arthritis pain

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis or inflammation of a joint. Although working is still possible with this disease, people suffering from arthritis lose an average of 2.5 day per month of work.

A joint is made up of cartilage and synovial fluid. The synovial fluid is made up of 80% water & 20% collagen fibers. Repeated stress on the joint over time causes the collagen fibers to break. This causes the cartilage to become thinner narrowing the joint space which eventually exposes the bone causing pain.

There are several causes of arthritis:

  • Altered biomechanics – examples are two different leg lengths, birth defects, joint hypermobility, and muscular incoordination
  • Immobilization- reduces circulation of synovial fluid to the cartilage
  • Trauma- overuse, repetitive stress, or fractures
  • Pathology- for example diabetes

Massage helps arthritis by reducing stiffness, pain, edema, and spasm and also helps increase range of motion. It can relieve the compression on the joint and maintain the tissue that remains. Adding essential oils to your massage can also help with the pain. Lavender is a pain reliever and roman chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties.

Acupuncture is another alternative health treatment that provides relief for arthritis.

*If you have arthritis, you want to avoid heat if you are having acute inflammation.*

Self-Care for Arthritis

Self-massage around the affected joint can help control pain.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.

Rest from activities that aggravate the joint.

Pain-free stretching and gravity reduced activities like swimming. Exercise should not cause pain during or after.

Using supplements that help. Glucosamine sulfate helps arthritis and omega-3 fatty acids help inflammation. Vitamin C also helps swelling and repairs cartilage and bones.

Avoid eating plants in the nightshade family which contains solanine, which may cause muscle pain.

Some people have found relief with copper bracelets and also vinegar applications around the affected joint.

Deep moist heat for chronic bouts or cold for acute episodes. Paraffin wax treatments provide relief for chronic arthritis sufferers.


Please talk to your doctor before trying any of these suggestions.

Reference Clinical Massage Therapy by Ludwig and Rattray