Massage has been found to do wonders for management of many painful conditions including osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of a disease in which there is degeneration of the joints as an individual age and there is increased usage of the joints for daily functioning. The joints in the body are connected by a smooth fibrous connective tissue named Articular Cartilage. This cartilage encompasses the regions where one bone contacts the other. The Articular Cartilage functions as a shock absorber and helps ion facilitating smooth joint motion. The smooth movement of joint is also facilitated by synovial fluid helping in lubrication. This synovial fluid is produced by synovial membrane which is present in the joint. Osteoarthritis which is also known as degenerative joint disease is a pathological condition in which there is degeneration of this Articular Cartilage. As the disease advances in severity, the cartilage becomes thinner and even wears out totally. The bones also tend to become thick resulting in development of bony spurs. There may also be synovial membrane inflammation. All these factors tend to result in extreme amount of pain and resultant decreased movement of the joints. Osteoarthritis generally occurs in weightbearing joints like the knee or the hip; however, osteoarthritis may affect any joint in the body.
Massage therapy benefits a lot in osteoarthritis in reducing its pain and improving joint mobility. Massage also helps in flushing out the toxins and also gives a feeling of relaxation and an overall sense of well being. Massage is contraindicated in conditions where there is acute pain and swelling or inflammation as it could make the condition worse.
Massage For Osteoarthritic Patients
- The massage therapist will use long strokes, kneading and friction to the surrounding muscle tissue depending on the joint that is affected.
- This technique focuses on improving flexibility and mobility of the joint.
- Using his/her finger tips, the massage therapist will try to feel and decrease the spasm and stiffness of the muscles.
- Other than this, the massage therapist will also concentrate on the myofascial trigger points. These trigger points reveal the source of the radiating pain.
- The massage session usually lasts for about 30 minutes.
- Massage oil, cream or lotion can be applied to the skin in order to reduce friction and for smoother strokes to aid in easy massage.
Benefits of Deep Tissue Massage For Osteoarthritic Patients
Deep tissue massage is one of the best massage techniques in managing that pain from osteoarthritis. It helps in reducing body pain, muscle spasm and tension. It helps in relaxing the muscles and also treats any problems related with ligaments and tendons. Massage prevents retention of water and decreases swelling resulting from accumulation of fluid in the tissues. Other massage techniques such as trigger point massage therapy, Swedish massage, Reiki, Shiatsu and reflexology are also effective in many painful conditions.
Cross Friction Massage For Osteoarthritic Patients
Cross Friction Massage is a type of technique preferred by various therapists since it is quick and pretty easy to do. It helps in escalating blood flow and also facilitates breakdown of cross bridges. As the body starts to repair itself, it forms scar tissue randomly. Muscles have fibers inside them running parallel to each other and sliding past each other upon expansion and contraction of the muscles. Formation of the resulting scar tissue results in formation of 'cross bridges' of scar tissue between the parallel muscle fibers resulting in restricted sliding movement of the fibers. This causes the muscle to become shorter in length and results in pain, stiffness, reduced flexibility, inflammation and increased chances of re-injuries. During cross friction massage for osteoarthritis, you have to work harder across the site perpendicular to the fibers which means across them. This massage helps in pulling the fibers and prevents formation of cross bridges and leaves behind a scar tissue which runs along the direction of the fibers. Cross Friction Massage done for osteoarthritis also helps in breaking down the already formed cross bridges.
Massage is a non-invasive, safe and a natural option for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis. With regular massages, patients can not only find relief from the residual pain caused by osteoarthritis, but also find improvement in mobility and flexibility in the affected joint.