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TENS, Massage Therapy Effective for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Experts Say

Of the hundred or so joint disorders affecting mankind, rheumatoid arthritis or simply RA has been identified as one of the most common, along with osteoarthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. When allowed to get worse, RA stands next to osteoarthritis as a cause for joint replacement procedures. Such is the severity of this condition, which has been known to reduce quality of life and even shorten life expectancy.

In a review done by medical experts based on various clinical trials, they have named electrical stimulation and massage therapy as among the tools that can be used to manage this serious condition along with medical therapy. These two types of therapies have been shown to contribute greatly to the relief of pain, prevention of further joint damage, and improvement of the different functions of the patients.

Electrical Stimulation

For many years now, electrical stimulation has been used by sufferers of RA mainly to relive the pain. The most common method is the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy or simply TENS and this has also been determined as the most beneficial among methods that use electrical stimulation. A number of studies have reported that a daily session of TENS for 15 minutes allowed patients to increase considerably their hand grip strength and a significant reduction of pain after using the therapy once a week for just a period of three weeks.

Another study also claimed that there was a reduction of the synovial fluid and inflammatory exudates after a TENS session which may in part explain the relief of pain among patients. It was also noted a TENS application after a knee joint procedure drastically reduced the need for pain relief medications and shortened hospital stay. In all, analysis of all previous studies has led the authors to conclude that electrical stimulation, particularly TENS, is an effective method in addressing pain, discomfort, swelling, and in managing functional loss.

Massage Therapy

The ever-increasing popularity of massage therapy is well deserved based on countless studies that demonstrated the huge benefits gained with this therapy. This includes in the management of RA which has been shown to improve flexibility, enhances overall well-being, significantly reduces swelling of inflamed joints, and works very well with other forms of treatment. A study has reported that pain thresholds decreased substantially when massage therapy was applied on the affected parts, giving prominence to the ankles and knees. As an added benefit, it has long been acknowledged and substantiated by numerous studies that massage is effective in dealing with depression, anxiety, and pain, which the authors believed may have to do with the reduction of stress hormone levels.

Physiotherapy and Rehabilitations Therapies

In addition to electrical stimulation and massage, other forms of therapies have produced very positive outcomes based on clinical trials. These may find application for those suffering RA or any other medical condition. The availability of numerous options should be advantageous to the patient since the patient may have a choice on a method that meets his or her need as well as other factors. Having a variety of choices should not be a problem if a patient chooses a provider that is complete in all forms of physiotherapy and rehabilitation modalities.