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Can Chiropractors Help People with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Chiropractic is a complementary form of therapy that directs its efforts toward the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, especially those affecting the spine. Practitioners in this field perform hands-on manipulations or adjustments to the spine and other body parts with the aim of correcting misalignment issues, relieving pain, and enhancing function.

Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by stiffness and pain in the lower back. For that reason, it appears that having a chiropractor perform a spinal manipulation can help alleviate your symptoms. However, doctors advise against it because the spine of some suffering ankylosing spondylitis can fuse.

In 2015, the American College of Rheumatology published guidelines advising against the use of spinal manipulation in people with ankylosing spondylitis. However, the first stop for people suffering low back pain is the chiropractor. These practitioners, therefore, play an important role in providing treatment for people with ankylosing spondylitis.

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Why doctors advise against chiropractic manipulations

People with ankylosing spondylitis or spinal fusion risk suffering a spine injury if they receive a spinal manipulation from a chiropractor or massage therapist. It is for this reason that the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) expressly advises against that form of treatment.

To realize therapeutic goals such as correcting alignment issues and easing the pain, chiropractors in Columbus Ohio perform traditional hands-on manipulations which involve moving around of a patient’s joints. The problem with that treatment is that it may worsen the joint damage in people with ankylosing spondylitis, possibly resulting in a fracture.

Here’s how chiropractors help people with ankylosing spondylitis

If you suffer from ankylosing spondylitis and want to receive chiropractic care, it is important that you first identify a chiropractic practitioner that has enough experience treating people with the same problem.

Such a chiropractor will use alternative techniques that carry no risk of causing further injury to your joint. They focus on improving the mobility of the soft tissues that surround the problematic joint. Moreover, a chiropractic who has experience treating people with ankylosing spondylitis will teach you to exercise that ensures smoother movement as you go about your day.

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Ensuring proper alignment of the pelvis is one of the non-forceful approaches that your chiropractor may take. Rather than applying direct force on the joints and bones, the practitioner uses the weight of their body and specialized block to restore proper alignment.

Chiropractors are most recognized for their spine manipulations. However, chiropractic therapy aims that offering holistic treatment. That means that chiropractors can identify nutritional deficiencies and recommend diet changes.

Just keep in mind that there is limited research on the influence of diet on ankylosing spondylitis and other inflammatory diseases. So while it’s generally a good idea to follow your healthcare provider’s diet recommendations, do it knowing that it’s an unproven approach to treating ankylosing spondylitis. Nonetheless, the SAA recommends maintaining a healthy weight and nutritious diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

If you have ankylosing spondylitis and are considering including chiropractic care in your treatment, make sure you consult your primary care physician to find out whether you’re a suitable candidate.

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Updated: November 29, 2018 — 10:44 am

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