• Magda Karas

How Massage Helps Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful inflammatory condition that affects joint. It can affect people of any age. It creates pain, joint stiffness, swelling and aching.

In the UK, there are more than 10 million people living with arthritis or similar conditions that affect joints. There is no cure for it but there is a lot that can be done to keep it under control, reduce flare ups and enjoy life doing things that you love.

Since I have had quite a few conversations this week in the clinic about arthritis and how massage can help with it, I have decided to put it all in this week blog.

There are many reasons why you should get massage if you suffer from arthritis.

  • Getting regular massage relieves pain and eases muscle stiffness associated with the condition. Easing off the muscle stiffness also helps to improve range of motion for the joint which in turn helps you moving easier and with less pain.

  • Improved circulation to the area means that the tissues and heal better and quicker and it can help to reduce inflammation.

  • Massage can help with various types of arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is condition in which the body’s immune system targets affected joints which leads to pain and swelling. For people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, it helps to improve circulation throughout the arthritic joints, therefore reducing swelling and improving quality of life.

Word of warning however, massage is not advised on the area during flare up so please always communicate with your therapists.

For osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of the condition, massage can help decrease swelling and pain and improve mobility in the joint. More mobility and better circulation also can help to slow down cartilage degeneration. The condition originally affects the smooth cartilage lining of the joint making movement difficult. This leads to tendons and ligaments having to work harder, leading to swelling and formation of bony spurs called osteophytes. It is therefore very important to keep the joint and surrounding tissues as flexible and mobile as possible.

Regardless of which form of arthritis you or your loved one suffers from, massage helps to relieve pain which is normally the most debilitating symptom of the condition. It helps to relax and soothe the nervous system. Massage, especially one using long and slow strokes, helps to release endorphins which are known as the ‘happy hormones’ and act as the body's natural painkillers.

Since arthritis is an inflammatory condition, reducing stress plays an important role in keeping it under control. Massage won’t combat arthritis but combined with other treatments, diet and stress relief can allow you to live your life to the fullest and enjoy being active as long as possible.

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