We’ve all heard of Osteoarthritis or OA for short but what can be done to help those who suffer and can massage be one part of the treatment approach?
What is OA?
Osteoarthritis is where a joint / joints become painful and inflamed due to the degeneration of healthy cartilage. OA is the most common type of arthritis with over 1 million adults in the UK consulting their GP each year with symptoms, according to The Royal College of General Practitioners estimates in 2006.
Clients who suffer from osteoarthritis say they feel persistent, deep pain and stiffness around at least one joint every day. Pain is exacerbated when a joint is not properly warmed up or has been overused.
Weight-bearing joints such as the knees and hips are most affected, but osteoarthritis may also be found among the distal joints of the fingers, wrists; neck and ankles.
The pain can be debilitating if it occurs in the knees or hips as these joint are weight bearing and essential to everyday movements such as walking.
We can’t stop the aging process and with it comes degenerative diseases such as OA although how much we suffer or not can be down to genetics,. Being over-weight stresses the joints causing inflammation along with hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress or an inflammatory diet.
Another factor can be muscular imbalance caused by prolonged sitting or repetitive movements that pull a joint out of alignment prematurely damaging the cartilage.
What can massage do?
Alongside medication for severe cases, massage can help relieve pain and reduce inflammatory responses. A research study done in 2010 by University of California showed that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improves sleep as a result.
Working on muscular balance through massage and exercise therapy is key to relieving pain longer term and encouraging joint alignment. On the initial consultation we will go through all your pain symptoms and work out a plan that will be right for you. We are trained to look for what we call ‘contra-indications’ which means we will know if massage will be beneficial to you.
Chronic osteoarthritis responds well to massage as pain is relieved as the muscles surrounding the joints relax, releasing stiffness and allowing for better range of motion and mobility. Increased relaxation, decreased stress, and a sense of well-being are additional benefits of massage therapy.
If you do suffer with severe OA it might be an idea to consult your doctor or rheumatologist before booking a massage.
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