As seasons change, you may notice some pain in your joints. Fortunately, chiropractic care can help. When most people hear “chiropractic care” they usually think of spinal problems and back pain. While this is true, chiropractic can treat conditions other than pain in the joints of the spine. It can be used for joints all over the body, including ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, and wrists. It is a natural, whole body approach to health care and wellness as a very effective way to manage chronic joint pain such as arthritis, or join pain due to injury.
What Causes Joint Pain and Immobility?
There are several reasons that a joint may become painful and immobile. Injury or trauma to the joint, such as a fall, being hit while playing sports, or being involved in a car accident, can cause injury. Micro trauma occurs due to a repetitive use injury such as working on an assembly line or using a computer all day, can also cause damage resulting in pain.
Sometimes an inflammatory diet can cause problems and stress can also certainly be a factor. Stress affects the entire body, including its chemicals and hormones that can lead to joint damage or weakness, making you more prone to injury.
Finally, age may be a factor. As we get older, our bodies don’t hold up like they once did. This can mean joint pain and decreased range of motion. The colder months can instigate pain in the major joints, including the knees, back, hips, and shoulders.
Why does Cold Weather Exacerbate Joint Pain?
The short answer to this is that researchers aren’t really sure. One of the most popular theories is that low pressure systems typically accompany the cooler temps. The lower pressure can cause the tissues in already sensitive joints to expand, creating a perfect environment for inflammation including aches, tenderness, decreased range of motion, and swelling.
Other factors that may also affect joint pain in cooler weather are low level dehydration, a sedentary lifestyle, and depression or “the blues.” Low level dehydration is more common than you may think; most people do not have adequate water intake.
Sodas don’t count as hydration and this can be a real problem. Generally, people don’t hydrate as much when the weather is cool – or not as much as they did during the warm summer months.
When the weather cools down people become less active, especially if there is snow and ice on the ground. Lack of exercise can lead to serious joint troubles.
Depression can also impact your entire body, including your joints. Many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. Doctors believe that it occurs because of the shorter days and generally darker skies during the winter months. Depression and anxiety have strong ties to chronic pain as a whole, including joint pain.
How Chiropractic Helps Relieve Joint Pain
Chiropractic provides an all-natural, holistic approach to health care and pain management. It does not use medications or invasive medical procedures.
The chiropractor usually begins by aligning the spine, which is called an “adjustment.” This brings the body back into alignment so that it can function more efficient and with less pain. The patient may also be given recommendations on lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, exercise, and supplements.
When the body is aligned, the entire system is balanced. This allows the body to work at a more optimal rate. As a result, the range of motion improves and the pain is decreased or even completely eliminated.