3 Benefits Of Massage For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Many people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) find even with consistent treatment, they continue to have residual joint problems. Massage is one complementary treatment you should consider integrating into your current treatment regimen.

Relaxation/Stress Reduction

The relaxation and stress reduction benefits associated with massage can temporarily reduce pain. Although having reduced stress is unlikely to make you pain-free, you might notice when you are stressed or anxious, pain becomes worse and harder to control. Whenever possible, try adding massage on a regular basis, especially if your massage therapist offers other stress-reduction techniques, such as listening to music or aromatherapy. Gentle scents, such as lavender or vanilla, are frequently associated with being more relaxed. The act of massage can also loosen tight muscles that surround your joints, thereby making them less painful or help with concurrent problems, such as fibromyalgia or muscle spasms.

Reduced Stiffness

One type of therapeutic massage is manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), which may not be offered by every massage therapist. Since the stiffness associated with RA is attributed to both inflammation and the pooling of lymphatic fluid in inflamed tissues, MLD might help keep the lymphatic fluid moving. There are several variations of MLD with the goal of using gentle pressure to "milk" lymphatic fluid from the lymph nodes and other areas of the body. In addition to reductions in stiffness, you might also notice decreases in swelling as the fluid mobilizes. This type of massage therapy can also be helpful during flares of the disease where joints are especially swollen and painful. Generally, swelling makes the pain worse and anything you can do to reduce swelling can make the joint less painful and more mobile.

Addressing Specific Problems

Although every joint in your body might hurt, you may have one or two areas that are giving you the most trouble. This is the ideal situation for orthopedic massage. Practitioners of orthopedic massage are trained to address common musculoskeletal problems that occur as a result of injury, disease, or surgery. Since the degeneration of the joint caused by RA can lead to other issues, such as nerve impingement and other orthopedic issues, your massage therapist can use various techniques to facilitate more joint mobility and possibly reduce pain. For example, myofascial release is a common technique used in orthopedic massage. The goal of this technique is to make the tissue surrounding muscles (fascia) more pliable.

Massage therapy is one of many complementary therapies you should consider adding to your current treatment for RA. Regular massages may help make pain more manageable and help with mobility. Speak with a therapist at businesses like Massage TJR Spa to learn more.