Arthritis is classified as a joint disorder in which one or more joints becomes inflamed. This inflammation often results in sharp pain and limited mobility, making it difficult for individuals to perform otherwise normal tasks, such as lifting or gripping objects. If you suffer from arthritis, though, you may find relief in massage therapy. To learn more about this condition and the healing power of massage, keep reading.
You might be surprised to learn that there are more than 100 different forms of arthritis, some of which become progressively worse (degenerative), while others subside over time. Some of the most common forms of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and septic arthritis. While the symptoms and severity vary between the different types, they all share one common characteristic: inflammation of the joints.
Risk factors of arthritis may include one or more of the following:
- Joint injury
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20 million Americans experience severe arthritis on a daily basis, making it the country’s leading cause of disability. Minor cases of arthritis typically don’t pose any significant problem to a worker’s ability to perform his or her job. Severe cases, however, can make it painful, and difficult, for workers to move limbs connected to the affected joints.
But massage therapy may offer relief to millions of American suffering from arthritis. A study conducted by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2006 found that patients suffering from the osteoarthritis of the knee experienced “significant improvement” in pain and function after receiving two deep-tissue Swedish massages per week for two months. Researchers closely monitored two groups of adults suffering from osteoarthritis. The first group received Swedish massages, whereas the second group received no form of treatment. Patients treated with massage therapy saw vast improvements in their pain and mobility.
Another study was conducted in 2006 in which 22 adults with wrist arthritis were treated with massage therapy. Participants were given four massages per week, focusing on their affected wrists. After just three weeks, participants reported reduces pain, increased mobility, and increased grip strength.
Even if you aren’t able to visit a professional massage therapist, you can still perform some light massages on the affected joints and surrounding tissue at home. By kneading and massaging the problematic area, you’ll reduce inflammation while promoting greater mobility.