Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis
Massage therapy has been found to be very effective for pain management in patients with osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of a disease in which the joints degenerate as an individual ages.
Within the joints in the body, a smooth fibrous connective tissue called Articular Cartilage covers the ends of the bones where one bone contacts another. This cartilage absorbs shock and helps facilitate smooth motion. Joints are also lubricated by synovial fluid, produced by the synovial membrane within the joint.
When a patient has osteoarthritis, Articular Cartilage breaks down. As the disease advances in severity, the cartilage becomes thinner and may even wear out completely. Bony spurs may also develop, where the bones become thicker. Inflammation of the synovial membrane may also occur. These factors combine to result in extreme amounts of pain, along with decreased mobility in the joints. Joints most often affected by osteoarthritis are weight-bearing ones, such as the knee and hip. Any joint in the body, however, can be affected by osteoarthritis.
Massage therapy benefits osteoarthritis by reducing pain and improving joint mobility. It can prevent water retention and decrease swelling. Massage is one of the best techniques in managing the pain from osteoarthritis, helping to reducing body pain, muscle spasms and tension. Massage therapy relaxes the muscles and also treats any problems related with the ligaments and tendons. Massage also helps to flush out toxins, leaving a patient feeling an overall sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
Massage is not recommended in cases where there is acute pain and swelling or inflammation as it could make the condition worse.