According to Arthritis NSW over 3.85 million Australians have arthritis – that means 1 in 5 Australians suffer from this condition. More and more people diagnosed with arthritis are turning to natural therapies such as massage, as there are many benefits including pain relief. 2.4 million Australians who have arthritis are of working age, which is 11% of the workforce. When done correctly, massage can provide a great respite from the stress of living with this condition.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a name for a group of conditions affecting the joints. These conditions cause damage to the joints, usually resulting in pain and stiffness. Arthritis can affect many different parts of the joint and nearly every joint in the body.
Some people may feel frustrated as the symptoms of arthritis can lead to a loss of strength and energy, making it harder to get around and carry out daily tasks. This doesn’t mean you need to give up on having an active lifestyle.
When you book in to see one of our massage therapists not only will you reep the benefits, you will also be given advice and exercises to help you along the way.
The most common forms of arthritis
Two of the most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes, signs, systems and effects on the body.
- Osteoarthritis causes pain stiffness, or inflammation most frequently appears in the hips, knees, and hands.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the joints in the hands and wrists – but can also affect areas of the body other than joints.
Signs of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and can get worse over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:-
- Pain – Your joint may hurt during or after movement.
- Tenderness – Your joint may feel tender when you apply pressure to it.
- Stiffness – Joint stiffness may be noticeable when you wake up in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Loss of flexibility – You may not be able to move your joint with a full range of motion.
- Grating sensation – You may hear or feel a grating sensation when using your joint.
- Bone spurs – The extra bits of bone which feel like hard lumps that can form around the affected joint.
Signs of rheumatoid arthritis
Early rheumatoid arthritis often affects your smaller joints first — particularly the joints in your hands and feet. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.
Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Some of the signs and symptoms include:-
- Tender, warm, swollen joints
- Morning stiffness that may last for hours
- Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms (rheumatoid nodules)
- Weight loss
How does massage benefit arthritis symptoms?
Not only does each session feel great, the therapeutic benefits increase when massage is utilised frequently. The more you go, the greater you feel. Some of the other benefits include:-
- Increases flexibility and mobility
- Decreases pain and inflammation
- Relieves aches and stiffness
- Promotes a feeling of overall relaxation
- Improve circulation
- Reduce swelling
- Increase the body’s production of natural pain-killing endorphins
- Decrease stress hormones and depression
- Ease muscle tension
- Improve sleep and immune function
Many health funds provide rebates for remedial massage therapy treatments in Australia. To ensure you are covered, contact your health fund and check with us when making your appointment.
Your Workplace Wellbeing Advocate