Of all the types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis are among the most disabling. While many bodyworkers are familiar with rheumatoid arthritis, much fewer have an understanding of psoriatic arthritis.
Massage is one of the most common complementary therapies for everything from anxiety and insomnia to back and neck pain. If you have psoriatic arthritis (PsA), massage may relieve some of the pain and stress associated with the condition.
Massage can actually improve your emotional state by reducing stress hormones and increasing feel-good brain chemicals, like serotonin. That emotional lift can benefit many people living with psoriatic arthritis.
The following factors may contribute to psoriasis development, worsening or flare-ups:
Cold, dry weather
Stress and anxiety
Psoriatic arthritis patients who also have skin psoriasis may be concerned that massage could make their condition worse. In some cases, skin injuries or infections can cause new psoriasis plaques to form. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon. But the risk of massage triggering that kind of reaction is not very likely, according to Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in Daytona Beach, Florida
For massage therapists, psoriatic arthritis is treated the same as rheumatoid arthritis:
Avoid areas that are hot and inflamed.
Strive for joint mobility and pain reduction when there is no active inflammation.
For people with psoriatic arthritis, the goal of massage therapy isn’t necessarily just about relieving aches and pains. Massage could be part of a larger treatment plan that includes other complementary therapies, such as diet and lifestyle changes.
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