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Chiropractic tips to manage your arthritis

Author: CCA Date: Sep 1, 2022 Back Care Tips, Blog, Healthcare, Healthy Aging
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Arthritis is one of the most common conditions affecting the joints worldwide.1 Here in Canada, arthritis is one of the most common chronic diseases impacting the lives of 1 in 5 Canadians (that’s about 6 million). [reference https://arthritis.ca/about-arthritis/what-is-arthritis/arthritis-facts-and-figures]

In Latin, arthro- means joint and –itis means inflammation, so together arthritis means inflammation of a joint. Two common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While they might sound similar, they have very different causes and symptoms.


What is it?
Osteoarthritis is characterized by “wear and tear” of the cartilage on either end of the bone.1 With time, the cartilage may break down causing the two ends of the joints to rub against each other.

Who does it affect?
Osteoarthritis is more common in individuals over the age of 65.1 Other factors that can contribute to (or even speed up) the wear and tear of osteoarthritis are obesity, injury, and overuse, and genetic factors.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include morning stiffness, pain that decreases with movement, swelling, and clicking or cracking within the joint itself.


What is it?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can affect the entire body. The body’s own immune system mistakenly identifies normal joints as “abnormal,” resulting in inflammation which can be extensive and painful. If the inflammation is not controlled, damage to the surrounding cartilage and bone within the joint can occur.

Who does it affect?
Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in females around the ages of 30–60 years old.2

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to those of osteoarthritis, however, a key difference is that pain and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis generally does not resolve or see improvement with movement or exercises.


Exercise: Exercise can help manage symptoms while increasing your endurance and strengthening the muscles that help support the joints. Good options for activity include walking, biking and swimming. Download the Straighten Up Canada app for easy to follow exercise videos. Get moving!

Weight management: Excess weight can be an important risk factor due to the additional stress put on your weight-bearing joints. Even a small amount of weight-loss can help reduce pain and limit further joint damage.

Mobility: Gentle stretching may help improve flexibility and mobility, while decreasing stiffness and pain. Exercises like yoga and tai chi can help manage stiffness.

Heat and cold: Applying heat and cold can help relieve pain when aggravated. Heat can relieve stiffness, while ice may help with pain.

Manual therapy: Manual therapy can help provide treatment not only for pain management, but help improve function and prevent progression. Addressing biomechanical dysfunctions can help relieve pressure on joints.

Chiropractors can provide drug-free, non-invasive treatment to manage arthritis; treatment plans may include exercises for the affected areas, self-care, and manual therapy. Manual therapy, for example, can help provide treatment not only for pain management, but help improve function and prevent progression. Addressing biomechanical dysfunctions can help relieve pressure on joints.

Getting treatment from a combination of various healthcare providers may also be needed. If you are experiencing discomfort in your joints, or would like more information about arthritis, visit your family chiropractor.


  1. Arthritis facts. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/understanding-arthritis/arthritis-statistics-facts.php. Accessed August 29, 2017.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Rheumatoid Arthritis website. Available at: https://www.rheumatoidarthritis.org/ra/. Accessed August 29, 2017.

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