Massage for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis.

What is Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is caused when the immune system (the body’s defense system) is not working properly. RA causes pain and swelling in the wrist and small joints of the hand and feet. Treatments for RA can stop joint pain and swelling.

Can you test negative for RA but still have it?

When a patient tests negative for RF and anti-CCP antibodies, yet they still display strong symptoms consistent with rheumatoid arthritis, they are given a diagnosis of seronegative rheumatoid arthritis.

What is Seronegative RA?

 A seronegative test for rheumatoid arthritis means that a person tests negative for rheumatoid factor (RF) and cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP). However, this answer requires some explanation and a little background. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a condition characterized by swollen, painful joints. What is seronegative rheumatoid arthritis? Seronegative rheumatoid arthritis is one of two types of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness at the joints. The other, and most common, kind of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is seropositive RA.

Can you be misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis?

Rare Disease Can Be Misdiagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis. Whipple’s disease (WD) is a rare disease that predominantly affects middle-aged white men, and its diagnosis is often delayed because it is misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. … Following the diagnosis of WD, all patients were initiated on antibiotic treatment.


More than 200,000 US cases per year

Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured

Requires a medical diagnosis

Lab tests or imaging always required

Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue, including joints. In severe cases, it attacks internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joint linings, causing painful swelling. Over long periods of time, the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone erosion and joint deformity. While there’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, physiotherapy and medication can help slow the disease’s progression. Most cases can be managed with a class of medications called anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS).

Ages affected

0-2 Very rare
3-5 Very rare
6-13 Rare
14-18 Rare
19-40 Common
41-60 Common
60+ Common

Consult a doctor for medical adviceSources: Mayo Clinic and others. Learn more

Massage for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Many arthritis patients wonder if massage therapy is right for them. … Massage therapy is traditionally used for improving flexibility and circulation, easing the pain, and reducing stress and anxiety. But much rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients still shy away from massages out of fear.

What type of massage is good for rheumatoid arthritis?

Moderate pressure massage is among the massage therapies that can help relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain. Know what to look for and what to avoid when adding this therapy to your treatment plan.

Although there are many types of massage, only two — moderate-pressure massage and myofascial release — have research support for pain relief for RA, but you can explore others as well.

Results are encouraging. For instance, in a study published in November 2015 in Complementary Therapies in Practice, researchers found participants who received a moderate-pressure massage targeted to the knees reported reduced pain and a greater range of motion. Researchers speculate that the pain relief may be tied in part to an increase in the brain’s serotonin output, which the authors note is the body’s natural pain suppressant.

Consider these four massage choices:

Myofascial release. This is a style of hands-on therapy that involves longer pressure on select areas of the body to break up tight connective tissue. Research shows this style of therapy, applied three times a week for two weeks, can provide relief of pain and other RA symptoms. As part of the research, Carol Davis, PT, professor emerita of physical therapy at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, studied the use of myofascial release in the treatment of various conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis. She explained that the extended pressure (more than three minutes) applied in targeted locations on the body helps change the underlying structure of connective tissue, correcting structural changes that could be contributing to pain. The myofascial release could be effective by stimulating blood flow and triggering the body’s natural anti-inflammatory actions, she suggested. However, clinical trials have not shown this yet.

Swedish massage. The best-known massage technique, Swedish massage uses long strokes of varying pressure to ease and unknot muscles. You might ask for a moderate-pressure version of this style to achieve results similar to those in the research studies. Massage therapists who use this style might include lotions or oils during the session.

Deep-tissue massage. Deep-tissue massage uses intense pressure and tissue manipulation to address stiffness and soreness. However, if the pressure seems too great, don’t continue with this style of massage.

Any type of full-body massage therapy that involves moderate pressure, including self-massage, should help relieve arthritis pain and ease tension.

Massage isn’t just an occasional feel-good indulgence — it can be a great form of rheumatoid arthritis treatment. Need proof? According to research published in May 2013 in Complementary Therapy in Clinical Practice, study participants reported relief from pain and stiffness after four once-a-week moderate-pressure massages on arms affected by rheumatoid arthritis, supplemented with daily self-massage at home. They also reported having a stronger grip and a greater range of motion than those who were given only a light-touch massage.

Earlier research, published in the same journal, found that massage had similar benefits for RA pain in the hands and also reported that the combination of weekly massage therapy and daily self-massage led to improved mood and better sleep.

Massage therapy expert Tiffany Field, Ph.D., founder and director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, led both studies. For the research that looked at massage for RA pain on the arms, she defined moderate pressure as “pressure that moves the skin.” Each person has his own comfort level. “Massage therapists will ask you where you feel pain and also whether the pressure they are applying is enough,” Dr. Field said. If you want to duplicate the results of her research, aim for the pressure that is firm but not so deep as to be painful.

Though the bodywork treatment has benefits for people with rheumatoid arthritis, the question of how long those benefits might last remains unanswered. You might need ongoing treatments or tune-up visits when your pain and stiffness return.

“Massage has been shown to be useful in reducing pain temporarily,” explained A. Lynn Millar, PT, Ph.D., chair, and professor of the department of physical therapy at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. And best of all, she added, there’s no reason not to include massage as part of your RA treatment.

25 Reasons to Get a Massage

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Consumer Survey, 67 percent of individuals surveyed claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical (41 percent) or stress (26 percent) related.

A growing body of research supports the health benefits of massage therapy for conditions such as stress, fibromyalgia, low-back pain, and more. Find out how you can benefit from adding massage therapy to your health and wellness routine.

  1. Relieve stress
  2. Relieve postoperative pain
  3. Reduce anxiety
  4. Manage low-back pain
  5. Help fibromyalgia pain
  6. Reduce muscle tension
  7. Enhance exercise performance
  8. Relieve tension headaches
  9. Sleep better
  10. Ease symptoms of depression
  11. Improve cardiovascular health
  12. Reduce the pain of osteoarthritis
  13. Decrease stress in cancer patients
  14. Improve balance in older adults
  15. Decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain
  16. Temper effects of dementia
  17. Promote relaxation
  18. Lower blood pressure
  19. Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  20. Help chronic neck pain
  21. Lower joint replacement pain
  22. Increase range of motion
  23. Decrease migraine frequency
  24. Improve the quality of life in hospice care
  25. Reduce chemotherapy-related nausea
Further Reading or Viewing

Therapeutic Swedish Massage, Sports Massage Therapy in Santa Barbara, Goleta

*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider.
Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
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