Can Massage Help Knee Pain?

Category: Health Posted: 26 Nov 2018

Posted: 26 Nov 2018

man massaging his knee to reduce pain from osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis - the curse of the middle aged. In the UK, around one-third of those over 45 have sought help for this condition that causes severe pain in the knees and hips. Learn how regular remedial massage therapy can help you quash the scourge of ageing and reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee.

 

What causes knee pain? 


Knee pain can occur in response to a wide range of causes. It can occur suddenly without warning or develop gradually over time. Sometimes knee pain disappears as quickly as it arrived, but when it has developed gradually, it is often the beginnings of a chronic condition. 


Minor injuries, like a fall or knock, can cause your knee to become inflamed within a few hours and result in slight to moderate pain. This kind of injury usually fixes itself over a few days and is generally nothing to be too concerned about. Cold or hot packs, or painkillers, can provide immediate relief for this sort of pain. 


Chronic knee pain however is more difficult to live with. It can come and go, from week to week, and sometimes be completely debilitating. One of the most common causes of long-term knee pain and stiffness is arthritis. Or, more specifically, osteoarthritis of the knee. 


Finding a remedy that can help ease suffering, without the side effects of long-term medication , can significantly improve the quality of life for sufferers. 
 

What is osteoarthritis? 


You’ve probably heard it before you’re only human. Your body is not indestructible. After repeated use over many years and the occasional battering, most parts of your body have unsurprisingly been subjected to some degree of wear and tear. 


When it comes to your knees, as you get older, the cartilage cushions that allowed you to enjoy smooth and pain free movement during your youth begin to change shape and lose elasticity. There is usually no specific cause, other than degeneration through ageing and use. 


In the UK, around 9 million people are currently seeking help for knee and hip pain caused by osteoarthritis. There is as yet no definitive cure. The most effective remedy, albeit quite extreme, is a total knee replacement. 


There are however many alternative ways in which you can reduce suffering and live a better life even with osteoarthritis of the knee. In addition to drugs such as co-codamol, the most commonly recommended treatments are exercise, physiotherapy and complementary therapies such as massage.

 

Which massage is good? 


Arthritis Care in the UK recommends complementary therapies as a good way to alleviate stiffness and pain in the knee joint for those who want to avoid excess medication and possible consequential adverse side effects.


Popular oil based massage therapies, such as Swedish massage, relax and loosen tension in muscle tissues around the knee. Massage techniques such as petrissage and effleurage are usually applied at medium pressure to soft tissues around the joint. This increases blood flow around the knee and warms the muscles. Once warmed, your therapist will gently manipulate and stretch the surrounding muscle fibres to release tight spots. Over time, these techniques can contribute to improved movement and flexibility in the knee. A further benefit of improved blood flow is that any swellings in the knee from injury or strain may be reduced. 


Osteoarthritis sufferers often complain not only of the physical suffering but also of the mental stress they feel as a result of the chronic condition. Therapeutic massage, when delivered with empathy, can bring emotional benefits as well as physical. A kind therapist who listens to your needs and provides a helping hand makes you feel cared for. When you feel this way, stress inducing hormones such as cortisol which may have been building in your bloodstream previously are reduced and feel good hormones like endorphins are increased. This improves your mood and makes you feel happier, overall making any pain more bearable. 


In addition to Swedish massage, acupressure therapies like Shiatsu massage are also often used to ease knee pain by applying Myofascial trigger point therapy to target and loosen knots which have built up over time from the lack of movement. 


Suffering from knee pain can also mean that you begin to feel tension in other parts of your leg. Usually this is a consequence of the overuse of nearby muscles which have compensated for the weakness around the knee and can in particular affect people who enjoy sports. This condition is sometimes referred to as “runners knee” and can effect the hip, buttock and calf muscles as well as knees. 


Whilst massage therapy is usually completely safe for the large majority of people, if you are suffering from any serious deterioration in joints, it is recommended that you discuss massage therapy with your doctor before booking any treatments.

 

 

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