Approximately 10 million people in the United Kingdom suffer from arthritis. This debilitating disease freezes joints, causing them to swell and limiting the range of motion and ultimately the ability to live a full life.
Doctors have developed a variety of therapies for arthritis. Among them, massage is showing promise as a method of reducing pain.
Keep reading to learn about how massage for arthritis can make life liveable again for those suffering from this disease.
Does Massage for Arthritis Help?
In a word, yes, massage can reduce the pain caused by arthritis in both direct and indirect ways.
Direct Benefits of Massage for Arthritis
When you have arthritis, your joints lock up.
Your joints swell with severe inflammation. They cause intense pain and make regular activities nearly impossible.
The excess swelling limits your ability to move. Your weight-bearing joints like hips, knees, and spine just do not work well.
Massage will work the muscles surrounding those joints, making them more pliable and thereby allowing the joints to move more freely.
What about NSAIDs, you might think? Or Cortisone shots? Medical doctors may recommend these treatments as quick fixes.
However, NSAIDs and cortisone shots have unhealthy side effects. Your kidneys and liver will thank you when you attempt to use less abrasive treatments for your arthritis.
Indirect Benefits of Massage for Arthritis
Arthritis stems from unknown causes. One day you seem fine, and the next your body is attacking itself.
Some scientists claim it may have genetic roots. Regardless, once a patient receives an arthritis diagnosis, his stress level skyrockets along with his pain.
Stress causes your arthritis to flare-up and increases your perception of pain. In short: things seem to hurt more when you're under stress.
Massage can help. More physicians are even prescribing massage along with standard treatment. It reduces stress, pain, and muscle tension.
Increasing studies are finding massage helps with anxiety, fibromyalgia, joint pain, insomnia related to stress, headaches, and a variety of other problems.
In particular, it reduces stress. If you can reduce your stress, you can reduce your arthritic pain.
Furthermore, just some compassionate touch can produce feelings of comfort and connection.
Types of Massage
Generally speaking, massage consists of pressing, rubbing, and manipulating skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
It consists of both light stroking and deep pressure. Thus several different types of massage exist.
1. Swedish Massage is a more gentle form of massage. The masseuse, or the person giving the massage, will use long strokes. They will knead muscles with deep circular movements and use vibration and tapping to relax your muscles.
2. Deep Massage does what the name implies, the masseuse massages deeply. They will use slower strokes than used with Swedish massage. Typically, deep massage works best for individuals who have had muscles damaged from injuries since it targets deep layers of muscle.
3. Sports Massage therapists will use similar shallow strokes to watch a Swedish massage does. A sports massage will focus on preventing or treating injuries, though. The therapist will work the muscles that tend to tighten up and sustain injuries when they do not receive proper relaxing treatment.
4. Trigger Point Massage works well if you've had a specific muscle injury or overuse injury. If you've ever injured a muscle or overused a muscle, you know that your muscle fibres will tighten up. The trigger point massage focuses on those areas of tight muscle fibres.
As far as massage for arthritis goes, you'd do well to have a Swedish massage. This will work the muscles in a gentle way and leave you feeling relaxed.
You can always opt for an at-home massage, too. A variety of portable massagers exist just for that purpose. You do not have to leave the comfort of your home to work out the tension in your muscles.
Additional Treatments for Arthritis
Once you're relaxed from your regular massage treatment, you will be able to tackle your arthritis with even more gusto. You'll find yourself with energy again and the desire to do what you need to do to wake up feeling better every day.
You certainly can take the NSAIDs and cortisone shots that doctors prescribe. But these meds come with some painful side effects.
You can also mitigate the pain just by making some life changes.
Begin with what you eat. Your food will not take your arthritis away. Until science finds a cure, you will always have it.
However, what you eat can definitely help reduce the pain caused by arthritis.
Begin by focusing on your fruits and vegetables. Pack those into your regular meals and snacks.
Then, start avoiding the foods that cause excess inflammation: dairy, sugar, and processed foods.
The closer you can keep the food in its natural state, the better the food will be for you.
Bonus Side Effect
If you begin to eat a natural diet full of colourful fruits and vegetables, you will see other benefits. Cutting out fried foods, processed foods, and sugar will naturally cause your body to lose unnecessary fat.
Less fat will mean less weight for your body to carry around. So you'll be hitting your joints from two angles: less weight and healthy, anti-inflammatory foods.
Treating your arthritis means hitting it from all angles: nutrition, massage, and stress.
Reduce Stress, Reduce Pain
You're not a wimp when you seek out a massage for arthritis. This simple treatment can change the arthritis game in your life. You'll reduce your stress, see your pain go down, and have the desire to try additional alternative treatments.
Best of all, you do not have to search around to find the best massage therapist in the area. You can receive a massage at home with a massage chair or a portable massager.
For all of your massage needs, contact us.