Archives for category: Stretching
In RA, the synovium, the tissue that lines the joint, mistakenly becomes a target for the immune system. The immune system cells release inflammation-causing chemicals which cause inflammation in the synovium. The synovium creates a fluid called synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint allowing for smooth movement. When the synovium becomes inflamed and damaged, it fails to produce this lubricant and the joint does not move as freely. If the inflammation of the synovium continues over time, the cartilage and eventually the bone become damaged. The joints can then become deformed and misshapen, and movement becomes limited.

RA affects more than just the hands and other smaller joints; it can affect the entire body making it a systemic condition.

Symptoms

  • pain in multiple small joints for six weeks or longer,
  • morning joint stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes,
  • bilateral pain,
  • loss of energy and appetite,
  • low grade fever,
  • dry eyes and mouth (Siogren’s syndrome),
  • and rheumatoid nodules, or lumps, which can grow beneath the skin.

Trouble breathing, anemia and inflammation of the blood vessels can also be symptoms of RA.

Joints affected by RA may be tender, warm and swollen, typically in a symmetrical pattern – meaning if one side is affected the other side usually is affected as well. RA shows up in the smaller joints first, so wrist and finger joints are affected most often, but other joints such as the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles along with the feet can be affected. While there is a great deal of variation in symptoms, once someone shows signs of RA, those symptoms usually last for years.

Drug treatment for RA involves drugs called disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Analgesics like non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs and NSAIDs may also be used to reduce swelling, pain and fever.

Massage and Rheumatoid Arthritis

While massage can aid in increasing mobility and alleviating muscle tightness resulting from chronic pain, it cannot do much to alleviate pain from deformed or degenerating joints. Moderate pressure Swedish massage and myofascial release are the two types of massage that research has proven offer benefits for those with RA, but there may be other techniques that reduce pain and increase mobility as well.

Massage therapy has been shown to reduce pain and increase joint mobility as well as decrease depression and anxiety in clients with RA. In one study, those with RA who received moderate pressure massages enjoyed less pain and greater mobility and grip strength than those who received lighter pressure massage therapy (Field, et.al., 2013). Another study showed that the stress hormone cortisol decreased immediately when RA patients received massage therapy (Field, et.al., 1997).

A 2011 study showed that myofascial massage, applied three times per week for two weeks, provided significant pain relief from RA symptoms. Myofascial release works through the application of sustained moderate to deep pressure, which allows the muscle to lengthen, reducing strain on the joints from muscle tension (Cubick, et.al., 2011).

Deep tissue massage techniques or trigger point therapy on clients with RA, should be limited, as these techniques might trigger a flare up of inflammation, especially near joints affected by the disease. When employing these techniques, it is important to work slowly, giving the client time to react, and to not overdo it. Let the client “live with” the work after a short, limited amount of deep work to see how their body reacts. If they are okay and do not have an increase in inflammation in RA-affected joints after the session, you can do a little more deep work at the next appointment. If they have a flare up of symptoms, avoid deep tissue techniques. Communication from the client is key. Massage should never be more painful than a good workout. Discomfort is one thing, but especially when dealing with RA, pain is not optimal.

Contraindications

Basic contraindications for massage therapy apply to those clients with RA as well; avoid massage when there are open wounds, fever, skin rashes or irritation, or deep vein thrombosis. Clients with any significant health concerns should be cleared by their physician before getting massage therapy.

When working on clients with RA, joints that are in an acute stage of inflammation and are warm, red, or extremely painful should be avoided. The therapist should check in with the client regularly to ensure that the pressure is not too deep, as it is important to ensure the massage does not trigger muscle contraction and cause more tension and pain. If a client is having a significant flare up of symptoms, massage should not be performed until symptoms calm down. Joint mobilization and stretching should be performed with care, as joints may be damaged or compromised.

Massage therapy has been shown to significantly reduce pain, increase mobility and reduce stress and anxiety for clients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Massage therapy should be light to moderate, and care should be taken with inflamed and potentially damaged joints. Clients with RA live with pain as a constant companion and truly appreciate any intervention which offers relief from that pain.

Communication with the therapist as to medications taken is important. Depending on the medication considerations will be made pertaining to how the medications affect the body including pain relief, muscle relaxation, nerve reaction, dehydration, time of last dose etc.

 Adapted from an article Written By Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS  December 7th, 2016

 

OMG, if I could count on one hand how many people’s primary complaint is neck and shoulder pain, I wouldn’t have a job! Seriously, I can just about guarantee anyone walking into my office is going to have a complaint of EITHER Neck & Shoulder pain or Low Back Pain if not both.

People with neck and shoulder issues often have their pain return before their next massage appointment. Work, play and children all make demands on the body. A dull ache can quickly turn into a burning pain especially while folding laundry, doing yard work, playing on the computer or any of the other million things you do.

What can you do between professional massage appointments to take the edge off neck and shoulder pain? Here are some ideas.

Take a Break

Take short breaks as often as you can if you sit at a computer all day. Move your shoulders around and s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Ideally you can get up and move around a bit. But even if you’re chained to the desk, you can rock out a little Deskercise to stay loose.

Get the kids into it

Have a short yoga break together! There are plenty of videos made especially for kids, and the moves are just as beneficial for adults. Bonus: got a little one averse to naptime? Try the lying-down postures here and maybe you’ll get a short break.

Heat it

Just 10-15 minutes of heat on your shoulders can make a huge difference in how your tissue moves and feels. You don’t need a fancy heating pad, you can make one at home pretty easily. Check out this DIY tutorial.

Self-massage

Try it, you might be surprised how much it helps! It’s not complicated, just grab a tennis ball, a lacrosse ball, or even a red rubber ball and check out these techniques.

Choose the right pillow

superb_new_PILLOW_SILO_775_jjYou spend about one third of your time in bed, be sure it’s cozy for your neck. Side-sleepers have different needs than belly-sleepers. The right pillow at night can help you all day. I have a limited supply (FOUR) of Bed Boss Superb Pillows at the office. I like them because they are #1 shredded memory foam, so they keep their shape, but offer support too. #2 have a cooling gel insert so my head doesn’t sweat at night. #3 It’s just right for shaping it myself regardless of how I’m sleeping. They retail for $70 but the ones I have I’m selling for only $40. But once they are gone, they are gone. 

A few minutes of self care every day, little changes, can make a huge difference in how you feel. See you at your next appointment! Book your appointment online today! 

Having a good stretch once or twice a day feels good and can help prevent injuries (flexible muscles can do more), improve your posture (and as a result help with back pain), increase blood and nutrients to your muscles, and help you to feel less stressed.

Here’s what I do:
spine-stretch cartoon
Spinal Stretch – lie on your back, bring your knee to your chest and then across your body.
So your right knee will go over to the left side of your body. Hold this for at least 30 seconds. Then stretch the other side.
Seated-bend cartoon
Forward bend – Sit with your legs straight out in front of you stretch your arms up to the sky and then bend forward as far as you can. It’s ok to cheat and use a towel or a pillow case to increase your stretch. 😉

spinal twist
Spinal Twist- still sitting with your legs in front of you,  bend one knee to your chest then twist your body and hug your bent leg.
Other quick stretches (you can do these at your desk)

Clasp your hands behind you and pull back to stretch your chest. desk-stretches1

5-stretch-arms-shoulders-lgnHold your arm in front of your body and stretch it into your chest

Stretch your neck from side to side or do neck rolls

I bet you are feeling better already!neck stretch

Also check out You Tube for some quick stretching routines:

5 office stretches

5 minute yoga