If you’ve ever wondered if seeing a chiropractor can result in arthritis, then you’ll be happy to know that the short answer is no. On the contrary, seeing a chiropractor can help improve your quality of life by making adjustments and using other treatments to reduce back and associated pains. Even the American College of Physicians supports using nonpharmacologic therapies, such as chiropractic and acupuncture, as a first method of treatment for back pain before using medication.

So, does seeing a chiropractor cause arthritis or is it all just misinformed hearsay? If you don’t trust the short answer, here’s the long answer that will help you understand 1) what arthritis is and 2) what a chiropractor’s work entails.

What is Arthritis?
The most common form is osteoarthritis (which is what most people mean when they use the term), and it involves the general wear and tear of the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones. Osteoarthritis can develop when joint movement becomes misaligned,or when there is too much stress placed on a joint for a number of years resulting in the wearing down of cartilage and consequently damage and pain to your joints.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?
A chiropractor makes adjustments to your spine and joints in order to correct their alignment. By correcting the alignment of your body’s structure, you’ll reduce the friction and wear and tear caused by your cartilage rubbing together in ways that it’s not meant to.

Think about a car– when you take your car for its regular check-up, one of the things a mechanic will do is balance your tires and check on the alignment. These checks are important because if there is an issue with tire balance and/or alignment then your tires, brakes, and the axel and struts of your car will wear out faster due to unnatural friction caused from the misalignment.

Just like a human body, a misaligned car will experience performance issues. If you imagine the human body as a machine it’s easy to see how, like a vehicle, if any of its parts are off then a person can experience stiffness, loss of flexibility, and joint degeneration that causes pain throughout your whole body.

Like a mechanic, a chiropractor will work hands-on with your body in order to make adjustments that will bring your body back into alignment. But it’s not as simple as that. Also like a mechanic, a chiropractor will first do a check-up with you in order to determine the source of your pain.

From there, a chiropractor will come up with a treatment plan based on what they discovered, which may involve chiropractic adjustments, and/or an assigned set of exercises for the patient to do in order to relieve pain and improve muscle strength.

Chiropractic treatments are generally deemed safe, and a chiropractor will know based on their assessments what kind of treatments will work best with your pain. There is no evidence that these methods cause arthritis, so if you’re looking for an effective treatment for lower back pain or other issues, don’t be afraid to contact a professional chiropractor.