Arthritis is the leading cause of disability, reduced quality of life and high health care costs in the United States. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, typically worsening with age, and are caused by an inflammation of one or more of your joints. Of the 46 million Americans who suffer from arthritis, nearly half say that arthritis limits their normal day-to-day activities.
Most arthritis sufferers may not think of massage when they start to explore alternative therapies to ease pain. Like many other chronic pain clients, those who suffer from arthritis may initially be apprehensive about touch. The biggest fear for most is that they will feel more pain or risk greater inflammation.
Before introducing massage into your routine for arthritis relief, take these key elements into consideration:
Massage brings relief. Arthritic joints will not “heal” completely with massage, but they can feel better. Recent studies on the effects of massage on arthritis symptoms have shown that ongoing massage can lead to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand/grip strength, lower anxiety and overall function of the joints.
Massage is not medicine. It is a complement to your doctor-prescribed arthritis treatment. Massage should make your arthritis pain and stiffness feel better, not worse. You should enjoy experiencing a massage, and it should not increase your pain or anxiety.
Communication is key. Communication with your doctor and massage therapist beforehand can ensure that massage is right for you and will help you achieve beneficial results. If you have arthritis, it is especially important to find a therapist who communicates with you about your symptoms. Tell your therapist you have arthritis, and be as specific as possible as to where your arthritis affects you – for example, your knees, hips or back – so that they can use care when applying massage to those areas, or avoid them all together. This ensures that your therapist properly understands your tolerance level and that you receive a massage that is both relaxing and therapeutic. QCBN
Written by Mark Love.
Mark Love is the owner of Massage Envy Spa Prescott. For more information on the benefits of massage, visit MassageEnvy.com.
For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist, visit massageenvy.com, call 928-778-ENVY (3689), or visit one of Arizona’s 35 Massage Envy Spa locations including. The Prescott location is at 120 E. Sheldon St by the Prescott Albertsons Store.