Joints form the connections between bones. They provide support and help you move. Any damage to the joints from disease or injury can interfere with your movement and cause a lot of pain.Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. Joint pain is extremely common. In one national survey, about one-third of adults reported having joint pain within the past 30 days. Knee pain was the most common complaint, followed by shoulder and hip pain, but joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles to your shoulders. As you get older, painful joints become increasingly more common.
When you get an illness such as bronchitis or the flu, you may expect that you will be feeling better and functioning normally within a week or so. A chronic illness, such osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, is different. A chronic illness may never go away and can disrupt your lifestyle in many ways.
Massage therapy may help the body in many ways. Massage can relax muscle tissue, which may lead to decreased nerve compression, increased joint space, and range of motion. This may lead to reduced pain and improved function. It may also improve circulation, which enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells and helps remove waste products. These circulatory effects of massage may have value in the treatment of some inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis or edema, an excessive accumulation of fluid in body tissues, which may be reduced using manual lymph drainage. The proper attention to a joint area can help to improve the range of motion, reduce painful conditions, and restore its performance.
Proper exercise can help as well. Joint movement encourages lubrication of the joint. The ligaments, tendons and joint capsule are warmed from the movement, which helps to keep these tissues pliable. It’s important to avoid undue stress to your joints. Besides inviting injury, trying to do too much, too soon when working with a stressed, weakened or injured joint can prevent recovery. Be sure to stay within each joint’s limitations when exercising, stretching, or in normal activity. It’s better to go slowly than to risk injury.
Each day brings new challenges to your body’s functions—many that manifest as tensions, aches, pains, and limited ranges of motion. Making sure you get regular bodywork sessions can help your body to overcome many of these challenges and maintain a happier balance, as well as helping to head off some potential problems before they adversely affect you. So contribute to that freedom of movement by maintaining a regular massage schedule. Make your future a healthier one.