Natural treatments for Arthritis are safe, effective, and free from any side effects of drugs. Prolonged natural treatment may also reduce the need for medications.
Two common ways to treat arthritis is Arthritis massage and Arthritis stretching, as natural therapies are gaining acceptance worldwide. It has multiple benefits. You can opt for natural therapies along with your medical treatments.
In general, Arthritis is a painful joint condition of the body. It can affect one or more joints. Out of a large number of arthritic conditions, Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis are the most common.
Osteoarthritis- The symptoms are pain, swelling on the joints, and stiffness. The damage of the cartilages in the joints is a reason for this. The reason for the degeneration may differ from individuals. Nevertheless, the symptoms are common.
Rheumatoid Arthritis- Though the symptoms of RA is similar to OA, the reasons are different. In this case, erroneously, the immune system of the body attacks its own tissue. The lining of the joints are affected, and results in bone erosion/joint deformity.
The arthritic condition is not only painful but stressful too. It limits your moving abilities, and routine life becomes challenging.
The two things which need to be addressed are pain and swelling. Arthritis massage enhances the blood circulation in the joints, improves flexibility and movement of joints, and reduces pain.
Most of the patients feel relaxed after the massage, and the stress associated with Arthritis takes a dip.
Massage loosens up the tissue to reduce stiffness. The fluid accumulated in the swollen area is slowly drained out, and blood flow increases. The mobility of the joint is enhanced, and a feeling of well-being sets in.
There are various types of massages offered, and the following are popular for Arthritis;
- Swedish massage with its long, light-medium strokes works well to relieve the stiffness of joints.
- Deep tissue massage with moderate to firm pressure, helps release the tension in muscles and surrounding connective tissues.
- Therapeutic massage has medical benefits, as the goal. Relaxation definitely comes along with it. But the main focus is to resolve the underlying issue.
- Ancient massage therapy from the East like shiatsu, foot reflexology also come in as options. These massages focus on pressure points in the foot or body and believe in stimulating them for pain relief and flexibility
In the case of Arthritis, avail specialized or customized massage by a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).
- You should check with your doctor if massage is advisable for you
- You should let the RMT know your issue and expectations.
- Anytime during the massage, if there is undue discomfort or severe pain, ask the RMT to stop.
- It is better to have a gap of about 2 hours between before your meals and massage.
- Post massage, there is a sense of relaxation, and you may feel sleepy.
- Epsom salt infused warm bath after the massage will keep the body relaxed for a long time.
- Keep yourself hydrated after the massage.
- Avoid massage immediately after surgery.
Along with the pain, restricted range of motion of the joints also sets in. A person generally avoids movement of the joint because of the associated pain. It is not advisable. A dormant joint will tend to stiffen more and aggravate the condition.
If approved by your doctor, you can go in for simple stretching exercises at home.
It would be worth considering the following points before exercising:
- Be confident and approach your exercise with a positive mind.
- Wear comfortable clothes.
- A warm-up of 3 -5 minutes should precede the exercises or stretch.
- A warm shower before beginning the exercise is a good idea. It increases flexibility
- Do the exercises at that time of the day, when your body is most flexible and least painful.
- Keep your movements slow and gentle.
- Do not push yourself too hard.
- Engage in low impact exercises.
Simple warm-up exercise can be:
- Slow, comfortable walk in the same place for about 5 to 7 minutes
- Sidestep gently at the place
- Pump your hands for a few minutes.
A successful warm-up should increase your breathing rate a bit, and you should feel the warmth inside you.
Simple Arthritis stretching exercises
- Stand shoulder-width apart with hand by your side.
- With palm inwards, slowly raise your hands in front of you.
- Now move both your hands straight up the head, palm still inwards.
- Hold for a count of 10 – 20.
- Slowly get back to the starting point.
- Repeat this for 8 to 10 times.
- Stand shoulder-width apart with hands by your side.
- Shrug your shoulders up, as far as you can take it.
- Hold for a count of 10 -20.
- Slowly drop your shoulder down to starting position.
- Stand straight, facing the back of a sturdy chair. Hold the back of a chair.
- Let there be some gap between the chair and you.
- Slowly raise your right leg to the right side as far as it can go. Push just a little more.
- Bring back the right leg down and continue to swing it to the left side in front of the left leg.
- And now bring back the right leg to rest in starting position.
- Repeat the same movements with the left leg.
- This makes it one set.
- Perform 5 – 7 sets.
- Stand well-balanced shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your foot firmly on the ground. Raise your hands to reach the sky.
- Hold the stance for a count of 10 -20.
- Come back to the starting point.
- Stand well balanced.
- Bend over and try to reach the toes.
- Stretch yourself a bit.
- Hold for a count of 10 -20.
- Return to the starting point.
- You can do this sitting or standing.
- Make a fist with both hands individually.
- Hold it tight for a count of 10.
- Repeat 5 -7 times.
Remember to breathe normally during all your stretching and warm-up exercise. Pause for 30 – 60 seconds between routines and exercises. Keep yourself hydrated.
Arthritis massage and arthritis stretching exercises can go along with your medication. As you begin your workouts, initially, you may find it a little tiring and demanding. But as you continue with it, your pain and general discomfort will reduce to a great extent.
Your stress level will go down, and enthusiasm will go up. Movement and activities will keep your Arthritis in check. The happiness hormones secreted because of exercises will keep your mood light, and you won’t mind living with your Arthritis anymore.