PAIN RELIEF FOR OSTEOARTHRITIS
Many people suffer with pain and symptoms of osteoarthritis and some would say it’s just a process of aging. While there is not a “cure” for osteoarthritis, its symptoms and pain can be managed and progression can be slowed down. The purpose of treating osteoarthritis as early as possible is to decrease joint pain and stiffness, improve mobility and the quality of life.
Treatments for people with osteoarthritis include:
This article will deal with massage therapy treatment options and how and why they work.
Different things can cause pain and decrease range of motion and mobility in people with osteoarthritis. There are changes in body structures that occur such as the subchondral bone layer, the joint capsule, joint margins, synovium (the smooth lining of joints) tendons (connect muscle to bone), ligaments (connect bone to bone) and bursa (sacs that help muscles and tendons glide over bones.)
When in pain, we often change and/or limit our patterns of movement that can then lead to additional issues. For example, changes in gait can lead to problems, including postural issues, uneven muscle strength, injuries to other parts of the body and increased issues with balance and subsequent fall injuries.
Studies and clinical research have shown that massage does help reduce pain and improve function for those with osteoarthritis. One study on the benefits of massage therapy focused on the optimal dose of massage for osteoarthritis of the knee. This study was published in the journal PLUS One. The study spanned 24 weeks and found that pain intensity was reduced mostly in the participants receiving a once a week 60-minute massage.
Many people with osteoarthritis of the spine, hip and knee will also experience low back pain, either from the arthritis itself or from a modified gait or other forms of compensatory movement to avoid pain. There are quite a few studies that show that massage is an effective treatment for back and neck pain in and of itself, and that the pain relief can last for months.
One other benefit of massage therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis is that it is a nonpharmacologic treatment. As such, it does not interfere with other medications or have any of the harmful side effects that many drugs have. It may even reduce the need or dosage for other pain relieving medications. In addition, it can reduce stress in general and improve sleep quality by increasing comfort levels.