January 15, 2016 by Jordan Nunziato
Osteoarthritis is a Very Common Affliction
Osteoarthritis will affect nearly 50 per cent of all people by the age of 85, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Jimmy Gialelis, L.M.T., B.C.T.M.B. and author of 5 Ways Massage Lessens Osteoarthritis Pain and Stiffness published in Massage Magazine, describes osteoarthritis as: “[...]the most common form of arthritis. This condition is typically noninflammatory and usually affects weight-bearing joints such as the hands, knees, hips and spine,” he writes. “Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, meaning it gradually worsens over time. Risk factors to consider with the progression of this condition include prior joint injury, body weight, occupational and recreational demands, genetics, bone malformations and concurrent diseases.”
How Can Massage Help Those Who Suffer From Osteoarthritis?
Gialelis breaks down how massage can help to ease osteoarthritis pain into 5 points:
Better posture. Massage to realign posture will reduce unequal weight distribution throughout the body, which the joints usually receive with unhealthy posture. Joints properly stacked vis-à-vis each other will witness a healthy distribution of body weight and ground reactive force. This will reduce the weight burden load upon each joint.
Joint flexibility. Friction strokes will positively impact joint structures by aiding in the removal of collagenous tissue bound within joint structures. Collagen settles in areas of injury to patch these sites. These patchwork scars contribute to the lack of mobility and stiffness felt by people with osteoarthritis. Proper range of motion can be restored with massage techniques.
Pain management. Classic Swedish massage—effleurage, petrissage and tapotement—reduces pain by directly impacting nerves. Because joint structures have many nerve endings located within and around the local regions, osteoarthritis pain can be managed greatly with massage therapy.
Decreased swelling. Wringing strokes to push extracellular fluid proximally upon a limb can greatly reduce swelling of an affected joint structure. This benefit augments the prior four benefits mentioned and may expedite the body’s healing processes.
Movement re-education. As the massage client begins to experience proper joint mobility, the nervous system will begin re-educating itself via proprioceptive activity. Efficient movement patterns can be restored compared to pre-osteoarthritis patterns.
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