Approximately one in five adults will be told that they have arthritis in their lifetime. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis is the leading cause of disability, reduced quality of life, and high health care costs.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is an umbrella term that unifies diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system. According to the Arthritis Foundation, these conditions can be localized—in one joint or an area of the entire body—or generalized, affecting many joints and organs. Those that are localized can affect soft tissues around the joint and include ailments such as tendinitis and bursitis. Localized conditions that affect one or more joints include osteoarthritis. Generalized conditions include fibromyalgia, gout and lupus.Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting some 21 million Americans.
Types of Arthritis
Arthritis is not a single disease; rather there are many different types. All affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically the joints. They include the following:
Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease in which the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joint deteriorates, causes pain and loss of movement as bone begins to rub against bone. It’s one of the oldest forms of arthritis and is the most prevalent form of it.
Rheumatoid arthritis is mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints. It’s a systemic disease, meaning it can affect other organs of the body, and is chronic. It’s also one of the most serious and disabling types of arthritis.
Gout occurs when needle-shaped monosodium urate crystals build up in joints and tissues, resulting in joint inflammation. It’s one of the most treatable forms of arthritis and can almost always be controlled with medication and changes in diet.
Fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition because it impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain. It affects mostly women, and is characterized by widespread pain that affects the muscles and attachments to the bone.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends massage as an Alternative Therapeutic Treatment for people who have arthritic conditions. Although massage therapy cannot cure or stop the progression of arthritis, it can ease the symptoms associated with inflammation and help improve your quality of life. While the cartilage damage of arthritis cannot be reversed, massage is helpful in reducing muscle spasms and decreasing compression associated with the arthritic joint disorder.
How Massage Therapy Works
Several things happen during massage that provides particular benefit to arthritis pain sufferers:
· Joints are loosened when adhesions in muscles or ligaments are broken up.
· The production of synovial fluid is stimulated, thus providing additional joint cushioning.
· The production of natural pain killing endorphins increases.
· Spasms, which cause muscle pain, are reduced.
Additionally, research shows that massage has overall positive effects on the body:
· Stress hormone production decreases
· Immune function is improved
· Sleep is more continuous
· Blood pressure decreases
· Circulation Increases
· Increased Flexibility and Mobility
· Decreased Pain and Inflammation
· Relief of muscle aches and stiffness
The December 11, 2006, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, reports on a study done by researchers at the Yale Prevention Research Center and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). It was a 16-week clinical trial with 68 participants who have osteoarthritis of the knee, the joint most commonly affected by osteoarthritis. Those in the massage group received a standard one-hour Swedish massage twice a week for four weeks, followed by Swedish massage once a week for the next four weeks. After the eight weeks of massage therapy, participants had improved flexibility, less pain and improved range of motion. It’s the first clinical trial of its kind in this country. And, it validates what many massage therapists have experienced anecdotally.
A study conducted by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine and funded by Biotone looked at 22 adults with wrist/hand arthritis. Those in the massage group received massage on the affected area once a week for four weeks and also did self-massage daily. A cooling massage therapy lubricant was used in the arthritis study. It served as a natural analgesic and stimulant to soothe inflamed and swollen tissue.
The massage therapy group showed lower anxiety and depressed mood scores after the first and last sessions, and by the end of the study reported less pain and greater grip strength. The study also found that patients with arthritis experienced relief when they were massaged.
If you are suffering from arthritis and lack of mobility and you want to take an active role in the control of your pain, please consider therapeutic massage with Rodney and Sandy Hoskins.
The 2 of Us Massage
114 South Main Street
Greensburg, PA 15601