Best Massage Techniques For Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can come and go, and each person with RA is affected differently. Some people have long periods of remission. Their rheumatoid arthritis is inactive, and they have few or no symptoms during this time. Other people might have near-constant rheumatoid arthritis symptoms for months at a stretch
Various cultures have practiced massage for centuries, to promote relaxation, relieve tension, muscle aches, and pain. Massage therapy is highly beneficial for rheumatoid arthritis. Its repetitive and methodical approach is effective in loosening muscles and restoring flexibility. Studies have proven increased blood and lymph circulation, pain reduction, and enhanced mobility after undergoing massage therapy. A study conducted at Harvard University substantial improvement in function and mobility in the treatment group. By measuring grip strength before and after treatment, the scientists were able to determine the level of improvement.
The gentle circular motion of massage enhances oxygen flow, aids the transport of nutrients, and removes toxins from surrounding tissues of affected joints. During the inflammatory stage of arthritis, massage therapy is not recommended. Although, during remission, therapeutic massage can effectively prevent inflammation and manage symptoms.
Take An Epsom Salt Bath
What you do right after your massage can be just as important as the massage itself. Many therapists recommend that you take a warm bath with Epsom salts at home after the massage, Vickman says. The heat and magnesium may help keep your muscles loose and limber and will help you stay in a relaxed state.
Finding A Massage Therapist
Because of the unique needs associated with your RA, make sure you find an experienced massage therapist. Ask your medical team for referrals, talk to a physical therapist, or do a search on the American Massage Therapy Association website. Make sure you have a thorough discussion with the massage therapist before treatment to make sure that they are aware of what they need to do and not do with RA. This discussion should also include details about your medical history and current condition.
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Benefits Of Hand Massage For Arthritis
For many of us, getting a massage can seem like a luxury reserved for special occasions.However, for those with hand pain , regular hand massage has been proven to decrease anxiety, improve strength and reduce pain.
Research conducted at the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that a combination of hand massage from a therapist and selfhand massage is likely to be effective in the easing of hand pain caused by arthritis and other conditions. The study analyzed adults who received a massage on their affected hand by a therapist once a week and also performed self- hand massage daily. Results showed that the combination of massages could possibly reduce hand pain up to 57 percent.
With results like that, its no wonder so many people have begun to understand the importance of making massage part of their everyday journey to better health. And while in the past, massage may have been seen as an infrequent luxury, businesses such as Massage Envy have established themselves around the idea of making massage accessible and convenient for everyone. For those with painful arthritis in their hands, coupling regular massage therapy with self-massage will have an even greater impact. Massage therapists are trained experts in addressing pain brought on by various physical conditions and their work can provide daily relief from the discomfort and lack of mobility brought on by arthritis.
Tips for Self-Hand Massage
Other Benefits of Hand Massage
Do Any Treatments For Rheumatoid Arthritis Work
First, clinicians often use treatments that slow down the RA progression to the point where such progression is almost stopped and to prevent remission. In 2010, a task force of rheumatologists, other clinicians, and patients recommended such treat-to-target approach.
The task force was also updated in 2014, providing a more inclusive and holistic approach to patient care. This includes elements of narrative medicine, such as treating RA based on a shared decision between patient and rheumatologist, and the physician should involve the patient in setting the treatment target and the strategy to reach this target.
In other words, patients should have a say in what and how they should be treated.
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How To Manage Rheumatoid Arthritis
If you have rheumatoid arthritis of the hand, medication, rest, and exercise are essential in managing the symptoms. You should also avoid trigger foods such as processed and red meat, dairy products, artificial sugar, gluten, MSG, and fatty and oily foods. These foods stimulate the bodys inflammatory process, making the symptoms of RA worse.
Doctors may also recommend that you work with an occupational therapist to help you manage the symptoms and regain the functions of your hands and fingers. In fact, experts say that you must consult an occupational therapist as soon as you get a diagnosis. The sooner you do this, the sooner you will see improvement.
When You Go For Your Massage Treatment
Explain your pain. Be specific about the joints that hurt and how much they hurt. For example, even though moderate-pressure massage is helpful, Millar warned that deep pressure or high heat applied to joints that are actively inflamed could actually make pain and swelling worse. Be sure to tell your masseuse if you feel pain at any time during the massage.
Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration. Dr. Davis explained that massage with any degree of pressure will affect the water flow in your body and will be more effective if you are well-hydrated. We recommend drinking half your weight in ounces of water, she said. So if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of water daily to avoid dehydration.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis In A Nutshell
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the bodys immune system itself is the one attacking the joints. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis of the hand may often experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness of the hands and fingers. Sometimes, this discomfort last for hours and days which could affect how they do their daily activities.
