Osteoarthritis Pain Management: How Therapeutic Massage Helps

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Over 15 million adults in the United States use therapeutic massage as a complementary treatment for various health conditions, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH). It is also a treatment that people who suffer from osteoarthritis can use, says the Arthritis Foundation (AF).

Osteoarthritis occurs when wear and tear naturally breaks down the cartilage cushions of the joints, leading to joint stiffness and pain. The AF states that when performed by a qualified massage therapist, therapeutic massage could be an extremely valuable and effective addition to more traditional treatments for osteoarthritis.

What Exactly Is Therapeutic Massage?

Therapeutic massage in Salt Lake City involves relaxing soft tissues and muscles to warm and boost the oxygen and blood being sent to the area being massaged, and ultimately ease the pain. The most popularly used types of massages for osteoarthritis are the following.

  • Deep Tissue Massage – The therapist utilizes deep finger pressure that focuses on knotted or tight muscles.
  • Swedish Massage – The therapist focuses on long strokes, friction and kneading on affected muscles. Joints are also moved to stimulate flexibility.
  • Shiatsu – The therapist applies rhythmic pressure to body parts connected to the “Qi” or vital energy.
  • Trigger Point Massage – The therapist focuses on placing pressure on your myofascial trigger points, which are sources of pain that is commonly described as radiating.

What to Expect During a Therapeutic Massage Session?

Massage Therapy

In general, massage therapists use fingers and hands, but some also use elbows, forearms or their feet for manipulating the targeted soft tissues and muscles. Depending on the type of massage, a session could last between 30 and 60 minutes.

Likewise, depending on the specific area of the muscles that need to be massaged, you might need to lie down on a massage table or simply sit in a comfortable chair. The therapist might also use powder or oil to enable their hands to glide seamlessly over your body.

Proceed with Caution

There are certain precautions you need to take before scheduling a therapeutic massage session. While the risks are rare, certain people should not get massage therapy. These are people who have blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), osteoporosis, damaged blood vessels, cancer, recent fracture, fever, open wounds, damaged nerves, tumors, those taking blood-thinning medications, as well as those with inflammation or infection in the area that needs massaging.

In addition, massage therapists recommend that you consult your doctor first if you have heart issues or cancer. You should also do so if you are pregnant, have extremely sensitive skin, or a history of physical abuse.

Because of the popularity of therapeutic massage, it is vital that you check the credentials of your potential massage therapist because not all therapists are board-certified, licensed and trained in pain management techniques. This is extremely crucial when you have osteoarthritis.

Likewise, keep in mind that you should not substitute therapeutic massage for actual medical treatment. And before you book a massage therapy session, make sure to consult with your doctor first.

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