Multiple sclerosis is a condition where there is inflammation of the myelin tissue covering the nerves. This inflammation varies; it may worsen and then gradually subside. After the inflammatory response, there is formation of scar tissue which hinders the neurological function of the patient. The spinal cord, brain stem and cranial nerves are commonly affected.
Massage therapy is very beneficial in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. Massage therapy helps in reducing stress and alleviates the symptoms of MS such as pain and loss of function.
Massage Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- The massage therapy done in MS patients depends upon the intensity of the disease and its stage. Massage therapy should be avoided in the acute stage where there is exacerbation of the MS, as it aggravates the pain and discomfort.
- Deep tissue massage does wonders in relaxing the tense and knotted muscles and helps in decreasing the pain.
- Trigger point therapy is also beneficial in MS.
- Swedish massage therapy comprises of gentle massage and is advised in the initial or acute stage, as even slight pressure causes pain to the patient.
Benefits of Massage Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
The biggest problem which the patients suffering from MS face is muscle and joint stiffness. This greatly restricts their functionality and mobility. Massage therapy helps by stimulating the blood flow to these body parts which in turn speeds up the healing process and increases flexibility. Massage therapy also helps in arresting the onslaught of the disease and improves the prognosis. In serious cases, weakness of the muscles can also cause atrophy which further leads to deterioration in the patient’s condition. In such a case, massage therapy helps in increasing the blood flow and oxygenation to affected muscles and also helps in regaining health and energy.
Some Of The Benefits Of Massage Therapy In Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Are
- Pain Reduction- Majority of the patients suffering from multiple sclerosis experience pain as their sensory nerves are affected in this disorder. Patients suffer from facial pain, burning sensation in the limbs etc. all these pains affect the patient’s functionality. Massage therapy benefits this pain by alleviating it. During the massage, the massage therapist applies pressure on the painful areas which leads to reduction in the pain.
- Improved Flexibility- Multiple sclerosis causes joint and muscle stiffness which impairs a patient’s movements. MS causes various muscle problems including muscle spasm, difficulty in walking and decreased balance and coordination. Multiple sclerosis also affects the patient’s ability to move their arms and their fine motor movements such as lifting small objects using their hands. Patients also suffer from weakness and tremors in their arms and legs. Massage therapy helps the patients having all these problems. Massaging the legs helps in reducing the spasticity where the muscles contract and become tense. Massage therapy also greatly improves flexibility and mobility.
- Stress Reduction- Keeping stress at bay is a part of multiple sclerosis treatment, as stress tends to worsen or trigger the MS symptoms. Patients having remission without any symptoms if become stressed, then their multiple sclerosis symptoms may start again. Massage therapy helps in reducing the stress in the patients with multiple sclerosis and helps the patients in relaxing. Other than the physical soothing effect of a massage, the atmosphere of a massage session also helps in alleviating stress, e.g. if soothing music is played during a massage therapy session then it results in the patient feeling more relaxed and calm.