Can chiropractic help with Rheunatoid Arthritis ??

Has anyone ever got better going to a chiropractor ? I talked to one today and he said that instead of taking all those strong pills ,that coming there and getting treatment could help and even get me off all medication ! It all sounds so good , but I don't know if I believe it all!! it's all so confusing . HELP PLEASE!! I would love to get off my meds!!

31 Replies

  • Hello gingeq.

    Oh I agree that the idea of getting off the meds is wonderful - and when someone tells us they can offer you something which can help do that it is very enticing (sorry not the right word but can't think of a better one at the moment).

    I am speaking as someone with very longstanding RA but no experience of chiropractic at all but what I would say (from my admittedly limited knowledge of chiropractic) is that I don't understand how something which I believe involves purely physical manipulation can damp down the underlying autoimmune disease to allow someone with RA potentially to get off their meds. I worry that a chiropractor making that claim may be thinking of osteoarthritis and be apparently offering something approaching a "miracle cure" for a condition they don't understand. I feel that a chiropractor worth their salt wouldn't be making claims like this. I would hope that if I approached a chiropractor, and explained my health situation, the very first thing they would do would be to work with me to take advice from the rheumatologist to make absolutely sure that any treatment being offered was safe and appropriate for me.

    I am absolutely not against chiropractic or other similar treatments - and I know of people with mechanical neck and back problems who have had great success with chiropractors. I have heard these people explain that the chiropractor is able to manipulate the body in such a way as to help align the spine for example and I can see how that could help those people to come off or reduce anti inflammatories and/or pain meds. But for those of us with RA it isn't going to damp down the immune system and allow us to reduce or stop our RA meds and I would be wary of anyone making such a claim.

    Sorry I feel as if this post is very negative and it isn't intended to be. I know for myself that if someone offered me a way to reduce or come off my meds I would be tempted to grab it with both hands - but, alas, after nearly twenty years with RA I'm thinking if such a "cure" was out there, it would have come to light by now and the NHS would be employing armies of chiropractors instead of funding rheumatologists and expensive drugs.


  • Hi-

    Do you really think that the Rheumatologists or the drug companies would benefit from or appreciate a cure if it weren't drug-related? I hardly think so.

  • That is so true from most ,if not all MDs,, and I would say that most chiropractors would say that what they do is the best also!! That's what makes trusting either one so hard to believe what they say!! It's sad but so true that our health is in the hands of all these doctors and for most , or a lot it's all about making money off of us all!!! So I guess we just have to try different treatments and see what really works best for each and everyone of us!!

  • The simple answer is no he can't help you other than to help taking money from your pocket! Coming off the meds will most probobaly make your RD move active disease can cause more harm to your body than the pills... I find a trip to a Nice warm spa and a massage does the trick to both ease the pain and help relax the mind.

    This is my personal opinion and I am in no way medically trained.

  • I would also be careful about too strong manipulation of my joints. I have been to chirpractors, osteopaths and physiotherapists over the years but have found that many of them have no real knowledge of joints affected by RA and are too forceful. I currently use an osteopath/physiotherapist who is knowledgeable and careful so only manipulates a few vertebrae in my back not affected by RA very gently and for the rest of me sticks to physio.

    You'll find that you keep coming across people who offer a magic cure. Some people are lucky enough to to have a type of palindromic RA that can suddenly vanish as quickly as it appeared and I always suspect that these "cures" coincide with that. But it's also quite possible that a few people are helped as this is such a variable disease. If you look on the arthritis research website you'll find a report of the different complementary therapies. None seem particularly effective. So personally I spend my money on others things.

    But ask the chirpractor how many patients with RA he/she has, and what kind of RA - you may well find that there's a mixup with osteoarthritis.

  • hi I asked my doctor at the hospital about holistic approach and was told nothing would help I am a holistic aroma therapist .but it was a no no I asked if there was anything else other than drug and she said I have come to the wrong place if I wont take strong drugs hope you find a answer keep us updated if you find something that helps

  • The only real positive evidence surrounding chiropractice is in the treatment of lower back pain, when I say 'evidence' I'm referring to peer reviewed medical journal published evidence as opposed to hearsay. I'm afraid I would run (in my case hobble) a million miles from anyone or anything that offers a miracle cure, or one that says that they can allow to get rid of your meds, immediately or even quickly.

    of course , there is a placebo effect to consider, and something like rekei or non invasive alternative treatments may allow to relax and put you in medicine state this can have positive results , but only in as far the rest and relaxation these treatments afford (IMHO).

    The problem with Chiropractice, is that it is by definition (manipulation of the spine), not recommended for RA,as you cannot guarantee that the said manipulation won't make things worse and suddenly coming off meds would certainly make things worse.

    If it was an effective treatment, I would assert that the rheumatology dept. of every hospital and clinic would be full of chiropractors, "curing" us all.

