist in California, USA and Chairman Emeritus of the Research Council for the World Federation of Chiropractic, who says that chiropractic is one of the safest therapies you can use for neck and back pain for Osteoarthritis. He says more care is needed for inflammatory types of arthritis.

In 2017, the American College of Physicians released new guidelines supporting the use non-pharmacological therapy such as chiropractic and acupuncture as a first line of treatment before the use of medication.

The Journal of the American Medical Association found in 2017 that spinal manipulation reduces low back pain in several studies. The research showed a clear benefit for neck and low back pain, but the evidence wasn’t as clear for hip and knee pain.

Dr Scott Haldeman said, “Although chiropractic can relieve pain there is no clear evidence that chiropractic or any other treatment offers long-term change in the x-ray findings in arthritis.” He said that chiropractic was worth trying for 4-10 visits. He recommended that if there were no results to try another chiropractor or a new type of treatment.

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    Can Chiropractic Care Help You?

    • If you think you may have Osteoarthritic or spinal pain, contact Clayfield Chiropractic to arrange an initial consultation and examination to diagnose your pain and determine whether chiropractic care can help you.

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    Cheyne Thompson

    Author: Cheyne Thompson

    Cheyne graduated from Sydney College of Chiropractic and Osteopathy in 1984. She also has postgraduate qualifications in paediatric chiropractic care. Before joining Clayfield Chiropractic Clinic in 1993, Cheyne enjoyed seven years in a Sydney based practice. Cheyne has three children and 2 grandchildren.