Getting a Massage with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) goes beyond achy joints. It’s an autoimmune condition where your body attacks itself – commonly in the synovial membranes inside your joints, eyes, lungs, heart and other tissues. When your body attacks itself, you get the same symptoms as with an injury from the outside: pain, redness and inflammation.

We’re lucky that there are now focused treatments for RA that slow disease progression. While drugs like DMARDs and Biologics come with serious side effects, they can also slow disease progression.

Massage therapy can help people with RA to cope with the stress and pain associated with RA.  Extremely gentle massage techniques can be used in a Rheumatoid Arthritis flare-up, with the aim to modulate the nervous system. Sessions will be shorter during a flare, and depending upon patient choice and the level of systemic inflammation, they can also be cancelled until the RA goes back into remission.

When RA is not in a flare, massage therapy can continue to use neuromodulating techniques, but can also serve a rehabilitative role. Using passive range of motion, joint mobilizations, and prescribing remedial exercises (stretches and strengthening) your massage therapist can help to maintain or improve joint range of motion.

Because massage therapists are trained in pathology and contraindications to massage, your treatment is customized to your condition and your goals on the day of treatment.

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