  • Hi there

    You have some sound replies so all I can add is that when I visited an osteopath for a bulging lumbar disc the movement flared up the RA in my hips. I was warned in the initial assessment that the movement by the osteopath can stir up the lymph fluid in the groin and cause a flare. But it did wonders for my back pain.

    I would be sceptical. Does this person really know what RA is?

  • A Chinese doctor once told me that he has cured RA through acupuncture, massage and herbs. I tried it a couple of weeks ago, and left the office more than exhausted. I would go back again to see if it was the treatment that made me so tired, or if it was due to the total relaxation after being anxious about the treatment beforehand. All I know is that a rush-type chill went through my body while I laid on the table. It's hard to explain, but I was told that it was Chi.

    Maybe that's something you could try instead of a chiropractor. It seems to me that if anyone has something close to being a cure, it would be the Chinese. Just a thought...

  • I had similar experience with acupuncture - quite pleasant in a way to be so totally zapped. Hard to describe but some where between relaxed and lethargic. So perfectly ok, but didn't actually do anything for the RA.

  • I didn't notice a difference in the RA, either. Maybe it would help if the visits were more often?

  • Hi there

    I went to see a chiropractor as I was told this may help a mis-alignment in my hip which was causing more pressure on one foot and had affected the joints - and my RA decided this was a great place to settle. This may have helped correct the mis-alignment but did nothing whatsoever for my RA as it just chose another set of joints to attack.

    As others have said, I would be sceptical about this being a 'cure' for an auto-immune disease.

  • Hi gingeq,

    I think you need to treat this chiropractor with extreme caution. This individual either doesn't know anything about RA or is lying to you. I was first diagnosed with rapid onset RA at the age of 18, and it left me with permanent joint damage. As you probably already know, RA can be very aggressive, and cause a lot of joint damage in a short space of time. Even though it can be difficult to deal with the side-effects of medication, RA medications are often necessary. Without medication, my joints would have been so badly damaged that there is a significant chance that I would have become completely immobile.

    Like so many others, I tried different 'cures' or alternative treatments, but nothing worked. I am now in my 40's and my RA has settled down, but only as a result of using conservative medical treatments. As Slightly_ginger says, there is a possibility that the joint manipulation will make your condition worse.

    'Sense About Science' has a handy booklet that you can download called 'I've Got Nothing to Lose by Trying It: A guide to weighing up claims about cures and treatments'. The booklet is designed to help you make a safe and informed choice about the types of alternative therapies you may consider using.

    'Arthritis Research UK' has some information on complementary and alternative medicines.

    All the best,


  • I have tried many types of complementary therapies over the years, some therapies have helped me cope with the pain ie reflexology and massage but nothing has ever worked to the point of reducing drugs. I think we would all like to get off our meds but without the meds you are risking a lot of joint damage. I have met loads of therapists who "claim" to cure, I stay well away from anyone who says they can cure me, half the time they don't understand what RD is. The best therapy for me is hydrotherapy, exercise helps to strengthen the muscles and support the joints, which helps the pain. And its much cheaper than seeing a therapist.

  • Is hydrotherapy the same as water aerobics?

  • water aerobics is much more strenuous than hydrotherapy. You can be referred by your hospital for hydrotherapy if they have a pool. It is basically a range of physio exercises done in warm water to relieve pain and help joint mobility. The exercises are much easier in water than on land because the water supports your weight and helps the muscles relax.

  • Thanks for that!

  • I must admit I got more out of hydrotherapy than I ever dreamed, gave me amazing results.

  • Hi, think you have enough replies however I wanted to add my little bit of experience. I have always used a chiropractor for back pain etc. about two years before my RA was diagnosed I always found that the pain always increased for a hour a week before it settled. After I was diagnosed I had other issues and my back was the least of my worries, however last year found I had to go. We discussed treatment and she told me then that her speciality is not recommended for clients with RA. I asked her to go ahead anyway and low and behold, my whole body hurt for the most part of a week. I personally would not recommend a chiropractor however it might be worth trying some gentle massage


  • No, it wouldn't help and would probably make you worse. I went to one before I was diagnosed and felt she almost broke my shoulder. Manipulation with inflammation is very dangerous.

  • Hi. I saw a chiropractor some years ago - pre RA, to see if he could help my migraine. He manipulated my neck and 5 years on I have not had a migraine since. However, when I went to him more recently to see if he could help my stiff neck, when I told him I had RA he immediately said that he couldn't do much for me .

    It would be lovely not to take the drugs but I, for one would rather do that than risk joint damage.


  • Thanks everyone for your feed back! It was really interesting and helpful !! I have gone to Chiropractors over the last 24 years on and off in hope of getting help with my Fibro ! My husbands goes and said it helps with his back pain that he gets! So he was sure it would help me also!! He would say he felt so good after he went! But, for me I told it did not feel good, it felt worse. It would hurt when he pressed down on me or try to adjust my neck. I finally told him to not touch my neck, so he would just use a clicker thing at the neck erea . But hardly any of my joints would move like they should when doing his adjustments!, And he wanted me to come some times up to 3 times a week!! So finally just stopped going at all for a while .

