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Is Massage Good For Arthritis In The Neck

Massage For Neck Arthritis

Relieve neck pain and tension with self-massage

Massage feels good, and it may help to relax tight muscles and improve localized circulation to structures in your neck. Some research into specific types of massage has shown promise for reducing neck pain.

Cupping involves placing suction-type cups over your muscles. Some small studies have shown that cupping reduces symptoms in patients with chronic neck pain.

The American College of Rheumatology has published guidelines for the treatment of osteoarthritis and has stated that the research currently does not support the use of massage as an effective treatment for knee, hip, or hand arthritis.

While the guidelines are not specific to cervical spondylosis, it may be helpful to keep in mind there is little evidence that massage provides lasting relief for arthritis. Still, it may be one option to try when seeking out natural remedies for your neck pain.

Massage For Pinched Nerves In The Neck

Pinched nerves are typically caused by pressure placed on the nerve by joints, muscles, or other structures. Muscle tension and inflammation may be the cause of this pressure. Nerve impingement in either the brachial plexus located in the shoulder or disc herniation in the cervical spine can both lead to nerve pain in both the neck and shoulder.

Massage therapy can be a great choice for relieving that inflammation, and thus reducing nerve pain and pressure

Regular Massages Can Be A Key Part Of Your Arthritis Treatment And Self

People often think of massages as a luxury. But for people living with arthritis or related musculoskeletal pain, the right type of massage isnt just a way to pamper yourself it can help you manage your condition, says Freesia Vickman, a licensed massage therapist for Soothe, who has specialized in clients with arthritis for years. Massages can help reduce pain and inflammation by releasing the muscles around the joints and helping to increase blood flow to them, she explains.

Consider these studies: People with osteoarthritis in their knees who got a one-hour Swedish massage once a week for eight weeks reported less pain, greater mobility, and a better range of motion than people who didnt get a massage, according to a study from Duke University researchers published in the journal PLoS One. Research in the journal Pain Medicine found that people with chronic low back pain had improvement in their symptoms after they received a series of 10 massages.

Massage therapy can help with inflammatory types of arthritis as well. A case study published in Massage Today found that regular massage helped alleviate pain and swelling from rheumatoid arthritis and also helped improved joint function, sleep quality, and daytime energy levels.

For people with arthritis and other chronic illnesses, consider thinking of massage not as a sometimes treat but rather a part of your overall treatment plan, Vickman says.

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The HealthmateForever YK15AB Tens Unit may seem intimidating at first, but it’s easy to use. Its designed with four outputs and eight pads to be directly applied on the skin using electrotherapy known as a TENS unit.

There are 15 modes, 20 levels of intensity, and six massage settings to choose from. If youre pregnant or have any pre-existing conditions, just make sure to consult your doctor before giving it a try.

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Pain Relief Like That Of A Massage Therapist

Neck &  Shoulder Pain

A massage gun provides you with the pain relief that you would get with a massage therapist. Whether your pain is in the shoulders, neck, fingers, or even feet, you can use a massage gun to gain fast pain relief, ease soreness, and quick recovery in the process. For hard-to-reach regions like toes and fingers, some massage guns come with convenient attachments, which allow you to reach even those tricky parts of the body.

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What Is Swedish Massage

This is one of the most popular forms of massage in the US. Often, a lotion or oil is used to reduce skin friction. The therapist combines light stroking in one direction with deep pressure in another to relax muscles. The treatment expedites blood flow to flush lactic acid, uric acid, and other waste products from the muscles. Ligaments and tendons are stretched, increasing their suppleness. Nerves are stimulated and relaxed, and stress is alleviated. The overall goal is to relax muscles.

Other Ways To Help Stop Neck Pain And Stiffness

Massage therapy can help reduce pain and stiffness, but other things can help too. Lifestyle changes like reducing stress and changing your posture are two of the best steps you can take to prevent pain and muscle tension. Be sure to stretch regularly and sit with your head in a neutral position. Exercising, sleeping well, and eating a healthy diet can also help keep your muscles in good health.

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Working With Your Massage Therapist

When attending a massage therapy session, be sure to discuss your needs with the therapist and ask them what treatment is best suited to your condition.

Massage therapy should be conducted in a secure and private area where you have the ability to undress and dress in private. The therapist should not be present at this stage and you will be asked to lie on the table and cover yourself with the appropriate towel or cover. It is normal practice for undergarments to be worn. During the massage, towels or coverings should be used to cover any part of the body not directly receiving treatment.

If you are uncomfortable or unsure at any stage of the massage, be sure to tell the therapist. You have the right to ask the therapist to stop any treatment immediately and decide whether you want to continue with the massage.

Remember, if you experience any discomfort during your treatment, let your massage therapist know. Your massage therapist should also inform you of any effects you might notice following the treatment, such as mild pain, headache or bruising as this can be a normal post-treatment outcome.

