Despite its prevalence among the population, osteoarthritis of the knee can be a debilitating condition that significantly impacts patients’ quality of life and mobility. Treatment options are quite limited and not always effective, but there is evidence massage therapy can provide patients living with this degenerative condition meaningful relief.
While any joint can be affected by osteoarthritis, the knee is one of the more common areas for the condition to strike. Because your knees are the strongest and largest joints in your body, they’re particularly prone to the “wear and tear” associated with swelling, stiffness, pain and limited range of motion. While the condition is more common among people in their fifties and beyond, osteoarthritis of the knee can affect younger patients as well.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, and treatment options are often limited to comfort measures designed to minimize the aggravation of the affected joint, prescription pain medication and, in some cases, surgical intervention. The risks associated with surgery, including blood clots and complications with anesthesia, make it a less than an appealing option for most patients. Prescription pain medication can provide some relief, though it’s not uncommon for patients to gradually build a tolerance to medications.
For patients living with osteoarthritis of the knee, some treatments can feel almost as stressful as the condition itself. No one wants to face the recovery times and risks associated with surgery, nor do most patients want to spend the rest of their lives in debilitating pain.
Massage therapy can provide a host of benefits to patients seeking different methods of managing osteoarthritis, from lowered pain levels to better flexibility and more stable quality of life. Because there are more than eighty different types of massage techniques, professional massage therapists are able to draw from a wide variety of disciplines in order to devise a customized treatment plan that targets your unique areas of discomfort.
Because there is strong evidence of massage therapy’s positive effect on stress, anxiety, and depression, patients may also leave their sessions with an increased sense of overall well-being in addition to improvements in their arthritis. Massage can also ease muscle soreness and stiffness associated with changes in gait or movement due to joint damage, helping to alleviate pain in a number of ways.
Patients living with osteoarthritis of the knee can find significant relief working closely with a massage therapist, and because the treatment is low-risk and non-invasive, there are few contraindications. Still, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider before seeking massage treatment, especially if you have osteoporosis or other health conditions that may not be well-suited to the manipulation of professional massage treatments.
Working closely with a licensed massage therapist who understands your condition can be an invaluable aspect of an overall treatment plan designed to keep you moving and active for as long as possible.