By: Sarah Mertyris, CMT
Many of you are familiar with seasonal joint pain. Some of you can even predict severe weather changes based on how your joints feel. Changes in the weather cause the barometric pressure to rise and fall, affecting the joints. Much like going up a mountain will inflate an unopened bag of chips, changes in barometric pressure can have a similar affect on the joints of the body. This added pressure can make the joints feel painful and leave you feeling unhappy during the holidays.
The function of a joint is to allow articulation between two or more bones. Joints permit movement through the contraction of opposing muscles. Joints can be damaged due to injury, disease or an imbalance in the opposing muscles. Many different conditions can lead to painful joints such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, and sprains. Joint pain can range from a mild irritation to a debilitating handicap; it can be acute or chronic. Most people manage joint pain with pain medications, anti inflammatory medication, physical therapy, or alternative treatments.
Massage therapy would be one of those alternative treatments. A good number of arthritis, bursitis, strains and sprains can be traced back to an imbalance in the opposing muscles on either side of the joint. Structural analysis can tell us which muscles in the body are over-tight and which ones are over-stretched. By relaxing and stretching the over-tight muscles, we can reduce the imbalance or unnecessary tension on a joint. Balanced muscles make joints work as intended without friction, strain, or repetitive damage. This could reduce the occurrence of or even prevent the onset of conditions like arthritis, bursitis, strains and sprains.
In addition to the work we do through therapeutic massage therapy, there are ways clients can care for a painful joint at home. Here are a few drug-free options to reduce inflammation in an irritated joint:
• Protect the joint with a brace or wrap to reduce inflammation (not to be overused to the point of immobilization)
• Epsom Salts baths (warm, but not hot)
• Ice compresses (10 minute intervals, 2-3 times a day)
• Avoid unnecessary activities that irritate the joint, yet try to keep a comfortable range of motion through slow, easy movements.
• Only after tight muscles are released and stretched, opposing muscles can use strength building.
If you or someone you know suffers through the holiday season with joint pain, please give us a call at HOPE Wellness Institute. We would like to help bring balance to their muscles, eliminate pain from their joints, and bring cheer back into their holidays. Call today at (916) 965-6558.