Heating And Cooling Therapy

Spine Massage for a Healthy Back and Neck by Dr. King

Using heating or cooling remedies is always a common debate around alleviating pain. Eeric Truumees, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at Texas Spine and Scoliosis in Austin, Texas, and the president of the North American Spine Society says for issues just below the surface, icing can be the remedy, but for deeper tissue issues like neck pain, heat is often the best way to go. Ive had patients swear by icing as a means to control their neck pain. For me, though, heating seems to be more helpful overall. The major structures of the cervical spine cannot be iced, they are too deep the muscles will benefit from heat.

However, Dr. Truumees cautions against jumping straight into using heat if your neck pain is due to something like a sports-related injury. I would avoid for a few days if youve had a significant strain with any bruising or swelling. The soft, foam cervical collar is another way to keep the neck muscles warm, but I try to avoid braces, when possible, so as to avoid any increased stiffness.

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What Are The Causes Of Sciatica

The sciatic nerve runs from your lower back all the way down your leg. If the nerves are pinched, inflamed or irritated you may experience pain which makes it difficult to walk, sit or lie down. It can be quite debilitating so what can you do to alleviate the pain and reduce the inflammation?

Symptoms of sciatica:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling

typically down one leg past the knee and into the toes causing weekness and drop foot. If the pain is down both legs it is less likely to be sciatica and could be something else so if you experience these symptoms on both legs consult your doctor or a physical therapist.

Three million cases per year are from a herniated disc. This is when the disc bulges out and hitting one of the nerve roots. Dont confuse sciatica pain with piriformis muscle pain, often called fake sciatica.

These two are related but very different treatment so make sure you know what it is and how to treat each.

Luckily 80% to 90%of cases of sciatica will resolve themselves without any intervention though it can take a few weeks for this to happen. If you are in the midst of a flare up there are some things you can do to help.

How Effective Is Massage Therapy For Neck Pain

Massage therapy has been proven to help with neck pain and stiffness, but the results are usually temporary. This therapy is most effective if it is done by a professional at least a few times a week. However, some studies have shown that no matter how often you get massages, it wont get rid of your stiff neck.

The truth is that having a solid answer on whether or not massage works is difficult. There are many different types of this therapy that employ even more different techniques. To further complicate things, every person getting this therapy is unique and may not react to the therapy the same. More research is needed, but if you are experiencing neck pain, talk to your doctor about this therapy. Just because one person doesnt receive benefits doesnt mean that is a typical result.

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Treatment For Wry Neck

In most cases, if treated early, wry necks respond well to treatment in a few days. Heat and passive joint mobilisation can be used to loosen the neck joints and reduce the pain and muscle spasm.

In rare cases, particularly for people over 40, or very rarely in infants, wry neck can be caused by a medical condition. Your doctor or therapist can help with this diagnosis and give you a referral for appropriate care.

Heat And Cold Therapy


You may have heard that thermotherapy, the use of heat in therapy, is an effective way of treating pain in the neck due to arthritis. This method has merit. How does it work? By increasing circulation through the joints, bones, and muscles within your neck. Without ample blood flow, areas in your neck will be deprived of oxygen, and this leads to dead or dying muscle tissue, weakening your neck and forcing you to rely on your bones for keeping your head up. Ultimately, this leads to more pain.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also use cold therapy to constrict the blood vessels in your neck and decrease inflammation. Doctors recommend using hot and cold therapy in intervals of 30 minutes each.

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What Our Experts Say

I like the Hypervolt massage gun , as well as the Homedics Shiatsu massager. These massagers are good because they can loosen muscles that are tight around the neck and shoulder blades and therefore alleviate pain and tension that the muscles might be causing from pulling on the vertebrae in the neck. That being said, one should be careful and not massage on the bones, just the muscles. Dr. Theresa Marko, Doctor of Physical Therapy and Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedics

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Who knew this simple Massage Roller Ball by Vive can be the comfort you need? Two come with each purchase and the handheld balls can be used together or kept in separate spots for rapid, on-the-go relief.

This latex-free, hypoallergenic product wont irritate your skin and is durable as its made from high-quality resin that wont crack no matter how much pressure you put on it. You wont have to worry about any friction either. The roller balls glide smoothly on bare skin or clothing leaving you with an effective and soothing massage.

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Are Percussion Massagers Safe For Arthritis Rather Than A Massage Therapist

the cost of regular massages from a professional massage therapist may be beyond your budget. If so a mid range percussion massager may be a good choice. You need to be aware of the manufacturers recommendations as to how to use the massage gun and not to spen doo much time concentrated in one area.

Many of these handheld percussio massagers have lower settings making it eaier for those with chronic pain to build up to a therepeutic level of massage with ease.

