When thinking of massage for arthritis, many who actually suffer from arthritis just imagine pain. Pressure tends to hurt joints that are already inflamed, so massage seems like the last thing to do. Though this may be the case during an arthritic flareup, massage can be a beneficial therapy for those suffering from osteoarthritis, gout, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Continue reading for more information.
Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degeneration of the bones and cartilage within a joint, usually caused by overuse or injury. It develops over time, first with the larger cartilage between the bones breaking down until the bones start grinding together. Depending on the severity, symptoms range from stiffness and achiness to sharp debilitating pain.
Aches and pain cause muscles to contract around the joint in an act to protect further damage and promote healing. This reaction to pain should happen with an injury but it is not ideal for arthritis. The muscle contraction puts further pressure on the joints and increases deterioration, creating a downward spiral.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis responds well to professional massage therapy. A licensed massage therapist can use massage therapy to relax your muscles and protect joints suffering from osteoarthritis. Deep massage relieves stiff muscles and interrupts the nervous system to stop the contractions, taking pressure off the arthritic joint. Decreasing pain increases mobility, further preventing osteoarthritis from hindering your daily life. Massage therapy can prevent further deterioration and prolong the life of a joint.
Massage Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks its own joints. RA is commonly treated with medication and does not generally respond well to deep tissue massage, unlike osteoarthritis. Deep tissue massage can often make the symptoms worse, especially during a flare-up, and provide little to no relief.
However, lighter massage can be very effective in reducing symptoms. A licensed massage therapy can show you a handful of gentle massage techniques that you can do at home, and if done on a regular basis, massage therapy can help reduce the persistent pain and soreness.
Massage Therapy for Gout
Gout is a complex form of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in a joint, oftentimes in toes, feet, and ankles. Symptoms include intense pain, swelling and stiffness in the affected joint. A gout attack occurs when your body starts making more uric acid than your kidneys can process, often caused by eating foods high in uric acid or consuming alcohol. Treatment is accomplished through medication and diet changes.
Massage therapy is great for reducing the joint swelling and stiffness caused by a gout attack. This includes deep tissue massage, mobility exercises, and stretching. Getting the joints to move again helps to break up the uric acid crystals, increase blood flow and lower the inflammation. Massage therapy can keep the joints mobile and help reduce the severity of future gout attacks.
Massage Therapy in Centennial, CO
If you are in the Denver Metro Area, our team of massage therapists would love to help you or a loved one find relief from all types of arthritis. We also offer acupuncture, natural supplements, and nutritional counseling for arthritis. Visit or contact Arapahoe Chiropractic & Acupuncture Center today!
BY: Dr. Friedman
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