Definition: Chronic degeneration articular cartilage of synovial (movable) joints, primarily affecting weight bearing joints.
(sometimes referred to as degenerative joint disease)
Other types of arthritis: Rheumatoid, spondylosis, gout, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, kawasaki syndrome.
Causes: improper posture that causes extra stress to joints, injuries resulting in toxic build up in joints, leading to wearing away of the cartilage that covers the ends of the bones. Dehydration may be a factor, as may nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, improper digestion, increased intake of protein, phosphorus. Possible genetic predisposition. Bacterial, viral or fungal infection of joint. Calcium metabolism may be inefficient. (caffeine, sugar, phosphorus deplete levels of calcium from bones)
Signs/Symptoms: stiffness usually worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity; hypertonic muscles or weakness due to rigidity of joints; cartilage damage from injuries
Treatment Goals: decrease pressure/tension on joint; decrease pain; increase range of motion, increase circulation for removal of toxins.
Techniques: traction, vibration, hydrotherapy (heat), moderate exercise to increase synovial fluid in joints, gentle stretching and gymnastics ok.
Cautions: Do not work on inflamed joints.
AMTA Client handout – (PDF) Easing the Pain of Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Massage Found Effective for Chronic Hand Arthritis By Julie Engebretson, Massage Today
Researching the Effects of Massage Therapy in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis By Robin B. Anderson , CMT, NCTMB
Massage Today: Massage Found Effective for Chronic Hand Arthritis By Julie Engebretson, Associate Editor
Massage Today : Traumatic arthritis
From the Touch Research Institute:
“Children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis were massaged by their parents 15 minutes a day for 30 days (and a control group engaged in relaxation therapy). The children’s anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels were immediately decreased by the massage, and over the 30-day period their pain decreased on self-reports, parent reports, and their physician’s reports.
Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Seligman, S., Krasnegor, J. & Sunshine, W. (1997). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: Benefits from massage therapy. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 22, 607-617.”
Spondylolisthesis: An Elusive Cause of Low Back Pain By Whitney Lowe, LMT, NCTMB
- Recognizing Osteoarthritis
- By Whitney Lowe, LMT, NCTMB