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Spondyloarthritis In The Neck

Other types of neck arthritis include psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, which are both considered a type of arthritis called spondyloarthritis. Its an umbrella term for inflammatory diseases that involve both the joints and entheses, the places where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones.

Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis often accompanied by psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease. For some people who have psoriatic arthritis, the condition involves the spine, which impacts the neck. Pain happens when inflammation strikes the joints between the vertebrae. This pain can occur on just one side of the body, the neck, and the lower and upper back. Read more about psoriatic arthritis symptoms.

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of arthritis that strikes the bones in your spine and pelvis as well as peripheral joints. Early signs and symptoms might include pain and stiffness in your lower back and hips, especially in the morning and after inactivity. Fatigue and neck pain are common. AS symptoms might worsen, improve, or stop at irregular intervals.

Tell Your Massage Therapist About Any Current Injury Or Joint Damage

Simple Neck Pain Massage Techniques, How to Massage Friends & Loved Ones | Robert Gardner

If you know that you have significant damage to a particular joint or have an injury, you need to tell your massage therapist before you start, says , a massage therapist in Houston, Texas. We would need to adjust the type of massage and the level of pressure used, she explains. If you have severe damage from arthritis, you absolutely need to have a therapist with specific skills and training in treating arthritis.

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Swedish Massage For Neck Pain

Swedish massage works to lengthen and relax muscles and tissues, making it a great choice for those suffering from neck and shoulder pain. One trial showed notable symptom improvement for neck pain patients receiving regular Swedish massage. While, patients receiving Swedish massages were able to reduce their pain medication more than participants who did not receive massage.

What Is Trigger Point And Myotherapy

Trigger points are tiny, tight nodules that form in muscles causing referred pain. Sometimes myofascial pain can be linked to one or more trigger points. The treatment goals include alleviating muscle spasms, improving circulation, and releasing trigger points. The therapist applies direct momentary pressure to a trigger point to cause its release. During the massage, the therapist may return several times to a stubborn trigger point to elicit its release.

As trigger points are released, the therapist stretches the muscle using a technique called Spray and Stretch. This technique incorporates a superficial cooling agent such as Fluori-Methane, a local anesthetic that depresses nerve response. The anesthetic is sprayed over muscles as they are gently stretched, soothing tight muscles.

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You Might Feel Worse Before You Feel Better

On a cellular level, massage is similar to exercise in the response it provokes in your body, which can lead to some temporary pain and soreness afterwards, Rose says. As the Cleveland Clinic explains, massage forces blood into the muscle, bringing nutrients and removing toxins. This process can temporarily increase inflammation to areas that the body feels need attention and this inflammation can bring discomfort. You dont have to be sore for it to be an effective massage but if you are a little sore the next day, its usually nothing to worry about, she says.

Timing Is Key To Massage’s Benefits For Neck Pain

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Two or three one-hour sessions a week reduced pain, improved functioning

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 14, 2014 — Massage can relieve neck pain if it’s done often by a professional therapist and for the correct length of time, according to new research.

One-hour sessions two or three times a week appear to be best, said study researcher Karen Sherman, senior scientific investigator at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle.

“In the short term, 60 minutes of massage is better than 30, and you want to do multiple treatments a week for the first four weeks,” she said.

Her study, which tested the effects of a month of massage, is published in the March/April issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Persistent neck pain is common and stems from numerous causes — car accidents, sleeping in awkward positions or spending hours hunched over a computer, among them, Sherman said.

Doctors often recommend anti-inflammatory medicines, but these drugs frequently don’t provide enough relief, she noted. “People with back and neck pain aren’t usually satisfied with what they get from their doctor, so they are looking around for something that works,” Sherman explained.

Previous studies of massage for neck pain have produced conflicting results, so Sherman’s team decided to look closer. Specifically, they wanted to determine what dose of massage is ideal. In a previous study, Sherman had found that benefits of massage were evident after four weeks.

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Are Massage Chairs Safe And Beneficial

A massage chair may alleviate pain and other symptoms of AS. However, these devices may not work well for everyone.

There is limited to no data on massage chairs specifically for AS symptoms. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that massage chairs have drawbacks, including not working well, making buzzing noises, and taking up lots of space.

A person interested in a massage chair should consider trying a few chairs out, if possible, before committing to a purchase.

45 states and the District of Columbia, therapists must get specialized training and certificates to perform massages.

When selecting a massage provider, a person should consider asking their doctor for recommendations. They may know therapists that specialize in working with people with conditions such as AS.

A person should avoid massage therapists without a license and be wary of those with no experience treating people with AS.

Some nonmedicinal treatment options that a person can try, either at home or at a local practice, include:

  • regular exercise that incorporates strength training, stretching, and cardiovascular activity
  • physical therapy to help regain or maintain function

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