Can Massage Help Arthritis in Neck Area?

Massage therapy is a great technique used to release tension, loosen muscles, induce relaxation, and sometimes can help reduce chronic pain.  There are many styles of massage that are used all over the world and some have been around for centuries.  These various styles work for different people depending on why they are seeking healing through the art of touch.  For some people, receiving a massage is a way to center themselves and calm their inner spirit. For others, it is more important on a physical level; to bring relief to the body or even to get rid of pain.

Massage has been used to treat many ailments ranging from sore muscles, to headaches, to even spinal problems including stenosis, herniated discs, or arthritis.  Arthritis in the neck, or rather cervical arthritis, is a common problem that can be treated with massage.  Arthritis that occurs in the neck is generally considered to be caused by osteoarthritis, but it is possible for it to be from rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia, but it is not as common.  Osteoarthritis is usually caused from aging or injuries, or a combination of both.

With time, the disks in the spine, in this case specifically the cervical neck area, slowly deteriorates, which forces the joints to compress onto each other, putting stress on the bones and nerves within the spine.  The bones of the vertebrae react by building more bone to relieve the stress, but this actually just causes stiffness and muscle strain, which results in pain.

Arthritis can cause chronic pain in the neck and can lead to more severe injuries such as cervical stenosis or a slipped disc. If these injuries are not treated from the beginning, surgery could easily be the only solution. Some early preventative treatments include stretching, taking anti-inflammatories, resting and getting frequent massages.

Massage therapy can help relieve some of the strain put on the neck muscles as a result of arthritis.  Massage can loosen the delicate muscles around the neck and shoulders that have to hold up the head.  This loosening can take off pressure in the cervical spine which can allow for a larger range of motion when moving the head.  It can also help take away some of the pain that is caused by the muscles constantly over exerting themselves. Also, it can make it easier for the person to stand for longer periods of time, which can be hard to do with arthritis because of gravity’s affect on the spine.

If you do choose to get massages for your arthritis in the neck, do make an effort to regularly receive massage. With chronic ailments, massage is the most efficient when a person is able to go on a regular basis. Even though one massage will help, after a while the pain will return unless you are frequently getting massage therapy.

It is important to inform your massage therapist of your condition, whatever it may be.  If you are in the beginning stages of arthritis, make sure you contact your doctor and actively work out a plan that can make living with arthritis bearable.  Surgery is definitely the last thing you want to do, so it is best to help yourself before your problems become too difficult to manage.

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