Arthritis is inflammation in a joint. There are about 200 musculoskeletal arthritic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout. Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritic condition in the UK affecting about 8 million people, usually developing in adults over the age of 40. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage lining the affected joint breaks down and puts strain on the ligaments and tendons around it, eventually leading to deformation of the joint.
Arthritis can leave sufferers feeling unable to live life to the full. There is no cure for arthritis, so treatments are aimed at slowing progression of the disease, reducing pain and inflammation and improving range of motion. Conventional treatments include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatoy drugs (NSAIDs)
- Disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Occupational therapy.
Complementary therapies such as massage can also be used in the management of arthritis. According to Arthritis Research UK ‘Massage can reduce your anxiety and stress levels, relieve muscular tension and fatigue, improve circulation and thus reduce your pain levels.’
You may want to consider massage to help you manage your arthritic symptoms if:
- You have persistent pain
- Your symptoms are not fully controlled by medication
- You want a treatment that is more natural than conventional medicine
- You want to feel more in control.
If massage is helping your condition, you should notice any or all of the following:
- Improved joint mobility
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved muscle strength
- Pain reduction
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- A greater sense of well being.
Other ways to help yourself to feel better are:
- Avoiding activities that put strain on your affected joints or doing things differently to avoid the strain (click here for more information from Arthritis Research UK)
- Using aids (e.g. lever taps, electronic kitchen gadgets, grab rails)
- Regular gentle exercise (click here for more information from Arthritis Care)
- A healthy diet (click here for more information from NHS Choices)
- Rest and good sleep hygiene.
As a therapist, I cannot cure arthritis, but I can provide complementary support and help you to manage your symptoms. If you would like to book a free 20-minute consultation with me to discuss using massage for an arthritic condition, call me on 07528 708 650 or email email@example.com or through the contact page of my website.