How Upper Cervical Care Relates to
Arthritic conditions such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) are inflammatory, auto-immune, joint diseases. When a person suffers from arthritis, the individual's immune system cells malfunction and attack his/her own joint cells. Arthritis can affect any joint throughout the body, including the spine, hips, hands, and feet, to name a few. Symptoms of arthritis can include joint pain, swelling, decreased range of motion, and malformed and/or fused joints.
Most inflammtory arthritic conditions are thought to be caused by hypersensitivity and/or malfunction of the immune system through an auto-immune response. This means that the immune system initiates an exaggerated or improper response to its own tissues and attacks its own cells. Since the immune system depends upon normal communication from the brain and spinal cord to control and coordinate its functions, alterations in neurological function can contribute to malfunctions in the immune system. Specifically, an imbalance in autonomic nervous system function, caused by input from upper cervical spinal joint irritation (neck misalignment), can produce or exaggerate auto-immune reactions within a person's joints or other locations.1-21
While many arthritis sufferers recall specific traumas such as head injuries, auto accidents or falls, which could have injured their upper cervical spines, some do not. An evaluation is necessary in each individual's case to assess whether an upper cervical injury is present and whether benefit from upper cervical care can be achieved.
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