Do Massage Therapists Get Arthritis – More than 80 autoimmune diseases affect more than 23.5 million Americans, making them among the most common diseases in the country.
They can affect any part of the body, and they affect women disproportionately more than men—in fact, 75 percent of American women with autoimmune diseases have an autoimmune disease, says the American Diabetes Association.
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In infectious diseases, Diseases All infectious diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria of the human body. Some diseases involve one part of the body, such as multiple sclerosis, in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system. Some, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, are systemic, affecting the entire body. Common autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and type 1 diabetes.
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What causes autoimmune diseases is an area of interest and deep debate in the scientific community, with experts suggesting a complex interaction of genetics and environmental risk factors. Some recent studies have shown the Epstein-Barr virus as a possible culprit in the development of lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Because autoimmune diseases can affect different parts of the body, treatment and management can involve specialists from different fields, such as rheumatology, endocrinology, neurology or gastroenterology. But one factor in autoimmune diseases is inflammation. “Basically they’re all inflammatory diseases, regardless of the tissue they’re affecting,” says Kate Gardner, LMT, CNMT, whose practice, Gardner Holistic Health, is based in New York City. “Although there is currently no cure, treatments such as corticosteroids are used to temporarily reduce inflammation, especially when the symptoms of the disease “rise.”
In general, research on massage therapy and autoimmune diseases is lacking, although a 2017 review
Massage has been shown to have benefits, especially related to pain, when used to treat many conditions including diabetes, dermatitis and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
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An inflammatory condition of the spine and back. Although the study did not find a significant difference between the two techniques, the results suggest that both may show benefits and further research is warranted. A recent study
Among people living with lupus in the United Kingdom (Lupus, January 2018) stated that massage and acupuncture are used to allow further research on their benefits for the disease.
Even in autoimmune diseases, there can be many experiences. “None of these diseases look the same in different people,” says Betsy Blazek O’Neill, MD, who works at Allegheny Health Network’s Center for Comprehensive and Integrative Health. Severe symptoms may vary from person to person and may change from day to day.
“Whenever you massage someone who is sick, you have to understand how it affects them [and] how you can use the massage,” said Dr. Blazek O’Neill. want, “says Dr. Blazek O’Neill their strength. She explained that some types of massage can make people have more symptoms, especially the types that use strong pressure. Some drugs, such as NSAIDs used to treat pain, can cause bruising or bleeding easily.Prednisone, used to suppress the immune system, can cause swelling and fluid retention.
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For this reason, Gardner, who has worked with clients with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s and Celiac diseases, and thyroid disease, emphasizes that it is important to ask about all of these medicines. . “If patients are taking painkillers, they may think you can go as deep as you want,” she said. “You have to know as a therapist when to stop and realize that deeper is not always better.” She emphasized the research of unusual drugs.
“You really need to understand what symptoms your client is dealing with that day and keep looking as you work,” says Gardner. “No amount of information is too much.”
According to Dr. Blazek-O’Neill, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can cause muscle / skeletal pain, which is why patients seek help through massage therapy. “Some people like massages that are specifically designed to relieve certain types of pain and are directed to hot spots such as the lower back, shoulders or neck.” Ankylosing spondylitis mainly affects the spine, causing inflammation between the vertebrae and can fuse them together over time.
Ashley Stafford, LMT, who runs Tranquil Therapy in Philadelphia, pays close attention when applying pressure if a client feels pain or tenderness. “I find a soft spot and stretch the skin around it. If it’s really painful, I avoid the place and tell them to go to the doctor.” He likes a technique called Dermo Neuromodulation.
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, which she found helpful with clients who were interested in touch. “I also recommend yoga or tai chi – gentle exercise – to get the body used to new movements.” She says she works carefully, especially when she knows the client, and saves details that she often goes back and adds to.
When Gardner works with a client who is recovering from inflammation or increased symptoms, she prefers to use neuromuscular therapy along with myofascial release and range of motion techniques to “just open up. and remove some restrictions. Effleurage can also help improve circulation. “Strict rotation is important, especially if you’re doing intensive work,” she says.
For clients with pain or discomfort, Gardner can use knee braces to support the knees and head, or manage side-lying sitting or postures, or even chair work. “Especially with arthritic conditions where there can be a lot of pain in there, there can be positions where they can’t go in,” she said. She recommends that therapists be flexible with their client’s feelings. “It can change at a moment’s notice, so be prepared to change your look.”
Gardner also noted that, when dealing with chronic pain, clients tend to close themselves off. “They are very protective of themselves,” she said. “They contract themselves and lock into their bodies. It affects their posture and range of motion.” To combat this behavior, she used “back alignment and other techniques to create space in the joint and allow the tissues to function through full range of motion.” She emphasized that it is important to use techniques that allow clients to be active with less pain. “It’s a vicious cycle – contracture, pain, contracture. We have an important role as massage therapists to help break that cycle.”
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Other symptoms can also affect the entire body. For example, Gardner explained, gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping can cause back imbalances, while changes in hormone levels from autoimmune thyroid disease can cause energy and weight problems. She found that fascia can be especially “tight” in clients with thyroid problems, so she found myofascial release especially helpful.
Chronic diseases also bring mental problems. More “obvious” autoimmune diseases like psoriasis can make people feel embarrassed. And even just the condition of cancer can make people feel disconnected from their bodies. “It can be as simple as knowing your body is attacking itself,” says Gardner.
A difficult assessment process can often add to this stress. According to the AARDA study, people with chronic illnesses took an average of 4.6 years to be diagnosed – and 46 per cent were told they were “chronic complainers” or very worried about their health. they.
For people with autoimmune diseases, Dr. Blazek O’Neill says the most common benefits of massage therapy are reduced stress, better sleep and reduced pain symptoms. “I think people with autoimmune diseases feel like their bodies have betrayed them in some way,” she says. “Their body is doing things it shouldn’t be doing and it’s separating them from their body, massage therapy can help them get in touch with their body in a better way.
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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the number of Americans suffering from autoimmune diseases is 23.5 million and growing. However, the American Diabetes Association (AARDA) says the number is much higher and estimates that 50 million Americans are affected by the disease. This is why, according to AARDA, the NIH includes only 24 diseases for which epidemiological studies have been conducted. However, both sources agree that the spread is increasing.
Because autoimmune diseases are complex and variable, with a range of symptoms that require treatment, massage therapists point out that knowing your limits is important. Kate Gardner says: “Know your limits.” If someone comes up with something you don’t know how to work with, pass it on to the right person.
Ashley Stafford has a network of health professionals at a local hospital that she relies on. “If I have a question, I’ll send an email or call if it’s urgent – whenever there’s something I’m not sure about.” She wants to make sure that everyone working with the client is “on the same page.” And if the client won’t see a doctor, she will refuse to continue treating them.
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