Are you struggling to get through your day due to chronic pain? You're in good company - about a fifth of adults in America suffered from chronic pain in 2021, according to the CDC. If you have one of these conditions, you may have considered massage therapy before. In fact, one ailment we can treat with massage therapy is osteoarthritis, otherwise known as OA. We'll explain how below.
But first, let's establish some knowledge about the condition itself. According to the Osteoarthritis Foundation, it's a degenerative joint disease that causes the tissue in your joints to break down over time. This causes pain and can lead to inflammation. If it progresses far enough, your bones may rub against each other - ouch! The severity of your pain may vary on a case-by-case basis, but of course, pain is a terrible thing to live with each day.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen and other painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) are effective in reducing pain from OA, but too much of them over long periods of time may damage your kidneys or liver. Fortunately, non-pharmaceutical treatments are very effective. Per the Osteoarthritis Foundation, these include physical therapy, yoga, tai chi - and yes, massage therapy!
A massage done by a skilled therapist who adapts to your body's condition and pain level can reduce your inflammation, anxiety, and ultimately, your pain levels. How? The OA Foundation states that a massage can lower stress hormones like cortisol and increase neurotransmitters like serotonin - that improve your mood. It also reduces a hormone called arginine-vasopressin that may lead to high blood pressure. Finally, it may diminish levels of some cell signals that are linked to inflammation. All these benefits build upon each other to help you feel better and improve your quality of life!
Here at Jade Oasis Wellness, one of our most medically complex clients, Tina (who gave us permission to share her story with others like you) was suffering from arthritis, and between this ailment, her fibromyalgia, and a car accident she experienced, she endured debilitating pain every day. In fact, her pain was at a level of 8-9 out of 10! But our lead massage therapist listened to and accommodated her needs to ensure that her regular sessions had a therapeutic, healing effect. Now, her pain levels have halved, and she feels that the difference in her physical and mental well-being has been life-changing (in her words)! You can read Tina's testimonial here.
Of course, there are some factors that indicate massage therapy might not be a good fit. If your osteoporosis is severe enough to cause brittle bones, or if you have high blood pressure or varicose (swollen) veins, you should ask your doctor if massage therapy is right for you. If you feel pain at any time during the treatment itself, please let your massage therapist know. After all, therapeutic massages are supposed to make you feel better!
If you're suffering from chronic pain, be sure to ask your doctor if treatment via massage is a good option for you. And if you know someone who is, be sure to share this article with them on Facebook so they know the options for improving their symptoms.
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Remember, pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.