Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex condition to manage. Even with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biologics, and pain medications, many people find their quality of life is reduced. Adding massage to your treatment regimen is another option to help reduce pain and improve mental health issues that often co-occur with chronic pain.
Start With a Massage Chair
A massage chair is a good starting point when you want to try massage for RA but are apprehensive. Since many people cannot afford a dedicated massage chair, an alternative is purchasing a massage cushion. A massage cushion can be used in your favorite chair or while you sit up in the bed. Some models also have heat settings, which can add to the pain-relieving benefits. Starting with a massage cushion can allow you to adjust the massage intensity so you have an idea what is comfortable. Since RA is not purely about what is painful now, but how you feel the following day, you should monitor how you react to certain intensity levels over the coming days. Too much pressure could agitate joints and cause them to flare up.
Try an In-Person Massage
Once you have a general idea of the amount of pressure you can tolerate, you might want to try your first in-person massage at a center like the one represented at http://dccrocksprings.com/. When you are finding a massage therapist, be sure to tell them about your condition and ask how they address clients with chronic pain. Your massage therapist will likely recommend a simple massage for your first appointment. One benefit of having an in-person massage is that your massage therapist is able to feel for tight muscles or other areas that might need extra attention. Some massage therapists also integrate aromatherapy and soothing music to help you relax and to add to the stress-relieving benefits of massage.
Consider Specialty Massages
There are many types of massage, and some might be more beneficial for people with RA. Generally, it is advised to stay away from deep-tissue massages because they can be especially difficult to tolerate if you already deal with chronic pain. A better option might be massage using hot or cold stones. Hot stones can be soothing for tight muscles or achy joints, whereas cold stones can reduce inflammation and swelling. Some massage therapists also use special massage techniques to promote lymphatic drainage. Encouraging the lymph to drain from different areas can reduce pain and stiffness in your joints.
Integrating massage into your RA treatment can be a relaxing way to help with pain and promote better mental health. Starting off slowly can help you find the right massage technique for your body.