Osteoarthritis is a challenging condition that often prevents people from enjoying many of the activities they love. The good news is massage therapy may help.
Most of us will suffer from osteoarthritis at some point in our lives. As we age our connective tissue has a more difficult time keeping our joints safe. The surfaces that are usually held apart by the connective tissue and other structures begin to touch. The joints contact stimulates bony bumps and spurs to grow. These now rough surfaces that used to be smooth can further damage other parts of the joint. In some cases the trauma of the joint surfaces touching, grinding and bumping each other can lead to joint fusion. Fusion means little to no movement at all.
The key to keeping your joints healthy is making sure the connective tissue provides enough support to keep the joint surfaces from bumping into each other. Strong balanced muscle attachments are essential for joint health. A balanced joint has flexible yet strong muscle and connective tissue attachments. The balance insures strong support for the joint while you are still but also the ability to move without damage or restriction.
Massage therapy and range of motion therapy can help create flexibility in areas around the joint that have become stuck. Stuck areas do not allow for the joint to move well and can further cause damage. Massage therapy around a joint may also help with local blood flow. Blood flow is essential to healing injuries to the soft tissue around the joint.
Gentle controlled range of motion by a trained therapist can also help to increase flexibility of the connective tissue around the joint. It also helps to gently move the joint in order to circulate the fluid within the joint. The fluid in synovial joints can not circulate without movement. The circulation of this fluid is essential to the health of the joint. The fluid brings in nutrients and flushes out waste.
Osteoarthritis is certainly a challenge but you are not without hope. Massage therapy, range of motion therapy and strategic stretching and strengthening can help restore health to an irritated arthritic joint. As always I appreciate that you took the time to read this and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions that might pop up.
Take care and keep moving.