How to Help Arthritis Using Massage Therapy
It’s normal to shy away from touch when you’re used to being sore. We’re here to tell you this can change. You can start by considering having a massage for arthritis treatments from a registered massage therapist (RMT). This can be a great, short-term, drug-free solution to help relieve arthritis and painful stiffness symptoms while allowing you to continue to move your body. Let’s explore the most common types of arthritis pain and the most common types of massage for arthritis to help start your arthritis treatment plan.
Understanding Different Types of Arthritis Pain
There are numerous types of arthritis pain, with some of the most common ones explored in the following text. Arthritis can take on various forms, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout, each with its own distinct characteristics. These conditions can cause joint discomfort, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Gaining insight into these prevalent arthritis types is essential for effective management and treatment.
Understand the Science Behind the Relief
“What can be done for arthritis in the back” and “How to help arthritis pain” are two common questions we frequently receive. A registered massage therapist may help relieve arthritic pain and increase muscle, joint, and tendon flexibility. Massages reduce inflammation and relieve pain linked with arthritis by increasing circulation and reducing muscular tightness. This means you’ll have increased blood flow to arthritic joints, better mobility, and less discomfort.
Massages involve pressure and stimulation on soft tissue to assist against the release of muscular tension, resulting in increased flexibility and pain reduction. Many individuals living with arthritis can confirm that less pain and more flexibility can help keep you moving, breaking the pattern of being uncomfortable, stiff, and inactive.
Different Benefits for Different Symptoms
Massages can assist with various types of arthritis in different ways. A massage, for example, helps enhance healthy circulation throughout the arthritic joints, lowering swelling and enhancing the quality of life especially if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
However, massages on the afflicted joints should be avoided during an RA flare up to avoid further irritation and pain. Furthermore, a massage can assist with osteoarthritis by reducing swelling and discomfort, improving joint mobility, and relieving tension and stress.
Types of Massage
Before committing to any type of massage therapy, consult with your doctor or physiotherapist to make sure arthritis massage therapy is right for you and that it’s safe if you have any other health concerns. It’s also important to inform your massage therapist that you have arthritis, prior to your massage, and specifically point out the particular affected joints.
What to Expect During Massage
If you have never experienced massage therapy before, you may be wondering what exactly should I expect? At your first massage therapy session, your massage therapist will ask you about your current levels of discomfort and where the pain is located. They will also inquire about your medical history. The massage therapist will perform rudimentary tests to confirm their initial clinical impression of what may be at the root of the problem, and answer whether massage is good for your arthritis.
Moreover, the practitioner will discuss what you can expect to achieve from the current massage session and what the additional follow-up visits will look like moving forward.
After discussing the aforementioned information, the massage begins, and depending on the problem being treated, the type of massage and the body part being massaged will vary. You may be asked to lay in a certain position, remove clothing, or prepare for oil or lotion application.
Throughout the session, the therapist will ask if the pressure applied is too little or too much and will adjust accordingly based on your level of comfort and sensitivity. A massage session can be as short as 30 minutes, and as thorough as 90 minutes, depending on the severity of your situation.
Preparing for Arthritis Massage
Practicing self-massage therapy on a regular basis will help you prepare for arthritis massage done by a professional. It will improve your overall comfort and sensitivity levels and increase the range of motion in arthritic joints. Self-massage therapy can be performed by starting with large, vigorous strokes to help prepare the muscles by warming them up, then targeting specific areas with smaller, precise strokes.
Applying lotion or oil directly to the skin makes gliding or sliding strokes easier to execute and applying heat prior to self-massage can help your muscles feel better as you work with them because they will be relaxed. Even if you regularly receive massage therapy from a professional, self-massaging between those sessions will certainly help extend the benefits of your massage.
Post Massage Care
What you do after your massage is an integral part of your overall massage experience. Your post-treatment care determines how long your state of relaxation will last and what you get out of each session. Some of the most effective post-massage practices include simply drinking water, eating, and resting. This allows your body a chance to rehydrate, refuel, repair, and recover.
Stretching, hydrotherapy, and taking a bath are also effective practices to consider after a massage. Stretching works to improve muscle recovery and realigns your muscle fibers, hydrotherapy helps prompt a deeper night’s sleep, prolongs your sense of relaxation, and encourages greater muscle recovery, and having a bath, particularly with Epsom salts added, will open up your blood vessels, help heal any aches and pains, increase circulation, and encourage rest!
Consult the Experts
To find out if massage treatments is the appropriate route and suitable for the type of arthritis you have, it is best to consult your doctor or rheumatologist. Consulting with the experts allows you to ask specific questions based on your situation such as “How to help arthritis in hands” and “How to get rid of arthritis” or “What type of massage for arthritis is best.” At your first massage session complete your health history form, which you and your RMT will review so they can build an effective treatment plan. Some massages, such as full body massage or deep tissue massage for your arthritic joint during a flare-up, may not be suitable for you. Your medical team can assist you in determining the best course of action for you. If you have an employer-sponsored health-benefit plan, your massage may be covered in part or whole, so verify with your insurance and save your receipt.
Our registered massage therapists at Knead Wellness have years of experience under their belt and have seen a variety of cases to understand every unique situation- from rheumatoid arthritis back pain to a massage for knee arthritis.