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Arthritis Pain Can Be Lessened with Therapeutic Bodywork

11 Oct 2013

pill bottleWith the aging of the baby boomer generation, dealing with the challenges of arthritis can present an opportunity for bodywork therapists to provide supportive health care.  While many arthritis sufferers resort to prescription drugs to control arthritis symptoms, bodywork can play a more natural role in easing pain and stiffness.   Massage and other bodywork can help with arthritis, if done in the context of medical case management and with proper consideration of a client’s primary health providers, according to a recent article by the Arthritis Foundation.

Tips for Bodywork Therapists Working with Arthritic Clients

Arthritis is a painful condition afflicting millions, but unlike common tension headaches, it’s a serious medical illness with consequences and issues far beyond the pain and discomfort that therapeutic massage can relieve:

  • Ambiguous mechanism. Although massage therapy can help many suffering from arthritis, the exact way in which it helps is not fully known, although it is understood that massage can boost pain-relieving endorphins. 
  • Complex case management. Many people who have arthritis have other health problems, too; these need to be considered in the overall picture of client goals.
  • Tissue sensitivity. Because many bodywork therapy procedures involve the application of significant force to muscle, tendons, and other tissues, as well as the placement of reactive fluids on the skin, therapists should be careful to guide procedures accordingly.
  • Contraindications. Sometimes a potential client’s condition is too severe to warrant therapeutic bodywork, due to the risk of complications. Sometimes therapists have to decline.

Although caution is appropriate with arthritis sufferers as potential clients, many are adequate candidates for therapy and stand to benefit from lessened pain, anxiety, and stress as much as anyone.

If you’re interested in tuning up your skills to provide bodywork therapy for an aging population – including those who suffer from arthritis – watch for CenterPoint Massage & Shiatsu School & Clinic’s Special Populations: Geriatric Care continuing education workshop in 2014.  Our CE calendar for classes at our Minneapolis massage school in 2014 will be posted shortly. 

Call us today at 952-562-5200!