Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the joints but can also involve other tissues and organs. This autoimmune condition leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and potential joint destruction, significantly impacting the quality of life. This article provides a comprehensive overview of rheumatoid arthritis, including common symptoms, potential causes, available medical treatments, and alternative therapies such as massage. Additionally, we will explore the benefits of chiropractic care in managing RA and introduce the Zone Technique, a specialized chiropractic approach that may offer the best solution for addressing the root causes and promoting healing.


Rheumatoid arthritis manifests with a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity and progression. Common symptoms include:

  • Joint Pain and Swelling: Affected joints become swollen, tender, and warm to the touch.
  • Morning Stiffness: Prolonged stiffness in the joints, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Fatigue: Persistent tiredness and a general feeling of malaise.
  • Symmetrical Involvement: RA typically affects joints on both sides of the body symmetrically.
  • Rheumatoid Nodules: Firm lumps under the skin, often around pressure points like elbows.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Difficulty moving affected joints, leading to reduced function.
  • Systemic Symptoms: Fever, weight loss, and weakness can occur, indicating systemic involvement.


Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues. The exact cause of RA is not fully understood, but several factors are believed to contribute to its development:

1. Genetic Factors

  • Family History: Having a family member with RA increases the risk.
  • Genetic Markers: Certain genes, such as the HLA-DRB1 gene, are associated with a higher susceptibility to RA.

2. Environmental Factors

  • Infections: Certain infections might trigger the autoimmune response that leads to RA.
  • Smoking: Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for developing RA.
  • Hormonal Factors: Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy or menopause, can influence the risk of RA.

3. Immune System Dysfunction

  • Autoimmunity: In RA, the immune system attacks the synovium, the lining of the membranes that surround the joints, leading to inflammation and joint damage.

4. Lifestyle Factors

  • Diet: Certain dietary factors might influence the development and progression of RA.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can contribute to the severity of RA symptoms.

Medical Treatments

The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to control symptoms, reduce inflammation, prevent joint damage, and improve quality of life. Here are some common medical interventions:

1. Medications

  • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Corticosteroids: Drugs such as prednisone can quickly reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system.
  • Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs): Medications like methotrexate and sulfasalazine slow the progression of RA and prevent joint damage.
  • Biologic Agents: Targeted therapies such as TNF inhibitors (e.g., adalimumab, etanercept) and interleukin inhibitors (e.g., tocilizumab) block specific parts of the immune system to reduce inflammation.
  • JAK Inhibitors: Medications like tofacitinib and baricitinib interfere with the activity of Janus kinase enzymes involved in the immune response.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on:

  • Exercise Programs: Tailored exercises to improve joint function, increase strength, and maintain flexibility.
  • Manual Therapy: Techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue massage to reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Assistive Devices: Recommendations for splints, braces, and adaptive devices to support joint function and reduce strain.

3. Surgery

  • Joint Replacement: In severe cases, damaged joints may be replaced with artificial ones to restore function and reduce pain.
  • Synovectomy: Removal of the inflamed synovium to reduce pain and improve joint function.
  • Tendon Repair: Surgical repair of tendons damaged by inflammation.

4. Lifestyle Modifications

  • Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help manage symptoms.
  • Exercise: Regular, low-impact exercise helps maintain joint function and overall health.
  • Stress Management: Techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation can help manage stress and reduce symptom severity.

Alternative Treatments

In addition to conventional medical treatments, several alternative therapies can help manage RA symptoms and improve quality of life.

1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help alleviate symptoms by:

  • Improving Circulation: Enhanced blood flow can promote healing and reduce muscle tension.
  • Reducing Muscle Tension: Relaxing the muscles and tissues around the affected joints can decrease pain and improve mobility.
  • Promoting Relaxation: Reducing stress and anxiety can help manage pain and support overall well-being.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerves and muscles, potentially reducing pain and promoting healing.

3. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those involving the spine and joints. Chiropractors use various techniques to adjust the spine and other joints to improve alignment, reduce nerve compression, and enhance overall health.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

  • Non-Invasive: Chiropractic adjustments are a non-surgical treatment option.
  • Pain Relief: Many patients experience significant pain relief after chiropractic treatments.
  • Improved Function: Chiropractic care can improve mobility and function, reducing the impact of RA.
  • Holistic Approach: Chiropractors often address overall health, including nutrition and lifestyle factors, which can contribute to better outcomes.

The Zone Technique: A Specialized Chiropractic Approach

While typical chiropractic care offers numerous benefits for managing RA, there is a specialized technique known as the Zone Technique that may provide the best results for eliminating symptoms and addressing the root cause.

What is the Zone Technique?

The Zone Technique is a chiropractic method developed by Dr. Peter Goldman. It focuses on balancing six systems within the body, which Dr. Goldman refers to as “zones”: the glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular, and circulatory systems. The theory is that imbalances in these zones can lead to various health issues, including RA.

How Does the Zone Technique Work?

  1. Assessment: The chiropractor assesses the patient’s zones by palpating specific points on the head.
  2. Zone Balancing: Based on the assessment, the chiropractor performs adjustments to specific areas of the spine and body to restore balance to the affected zones.
  3. Follow-Up: Regular follow-up sessions help maintain balance and address any recurring issues.

Why the Zone Technique is Effective

  • Holistic Approach: By addressing multiple systems in the body, the Zone Technique aims to treat the root cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves.
  • Personalized Care: Each treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific imbalances, providing a customized approach to healing.
  • Comprehensive Healing: By restoring balance to the body’s systems, the Zone Technique can promote overall health and prevent future issues.


Rheumatoid arthritis can significantly impact an individual’s ability to perform daily activities and maintain a high quality of life. Understanding the potential causes and available treatments is crucial for managing this condition effectively. While medical treatments and alternative therapies such as massage can provide relief, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and holistic approach that can significantly improve outcomes.

Among the various chiropractic techniques, the Zone Technique stands out as a comprehensive method that addresses the root causes of RA by balancing the body’s systems. By considering this specialized approach, individuals suffering from RA may find the most effective and lasting relief from their symptoms, ultimately leading to improved function and overall well-being.

Are You Ready to Heal?