As a chiropractor, I encounter a lot of patients with a variety of pain issues. In school, we learned to recognize a lot of the skeletal changes that can happen in a patient with #rheumatoidarthritis and #ankylosingspondylitis so we had some training with autoimmune disease.
However, it wasn’t until my wife was diagnosed with lupus where I really learned how tricky these illnesses can be, and how important it is to investigate a patient’s history for autoimmune disorders.
Being able to recognize these diseases early is so important to the patient’s future health. Had we known that lupus was the source of my wife’s joint pains, we would have treated way earlier, and avoided the catastrophe that resulted in a one month hospital stay.
This has taught me to really investigate a patient’s history and exam much more thoroughly than ever before.
We want to know if your family has a history of inflammatory disease. If your pain comes with redness and swelling. If multiple joints are affected by “flares” of pain.
As soon as we identify these signs, we immediately start having patients request bloodwork and work with a rheumatologist to get the inflammatory disease treated.
This doesn’t mean that chiropractic or rehab can’t help the autoimmune patient, because it can be extremely helpful! Tools like exercise, adjustments, cold laser, and vagus nerve stimulation can be powerful adjuncts for the arthritis patient.
Sometimes it is helpful enough where the patient’s pain is improved despite an active autoimmune process which may not be a good thing in the long run.
If we want to “correct causes” then we don’t want to delay something that could be life altering later on.