Studies conducted by Mayo Clinic have determined that 1 in 12 women and 1 in 20 men are affected by Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
RA reduces range of motion and causes joint pain. This is because RA is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects muscles, cartilage, connective tissues, and bones.
Patients with RA carry genes related to the occurrence of the disease, although not everyone with these genes will develop the disease in their lifetimes. ArthritisToday.org mentions risk factors to take into account (like drinking, smoking, and other lifestyle choices) in order to conclude someone’s proclivity to suffer from RA.
Research has found that Rheumatoid Arthritis affects women to a greater extent than men, concluding that hormone imbalances play a role in the triggering of the disease. Stress, bacteria and/or emotional trauma have also been linked to RA, but the depth of these studies has not been able to conclude their role in causing RA. What is sure to this date, is that Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease with no cure to this date, but extensive research has been made and it is a manageable disease if the necessary steps are taken.
As a massage therapist, I have come to know and work with people suffering from RA who count on my expertise to relieve their pain and increase their range of motion. In fact, ArthritisToday.org recommends massage therapy to combat the effects of RA and highlights the benefits such as pain relief, greater range of motion (depending on the severity of the disease on the afflicted), and release of stress, which is proven to help the autoimmune system do its work. Stress is known to inhibit the immune system and prolong healing processes. If you have RA, the right treatment and reducing as much stress as possible from your daily life is a must.
- The Arthritis Foundation: http://www.arthritis.org/common-therapies-to-consider.php
- Online Publication Arthritis Today: http://www.arthritistoday.org
- Paper Publication: Arthritis & Rheumatism