Massage for Osteoarthritis
What is Massage for Osteoarthritis?
All physical therapists will do some type of massage for osteoarthritis. It may be done by hand or using machines such as ultrasound, TENS and interferential. You can do self massage for osteoarthritis with excellent results.
All these types of massage for osteoarthritis increases the blood flow to an area of the body. Oxygen and nutrients are needed by the body to repair itself and so the more that are taken to an injured area the quicker the repair. The increased blood flow also takes away the waste products which, if they build up, will slow the healing rate.
Why Do Massage for Osteoarthritis?
Massage for osteoarthritis is aimed at improving the healing of the soft tissues that get irritated, inflamed and sore trying to work with a poorly functioning joint. (You can learn more about that here). There are numerous studies showing that massage for osteoarthritis is a very successful form of therapy.
Cross Friction Massage for Osteoarthritis
Cross friction is a type of massage therapy favored by many therapists as it quick and easy to do. As well as increasing blood flow it also breaks down cross bridges.
When the body repairs itself it lays down scar tissue in a rather haphazard manner.
Inside muscles are fibers that run parallel to each other. They slide past each other when the muscle expands or contracts. When scar tissue is formed ‘cross bridges’ of scar tissue are formed between these parallel fibers. This means that the fibers tethered together and can’t slide over each other in that area so the muscle effectively becomes shorter.
This has several effects:
1. It reduces flexibility as there is less length of muscle to stretch.
2. It makes the muscles weaker both in strength and stamina.
3. The adjacent bits of the muscle that are working normally try to take over the work load of the scarred site. They are then being overworked so they become inflamed and sore from overuse.
4. There is a risk of re-injuring the area when cross fibres break. After they break the inflammation cycle starts so the body tries to repair it again causing more cross fibres to form.
All these lead to a downwards spiral and, over time and without massage for osteoarthritis, your pain gets worse and flexibility and strength decreases.
When using cross friction self massage for osteoarthritis you should work reasonably hard across the injury site at right angles to the fibers (across them). This pulls the fibers apart and stops the cross bridges forming while leaving the correctly formed scar tissue that is running in the direction of the fibers. If the cross bridges are already formed then cross friction massage for osteoarthritis will break them down.
In osteoarthritis the muscles, tendons and ligaments keep getting injured as the cause of their injury is still there, i.e. the degenerated joint. This means you should regularly use massage for osteoarthritis to stop cross bridges forming.
If you don’t use self massage for osteoarthritis it means you will need regular trips to the physical therapist to do this work for you. This is good business for the therapist as it gives a regular income, not so good for you as then you suffer in the wallet as well as from the osteoarthritis! It is a really good idea to learn to self massage for osteoarthritis.
Teach Yourself To Treat Yourself Using Massage.
Cross friction is a very simple massage to perform as you simply rub backwards and forwards across the fibers. Using it will reduce your pain and stiffness. You will learn how to use this highly effective type of massage for osteoarthritis in How to Treat Osteoarthritis Naturally.
“The massage technique was amazing- after only two days the stiffness when I got up in the morning was vastly improved” –Janet from Guildford
“With the massage under my belt and already feeling much better as the muscles were not so tight and the fluid retention I had on my bad knee had subsided a little…” – Lesley from Derby