Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting one or more joints in the body. RA is also classified as an auto-immune disorder as the individual's immune system is in effect attacking itself and causing pain and swelling of their joints. Other examples of auto-immune disorders include lupus, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, alopecia, and vasculitis. It is not known exactly what causes these disorders; however, there are many theories and observations that we will discuss shortly.
People dealing with RA experience symptoms such as joint swelling, pain, stiffness (usually worse in the morning), weakness, redness, and deformity primarily related to the joints of the body and the spine. As a chronic condition, RA generally develops slowly and persists over a long period of time gradually getting worse. Severe cases of RA can leave an individual unable to perform activities of daily living and decreased quality of life overall. In demographic terms, RA most commonly affects women between the ages of 40 and 60. Risk factors for developing RA would include genetics, smoking, obesity, and certain environmental factors.
Common treatments for RA include medications, therapies, and surgeries. Medications include NSAIDs (ibuprofen), steroids, and DMARDs. Physical therapy would help the RA patient by assisting them with movement and lifestyle modifications and exercises that will help them live better with RA. Surgery would be used to repair large joints that are severely damaged from long-term RA. If you think you have RA, your medical provider would diagnose you and advise as to the traditional treatment method that would best suit your needs.
Individuals who do not respond well to traditional treatment methods may elect to seek out conservative "alternative" treatments. Some of these would include acupuncture, massage, and nutrition/supplements. These are all good strategies for stress relief, maintaining health, and optimizing natural recovery that could benefit someone with RA.
The exact cause of RA is still unknown. It may be attributed solely to genetics, or trauma, or lifestyle factors but most likely it is due to a combination of all of those factors. The question then becomes; what factor can we influence to get the most leverage for improving the life of someone with RA? We certainly cannot change your genetics. Lifestyle changes can be an effective tool for health recovery but often are not sufficient for repairing the damage done by a chronic condition. We can certainly look for skeletal imbalances that may be contributing to the RA symptoms, but this is not an idea embraced by traditional health authorities.
Scientific advancement is continually pointing to the role of the nervous system in all bodily processes. This is important because it is changing the way we think about health and disease. For years, traditional healthcare and medical knowledge has held that the systems of the body are separate from each other and work independently. Those old ideas are beginning to be replaced by the realization that the nervous system is the master control system of the entire body and is the middle-man for any health and healing process. The brain is in control of the body and contains the information for all health processes including controlling inflammation and healing joints. Since RA is an auto-immune disorder, conventional wisdom would lead you to believe that the cause of RA is strictly in the immune system; however, looking to the nervous system has started to yield results not just for RA but for a variety of chronic conditions. Even the medical community has begun trying to influence conditions and symptoms using the nervous system. From cauterizing nerves to surgically installing devices to stimulate/inhibit nerve activity; the methods still seem slightly crude. But it's not necessarily the methods that are faulty; it's the underlying principle at hand. Our bodies shouldn't need extensive interventions to survive, they DO need balance over time to heal properly according to their own intelligent design (the same biological intelligence that grows and sustains a person from the moment of conception to the point of death). The bottom line is this: the nervous system can naturally heal the body of disorders and disease as long as it is balanced in a normal state. In the quest to fight symptoms and disease, our healthcare system has lost sight of this truth. RA as well as all chronic conditions and diseases are many years in the making before the first symptoms begin to appear. It is harder to treat an advanced condition than it is to treat it before it grows, it is even harder to treat an advanced condition by only treating the symptoms of the condition. It is very easy to practice a little bit of prevention from the start.
Upper cervical practitioners have an interesting perspective on this. They do not treat conditions, diseases, or diagnoses like RA; but instead they correct a common problem in the spine. That problem; a small misalignment at the top of the spine, can interfere with 100% function of the nervous system. This in turn makes the individual more susceptible to illness and especially chronic conditions. Correction of that misalignment has allowed many people to restore their health naturally and recover from various health conditions. Many people can remember the accident or head injury that occurred in conjunction with the decline in their health or onset of their condition.What is Upper Cervical
So, what kind of effects could upper cervical care have on someone with RA? Patients have reported the following under upper cervical care: decreased swelling of joints, decreased or eliminated flare-ups, greater mobility/flexibility, decreased pain, decreased rheumatoid factor evident in blood work, and greater quality of life.
The immune system depends on normal communication from the brain and spinal cord to operate properly. Interference in the nerve pathways between the two can result in malfunction of the cells in the synovium of the joints. Correction of spinal alignment at the top of the spine can eliminate nerve interference to allow the body to properly function and heal. If you have RA, upper cervical care can help you experience a greater quality of life.
We are taking the following precautionary measures in our office to ensure our office is an Oasis of Health:
We are open our normal business hours
No more Patient Clip Boards or Signing-In for the next few weeks to minimize cross-contamination (ie people touching less stuff in our office)
Chiropractic Tables Are Cleaned Between Each Patient
Children's toys have been removed from family room
Bathrooms are cleaned 2x/day
Surfaces in the office that are commonly touched areas are cleaned multiple times per hour (door handles, chairs, sink knobs, etc)
Patients that are sick are requested to stay home
Patients who are well are encouraged to make their appointments... chiropractic adjustments decrease stress on your body and increase immune system function
Staff that is Sick will not be allowed in the office