Being more mobile is certainly the number one way to improve your joint mobility, and so you should be exercising regularly, including engaging in activities such as walking and even more challenging stretching and strengthening exercise such as yoga. Unfortunately, sometimes your joint issues are accompanied by pain and getting active can be difficult. Or you may not know where to begin with activities! Either way, a Registered Massage Therapist can help you improve your joint mobility, and can even suggest the right exercises to get you moving again.
Sports injury is a common reason for limited joint mobility, and if you suspect this is the cause of your condition, be sure to have the proper tests done to rule out broken bones or anything more serious. When your injury is limited to your muscle tissue, massage can help a great deal by improving the blood flow to your muscles around your joints and encouraging the release of endorphins to help you feel better.
There are actually a number of issues that can affect your ability to move. One of the most common is arthritis, which is an inflammation of your joints. Osteoarthritis is a natural degeneration of the cartilage in your joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is an immune disorder that, over time, also causes damage to the cartilage in your joints. Once this cartilage is damaged, it becomes harder for your joints to be as mobile. Massage therapy can help with arthritis by relaxing the muscles around your joints, improving blood flow to your joints, decreasing pain and improving their mobility as well.
Diabetes can slow down your circulation and thicken the connective tissue around your joints, making it difficult to get the blood supply needed for proper joint mobility. This is one reason why diet and exercise are so important for diabetics, because clean eating and adequate exercise help keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Balanced blood sugar levels help ensure the health of the blood vessels in your joints, improving their mobility. Likewise, massage therapy can help to improve circulation to these blood vessels, and can also decrease the thickening of connective tissue around your joints.
Because of the muscle pain, muscle spasms and muscle tension associated with fibromyalgia, if you suffer from this condition you may also experience physical symptoms such as decreased joint mobility. Massage therapy can help reduce your pain and muscle tension, and get you more mobile. Likewise, massage is great if you're suffering from lupus, a painful auto-immune disease that can affect your joints among many other possible areas of your health. If you do suffer from lupus, however, avoid seeking massage during flare-ups.
Be sure to disclose as much information about your health to your Registered Massage Therapist, taking the time to ask questions throughout your treatment as well. The more informed the therapist is about you, and the more you're informed about your treatment, the sooner you can get treated properly, and feel better!
By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc
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These links may also be helpful:
Massage Therapy for Tension Headaches
Stress Relief with Massage Therapy