Hands On Therapy The Best Occupational Therapy Clinic In Miami
The occupational treatment provided at our clinic in Miami leads to pain relief, shorter treatment duration, improved treatment results and decreased indirect expenses resulting from the injury.
We also provide hand therapy for various hand-related conditions, physical therapy, and massage therapy. Our Miami clinic offers an open and friendly environment where you will feel comfortable being treated by an OT/CHT in a one-on-one setting. For inquiries, Contact Us.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.
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How Does Cold And Heat Therapy Help Arthritis
Many of the best hand massagers for arthritis include heat, but some also include cold therapy. Each trigger the bodys natural healing response, according to WebMD. Heat therapy stimulates blood circulation, reduces muscle spasms, and lowers blood pressure.
One of my favorite devices is the CINCOM Rechargeable Hand Massager. It has deep infrared heat that thaws numb hands, and multiple massage heads. The Lunix LX3 Cordless Electric Hand Massager is another great option. It vibrates, gives six levels of pressure, and is basically a portable masseuse.
Cold therapy is good for reducing swelling. It lowers blood pressure and dulls pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic. If you want a treatment that offers both therapies, grab the HoMedics Dual Temp Handheld Percussion Massager. It deeply kneads muscles and has both cool and heat settings.
Make A Few Wardrobe Changes
Minor changes to your wardrobe can reduce strain on your hands, helping to ease your overall pain and stiffness. For example, try wearing:
- Shoes that slip on or use Velcro rather than shoelaces
- Shirts that pull over the head rather than button up
- Pants that have elastic waistbands rather than snaps and zippers
Other lifestyle changes can also be helpful. For example, when cooking, use a jar opener, lightweight pots and pans, and kitchen utensils with large handles. An occupational therapist can give you additional ideas on how to reduce strain on hand joints.
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You Might Feel Worse Before You Feel Better
On a cellular level, massage is similar to exercise in the response it provokes in your body, which can lead to some temporary pain and soreness afterwards, Rose says. As the Cleveland Clinic explains, massage forces blood into the muscle, bringing nutrients and removing toxins. This process can temporarily increase inflammation to areas that the body feels need attention and this inflammation can bring discomfort. You dont have to be sore for it to be an effective massage but if you are a little sore the next day, its usually nothing to worry about, she says.
Types Of Massage That Help With Arthritis
Left untreated arthritis can be a debilitating condition. However, thanks to the miracle of modern massage therapy, managing the ailment is easier than ever. The types of therapeutic massage that have proven effective in treating arthritic disorders are:
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The Main Benefits Of Massage For Arthritis Include:
Pain relief: As pain is the most debilitating symptom, the main purpose of massage is usually to bring as much relief as possible. By soothing the nervous system, it helps to switch off pain signals, giving your body chance to relax and calm. Massage for arthritis also encourages the release of happy hormones called endorphins which are bodys natural painkillers. Most sufferers admit that having massage brings an instant pain relief and helps them refocus their mind away from the discomfort.
Enhanced circulation: Another important benefit of regular massage for arthritis is an increase in blood flow and improvement of circulation. By clearing the affected tissue of by-products caused by arthritis, it has a positive effect on releasing swelling and slowing down the inflammation. A boost of the blood flow also supplies the joints and muscles with necessary nutrients and oxygen. Regular massage sessions can improve the lubrication that your body produces. All of these ensure that the joints can move more freely and smoothly.
Increased mobility: Exercising can be very painful for those who suffer from arthritis. However, staying active is an important part of slowing down the arthritic degeneration. Massage helps to relax muscles and sooth the joints. This releases a lot of discomfort and encourages you to stay as active as possible.
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Glide And Shear Moves For Ra Hand Pain Relief
1. Place a soft ball on a flat, hard surface such as a table.
2. Sit in front of the table, making sure your shoulders are completely relaxed throughout the entire move.
3. Using your right hand, glide the ball from point 3 to point 5 in a back-and-forth gliding motion, using light to moderate pressure.
4. Keep the tip of your middle finger on the table throughout the move and make sure your hand is open.
5. Continue as you breathe in for 3 to 4 deep breaths.
6. Switch hands and repeat.
Note: Make sure that the ball does not move outside the point 3 to point 5 range if the ball goes too high or too low, it can irritate the fingers or wrist . If necessary, you can use your other hand to help control the ball.
1. Place a soft ball on a flat, hard surface such as a table.
2. Sit in front of the table, making sure your shoulders are completely relaxed throughout the entire move.
3. Using your right hand, make small circles under point 3, the thumb pad, for 3 to 4 deep breaths. Move slowly and apply a light to moderate pressure.
Note: Make sure that the ball doesn’t move outside the point ranges.
