Some people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) may benefit from chiropractic, a type of complementary therapy. It may help alleviate pain and improve blood flow, spinal alignment, and mobility. However, it may not be suitable for everybody.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a type of arthritis that affects some people with an inflammatory skin condition called psoriasis. As with other forms of arthritis, PsA causes the joints to become stiff, swollen, and painful. It may also affect the skin and nails.
PsA is an autoimmune condition. In PsA, the immune system is overactive and triggers an inflammatory response in the joints and other body tissues. Without treatment, this inflammation can lead to permanent joint damage and deformities.
This article outlines whether chiropractic is a safe and effective complementary treatment for PsA and what to expect during a chiropractic session. It also lists some other treatment options for PsA, including medical and dietary options, and home remedies.
Chiropractic is a type of complementary therapy that involves adjusting or manipulating the spine, joints, and muscles to alleviate problems in these areas.
Chiropractic may be beneficial for people with PsA. Claimed
- improving blood flow, which helps to reduce inflammation
- improving spinal alignment, which helps improve the function of the nervous system
- improving mobility
- alleviating pain
These benefits can improve the function of the musculoskeletal system, making it easier and more comfortable for a person to perform their daily activities.
It is also worth noting that people with forms of arthritis related to inflammation such as PsA should be cautious when it comes to chiropractic. If someone is experiencing a flare-up of symptoms, experts advise that they should avoid chiropractic, as the practice could be harmful.
Below are some indications of what to expect before and during chiropractic treatment.
During the first chiropractic appointment, the chiropractor will usually gather information that will help them develop an appropriate treatment plan. The chiropractor will likely:
- ask about a person’s symptoms
- review the person’s medical history
- perform a physical exam
- request an X-ray of the affected area
A chiropractor will use their hands or specialized tools to manipulate the spine, joints, or muscles. The treatment may cause mild discomfort, but it should not be painful.
Chiropractic for PsA may involve the following:
- gentle manipulation of the soft tissues surrounding the joints to boost circulation and alleviate pain and stiffness in those areas
- gentle stretching of the muscles around joints to improve range of motion and increase mobility
- application of force or sustained pressure to the spine to help with spinal realignment
Before starting chiropractic treatment, a person should talk with their healthcare professional to make sure the therapy is safe and appropriate for them.
A person must use caution when using chiropractic to treat PsA or other inflammatory conditions. Treatment should not involve high-velocity spinal manipulation. However, the following chiropractic techniques are usually safe:
- gentle joint mobilization
- manipulation of the soft tissues surrounding joints
- low-velocity, low-amplitude techniques
Medical professionals do not recommend chiropractic care for people who have any of the following:
- active inflammation due to an autoimmune flare-up
- infected joints
- weak bones that may be susceptible to fracture
A person should discuss their symptoms and any changes to their health at each chiropractic visit, as these factors can affect the treatment they receive on that day.
Chiropractic care may cause mild side effects, but these tend to pass within a few days. Examples include:
There is no evidence to suggest that chiropractic causes arthritis.
On the contrary, chiropractic may help with the management of some forms of arthritis. It involves manipulation of the spine, joints, and muscles, which may help to alleviate pain and improve mobility.
Massage may also be beneficial for PsA. Massage can help alleviate pain and stiffness in areas that are prone to inflammation but not actively inflamed at the time of treatment. It can also help to reduce stress levels, which can otherwise trigger PsA flare-ups.
It is best for a person with PsA to talk with their doctor to determine if chiropractic or massage are suitable to treat their symptoms. Some health insurance plans will cover the cost of these therapies.
Learn about what causes arthritis.
Conventional and complementary therapies for PsA may help to alleviate symptoms and lower the risk of complications. A person with PsA may seek treatment from various sources, including:
Some additional treatment options for PsA are outlined below.
Chiropractors may recommend the following adjunctive therapies for a person with active inflammation:
- Low-level laser: Red and near-infrared light beams deeply penetrate tissues to reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Infrared sauna: A heated room boosts circulation and may help to alleviate pain.
- Electrical stimulation: A device called a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine delivers mild electrical pulses through the skin to gently stimulate the muscles and nerves, reducing pain.
Medications to treat PsA include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- prescription pain medications
- enzyme inhibitors
A person who has PsA may benefit from eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
The following foods may be particularly beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory properties:
Avoiding foods that may trigger inflammation may also help. Examples include:
- fried foods
- margarine, shortening, and lard
- red or processed meats
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- sodas and other sweetened beverages
Learn more about PsA and diet.
The following home remedies may help to reduce PsA flare-ups or alleviate PsA symptoms:
Here are some frequently asked questions about chiropractic, arthritis, and psoriasis.
Is it OK to see a chiropractor if you have arthritis?
Chiropractic care may be suitable for some people with arthritis. In particular, it may help alleviate back and neck pain due to osteoarthritis. However, it may not always be suitable for treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Can chiropractic help autoimmune disease?
Chiropractic may help manage symptoms of some autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. However, a person should contact their doctor for advice before beginning chiropractic treatment, as it can be harmful if there is active inflammation.
Can chiropractic help psoriasis?
Chiropractic focuses on manipulating the bones, joints, and muscles. This may make it a suitable treatment for PsA. However, psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition, and may not benefit from chiropractic treatment. A doctor may recommend topical or oral medications for psoriasis.
Chiropractic is a complementary treatment that may be effective in reducing PsA. However, a person should talk with their doctor before receiving chiropractic to ensure that the therapy will be safe for them.
Chiropractic involves a chiropractor manipulating a person’s spine, joints, and body tissues using the hands or specialized instruments.
The treatment may help to correct spinal misalignment, reduce inflammation, and alleviate joint pain. However, more research is necessary to confirm its potential benefits among people with PsA.
Chiropractic can be a safe treatment for PsA. However, a person should not receive the therapy during an active flare-up. People should also make sure to inform their chiropractor of their current symptoms and health status at each visit, as this will have an impact on the treatment the person receives.