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If you’ve ever suffered from osteoarthritis, then you’ll know how painful it can be. When it comes to deciding whether getting a massage would help treat the condition for you, it helps to have the full picture. In this blog, we’ll explain what osteoarthritis is and ways in which a massage may be beneficial. 

What is Osteoarthritis? 

Osteoarthritis (OA) is where a joint or joints become inflamed and painful. This is due to the degeneration of the healthy cartilage that surrounds the joints. 10% of adults in the UK have been clinically diagnosed with osteoarthritis. 
The knee joint is the most common joint that’s affected by it, and this is evident globally. Other joints commonly affected include the hip, wrist, hand, ankle, and foot. 
Osteoarthritis is an age-related disease, which means that the risk increases as we get older (another con of getting old!). Therefore, as the life expectancy is ever increasing, it will also mean the prevalence of OA will, too. 
There are, however, other factors which affect the likelihood of having OA. These include: 
• Gender (females tend to be more likely to develop OA than males) 
• Genetic factors 
• Weight 
• Previous injury 
• Muscular imbalances 
The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are a persistent pain, swelling of the joint/joints, tenderness, and stiffness. 

Can a massage help? 

Massage can help by reducing the inflammatory response and therefore relieving the pain. Sometimes, in severe cases, medication will be needed alongside massage. 
Research has shown that massages can reduce the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, and therefore help to boost the production of the mood enhancing hormone, serotonin. 
Chronic OA responds well to massage, as the muscles around the joints start to relax. This therefore alleviates stiffness, allowing the joints to move in a better range of motion. By increasing relaxation and decreasing stress, massage is likely to lead to a reduction in pain. 
If you do suffer from OA, consult your doctor or rheumatologist before booking in to make sure that massage is the right step for you. If your doctor or rheumatologist is confident that massage would be a good option for you, please contact us to arrange an appointment or book online. 
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