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How Can Massage For Arthritis Help
Massage is an effective way to relieve the pain caused by arthritis and it can help sufferers to lead a normal lifestyle. Massage can help the body to combat both muscle tension and pain. Poor circulation can also be improved with regular therapeutic massage. Stiff and painful joints can become looser and pain-free.
Can massage help arthritis? There are four primary benefits to using massage to combat arthritis, including:
To find out more and book a treatment, please call us on 020 8166 8958
Try Massages With Different Tools
Heat therapy helps soothe stiffness and pain in arthritic joints so incorporating it into your massage is a great way to increase the benefits of both, Vickman says. This usually involves the therapist heating smooth stones, about the size of the palm of your hand, to 110 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and then placing them in specific locations on your back where you hold tension. The stones are not hot enough to burn you and the localized heat can help open up your blood vessels in that area, allowing your massage therapist to better work those muscles without causing pain, she says.
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Reach Out To Clients With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Along these same lines, you might think about reaching out to any pain management clinics in your area, or connect with an integrative health facility.
Additionally, Saldano suggests putting together an educational seminar you can present at local retirement or senior centers. Doing talks at senior centers about the benefits of massage is another way to educate them about alternatives to medications and introduce them to massage therapy, she says.
Dont overpromise, and show compassion. Especially when working with people in pain, paying close attention to how you describe your work is imperative.
So when developing marketing materials and talking to potential clients who have arthritis, make sure you are very clear about what they can expect. You cant make claims about a cure or permanent relief, Hess explains. Instead, talk about pain management and improved quality of life.
Compassion, too, will go a long way in helping you connect with these clients. People who have conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia can become pessimistic from the constant pain they endure, especially when these patients are relatively young, Benitez says. Giving them time where they are comforted physically is encouraging to them.
Diy Tips And Pointers For Self
Self-massage also can help relieve pain and improve movement, whether done alone or in between massage therapy sessions, says Bob McAtee, CSCS, licensed massage therapist and owner of Pro-Active Massage Therapy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, who offers these suggestions:
- Moderate pressure is more effective than light. However, dont push too deep. Stop or lighten up if it feels painful, to avoid irritating inflamed joints.
- Use longer strokes rather than short pinpoint pressure. Your aim is to mobilize tissue and warm up the whole area, as opposed to specific pressure against certain joints.
- If needed, just a little direct moderate pressure at the end of the self-massage after tissue is warmed up can be helpful. Do only 15 to 30 seconds at a time on a hot spot, as long as it isnt painful. You should be comfortable at all times.
- Massage only for more than 5 to 10 minutes total at any given time on any given spot.
- If RA in hands and fingers make massage difficult, place one hand palm up on thigh and use your forearm to massage the palm. Flip your palm down and massage the back with your forearm. You can also use a handheld portable massager for other areas.
- Gently warm up the area with topical analgesics.
- In general, the best times to massage are in the morning, when you wake up feeling stiff, and in the evening, to encourage comfortable sleep.
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Know When Its Time To Refer Out
Most, if not all, of these clients are going to be working with other health care providers, so you need a good understanding of other treatments theyre using. Again, know what medications theyre using, as well as if they see a physical therapist, for example.
Additionally, you have to be aware of when its time to refer to a specialist. Perhaps its another massage therapist who you know has additional education in helping people with arthritis.
Or, maybe you need them to get a referral from their rheumatologist before a massage therapy session because youve noticed swelling or joint pain that wasnt present before. Whatever the case, knowing when you need to involve other health care providers is crucial.
What Is The Best Massage Technique For Rheumatoid Arthritis
The benefits of massage affect people differently. There is no one type or method of massage best for everyone. Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers can benefit from several different types of massage. The depth of the massage, amount of pressure, and style are unique to each massage.
Massage techniques are designed to correct or improve conditions and well-being. There are 100 or more different types of massage methods, and a few popular ones practiced in the U.S. are:Swedish massage A variety of strokes and pressure to improve blood flow to the heart. Enhances oxygen absorption in the body removes toxins from tissues and muscles stretches tendons and ligaments ensuring pliability. An enjoyable way to reduce stress.
Deep tissue massageThe goal of this technique is to reduce soreness deep within muscle tissue. Muscle stress can block nutrients and oxygen, causing toxic build-up resulting in inflammation. Deep tissue massage loosens muscle, stimulating the release of toxins. This will promote blood and oxygen circulation. Deep tissue massage is recommended for people with constant pain and who suffer from musculoskeletal disorders. It involves the superficial and deep layers of muscle.
Shiatsu A Japanese technique involving gentle finger, hand, and palm pressure to specific areas of the body to relieve pain. These areas are the energy pathways or meridians and once opened, blood and oxygen flow increases.
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