What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is one of the most ancient pathological conditions known to affect animals, including humans. Fossilized records of arthritic change have been found in Dinosaur bones, Neanderthal bones, and Egyptian mummies. Today, according to The Arthritis Society of Canada, over four million Canadians suffer from some form of this condition. The term “Arthritis” consists of over 100 different conditions. To keep things simple we divide arthritis into two general types – Degenerative and Inflammatory.
What Type of Arthritis do I have?
Degenerative Arthritis: Degenerative Arthritis occurs when our joint cartilage slowly breaks down over time due to general wear and tear, postural dysfunction, as well as aging. The most common type of degenerative arthritis is called Osteoarthritis (OA for short). Patients with OA often experience morning stiffness lasting for approximately 15-20 minutes. As the day progresses and as the joints are used patients may feel that their pain and discomfort gets worse whereas resting of the joints tends to provide relief. Naturally, this pain and stiffness causes the joints to be used less often and the muscles surrounding these joints to weaken.
Inflammatory Arthritis: Inflammatory Arthritis is caused by the inflammation of the lining of our joints. The most common type of Inflammatory Arthritis is called Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA for short). RA is a chronic, autoimmune disease causing patients to experience swelling, pain and heat in the affected joints. RA usually begins slowly in one or more joints, and spreads over the course of a few weeks to a few months to involve other joints. RA generally presents in a “symmetrical” pattern involving the same joints on the left and right sides of the body. The symptoms of RA vary from person to person and vary from day to day.
Less common forms of arthritis include: Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), Psoriatic Arthritis, Gout, Plantar Fasciitis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon, Lupus and Scleroderma.
Signs and Symptoms:
- Joint Pain
- Joint Swelling
- Decreased range of motion
- Morning stiffness
- Changes in the shape or size of a joint
- Heat, redness or inflammation at the joint
- Common Causes:
- Joint Injury/ Joint Trauma
- Postural Dysfunction
- Wear and Tear
- Degenerative joint disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Family History
What are the benefits of Massage Therapy?
For many people affected by arthritis, early detection and diagnosis by a physician, in addition to a comprehensive treatment plan, can help to decrease the symptoms of arthritis. Our Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) will help you to understand which type of arthritis you have and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Your individualized massage therapy treatments will depend on a number of factors such as the severity of your condition, the type of arthritis you have, your age, your occupation and your lifestyle. These treatments will focus on reducing pain and inflammation, improving range of motion and relieving muscle tension. Our Registered Massage Therapists can also provide you with exercises and home-care advice to help you manage your pain at home.