Understand Arthritis - How can you relieve the symptoms with massage?


What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a broad term for pain and inflammation of a joint that affects the musculoskeletal system, specifically joints where two or more bones meet. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis.  The most common forms are: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Gout, and Ankylosing Spondylitis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is also called ‘wear and tear arthritis’ because it is apparently a normal consequence of years of wear on the joints. As the joints age, the articular cartilage softens and degenerates. As the cartilage becomes roughened by wear, joint movement may be accompanied by crunching or crackling sounds called crepitus. OA affects the fingers, intervertebral joints, hips and knees. In Australia, one in six people have Arthritis – however it is not limited to older people; children and young people can also get it.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which is far more severe than Osteoarthritis, results from an autoimmune attack against the joint tissues. It affects women far more often than men. When you have an autoimmune disease, your immune system starts attacking your own healthy tissues. In the case of RA, your immune system targets the lining of the joints, causing inflammation and joint damage. RA symptoms tend to flare up and subside (go into remission) periodically.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Arthritis affects people in different ways, but the most common signs and symptoms are:

  • Pain

  • Stiffness or reduced movement of a joint

  • Joint swelling

  • Redness and warmth in a joint

When you have arthritis, joint pain and weakness often interfere with being able to complete your normal activities of daily living, with some tasks causing some degree of pain, whilst other tasks may become impossible. Activities of daily living include things like getting dressed, combing your hair, eating, bathing, or cooking a meal.  In order to protect your joints from further damage, there are several things that you can do to make your day-to-day tasks easier. It is important to remember not to over-do things on your ‘good’ days, as it could result in pain and fatigue in the following days.

What can you do about it?

  1. Planning – balance rest and activity
    This involves planning the tasks that need to be done, and spreading them out over a longer period of time. For example, if needing to sweep the floor, only complete the kitchen today, and then the dining room tomorrow. Ask for assistance with larger, heavier tasks.

  2. Using the right equipment
    Using adaptive equipment can assist in reducing the pain and fatigue that are often present with arthritis. For example, having larger handles on your cutlery can reduce the grip strength needed for holding these items when eating.

  3. Using efficient techniques and body positioning
    Avoid unnecessary stress on your muscles and joints when performing tasks. For example, when holding an object, hold it with two hands rather than grasping it with one hand so that you spread the load over a larger portion of your body.

  4. Relaxing massage techniques specific to Arthritis
    Relieve the symptoms and inflammatory load of your painful joints with gentle lymphatic and relaxation massage techniques by a trained professional

If you require further information about Arthritis, please have a look at the Arthritis Australia website https://arthritisaustralia.com.au/. Additionally, to make your activities of daily living easier, speak with your therapist who will be able to recommend other ways of managing your condition.

Do you think you might be suffering from Arthritis?

We understand how much discomfort this may cause, and that's why we offer a range of treatments to help treat arthritis for you or a loved one. Simply get in touch below to ask us any questions and see how we might be able to help you