The most common form of arthritis — osteoarthritis — afflicts as many as 27 million Americans. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of Americans will develop osteoarthritis in their knees by the time they turn 85.
Basically, osteoarthritis pain is a problem more and more of us are battling.
While medications can be helpful, there’s a pain relief technique many are neglecting to take advantage of: medical massage. Massage therapy offers pain-relief benefits both in the short term — immediately after a massage — and in the long term, by rewiring the body to slow the development of the disease. Here, we will break down both types of benefits:
Medical massage can instantly reduce pain.
Joint structures like the knees, hips, elbows, and wrists are embedded with nerve endings. By directing impacting local nerve endings, classic massage reduces the patient’s experience of pain.
Medical massage boosts flexibility of joints.
Friction strokes improve the health of joint structure by helping to remove collagenous tissue that has built up within joints. When injury occurs, collagen condenses around the site of the injury, creating a patchwork of stiff, immobile scarring. Massage therapy techniques can aid in alleviating this tissue to restore normal range of motion.
Medical massage can alleviate swelling.
Swelling, a common symptom of osteoarthritis, can be reduced through massage therapy treatments, thanks to wringing strokes that push extracellular fluid proximally upon limbs. This process is also thought to speed the healing process and amplify the benefits listed above.
Medical massage leads to better posture.
When posture is unhealthy, there’s an unequal weight distribution upon the joints, which leads to complaints from the joint receiving the higher load. Massage that aims to realign posture can help redistribute weight over the long term, relieving pain in problem joints.
Medical massage reminds the body how to move properly.
Over time, as the patient experiences normal joint movement and flexibility once again, the nervous system begins to “re-educate” itself to make these more efficient movements feel more normal and effortless.
This pill-free, non-invasive treatment also happens to be easily accessible, with caring massage therapists right here at Lyceum Physical Medicine. If you’re one of the many Americans suffering from osteoarthritis, consult your physician to find out if this treatment could benefit you. We’d love to work with your doctor to point you down the path of relief from daily pain.
Contact us if you want to find out more information about medical massage or the many other integrative medical treatments we provide.