    At that time I started going for some other treat and got some blood work done and found out that I had RA, after being on MTX for a year and feeling a lot better . I did something and my lower back was hurting and thought I'll just go back to my chiropractor and see what he had to say about it!, he did all of the adjustments , and every one even my neck popped with out any problem or pain!! He was amazed how well it went. He said that was the best he had ever seen for me!

    And after he was all done , I told him that a had found out that I have RA , and that I was taking meds for it!! And he had not one word to say about it, not even that's good that it has helped me or anything!! It was very strange !! I have not been back sence .

    But, I'm confused about how the adjustment went so well! I know that the MTX had helped with getting the inflammation out of my joints and that must be why the adjustment went so well!! But , before when they were saying I had Fibro , ( the last 24 years) the adjustment didn't go well ! I guess my question is did I have just Fibro all those years ? Or was it RA , or did I have both all that time? Or does the MTX help with Fibro also? It's all so confusing to me! I think I'm getting a headache !

    Any way , I'm thinking now. I wonder now that I'm taking the meds and the adjustments are going a lot better ! Would it be good to get the adjustment ? That maybe now that everything is moving it might be able to help!! I just don't know!!!!

    The new chiropractor that I was talking about in my first posting , he is the one saying that I could maybe even get off my meds!! That all sounds good ,but I'm not falling for any of that ! Thanks everyone , have a great day !

  • Hi gingeq,

    I'm happy that you are feeling better but please don't be fooled into thinking this is down to chiropractor popping your joints, RA is and always will be a autoimmune disease! This type of condition causes the body’s immune system to attack itself. and the first place it start is in the joints, no so sure its a good thing to be popping your joints. with RA or RD << as i call it now!

    marcus6 x

  • I have PsA which can affect the spine. The received wisdom seems to be that chiropractic on the spine can be dangerous for patients with an inflammatory condition. Keeping moving and strengthening joints by appropriate exercise does seem to be highly beneficial however, and that's often free, as well. It's not all about drugs by a long chalk. But alternative practitioners are also motivated by profit just as the big drug companies are. And how else can we get the drugs which do have a proven track record other than by lining the pockets of 'Big Pharma?

  • Hi gingeq, I have had RA for 20 yrs. and have been to a chiropractor once and was not impressed I felt it was too aggressive.

    I have also been to an osteopath on a number of occasions for pain relief and found it very helpful. I have considerable RA damage. I had a very painful stiff neck and shoulder no one else could do anything about, but osteopsth released is after only 3 sessions. He is now working on my severe back pain.

    I agree neither chyro or ostepath are going to cure RA but osteo for me was a God send.

    If you live in Norwich pm me and will give you details.

    I am not related to him/her,his partner is also osteo. I am just a very grateful patient.

  • Hi gingeq, I have had RA for 20 yrs. and have been to a chiropractor once and was not impressed I felt it was too aggressive.

    I have also been to an osteopath on a number of occasions for pain relief and found it very helpful. I have considerable RA damage. I had a very painful stiff neck and shoulder no one else could do anything about, but osteopsth released is after only 3 sessions. He is now working on my severe back pain.

    I agree neither chyro or ostepath are going to cure RA but osteo for me was a God send.

    If you live in Norwich pm me and will give you details.

    I am not related to him/her,his partner is also osteo. I am just a very grateful patient.

  • I'm sorry, but a chiropractor is NOT a doctor, and shouldn't be telling you that they can get you off pills that a rheumatologist (a medical doctor) has prescribed for a rheumatological disease. I am sure I am right when I say that there is absolutely no medical evidence that chiropractic can reverse RA or put it into remission, but there is definitely plenty of medical evidence that shows that DMARDs can do that. Chiropractic may be able to help a little, but I also wouldn't be getting any manipulations done unless I'd checked with my doctor first - when you have bone and joint diseases, the last thing you want is someone doing too harsh a manipulation and causing damage.

  • Earth witch, I hear what your saying ! And your right! Thanks !!

  • Hi gingeq

    A lot of sound advice and experience been given here already. Just to confirm what people have been saying, we have no evidence that alternative therapies or medicines can cure RA. Whilst they may be useful in alleviating some of the symptoms of RA, they do not treat the disease itself. The medication that you are given is to treat the activity of the disease and to help minimise the damage that it is doing.

    Any alternative medications and therapies should always be discussed with your rheumatology team as even natural substances can interact with the medication that you are taking. Good luck with everything. Hope you find something that helps you,


    Beverley (NRAS Helpline)

  • I have become interested in videos by Dr Bergman who is a chiropractic claiming to be able to help reverse arthritis

You may also like...