Osteoarthritis affects about 27 million Americans. It can make walking, even moving, an extreme challenge. Many people resort to surgery or drugs to alleviate their pain.
Life is series of obstacles for Don Macpherson.
“When I come in here, I’m all hunched over like this,” says Macpherson.
Macpherson battles stiffness, pain and immobility brought on by several medical issues. His treatment of choice is massage.
“Without Silvana, I’d be in a wheelchair. I get up in the morning, I can hardly move. I come down here; I get a massage three times a week. She keeps me moving,” says Macpherson.
While it certainly can be a luxury, massage is also a therapy. Especially for certain health conditions that impact the joints and movement.
“My job is to release the tension in the muscle, so that there is an easier way to move the joint, less painful,” says Silvana Coomer, a massage therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.
The National Institute of Health sponsored a study looking at the affects of massage on osteoarthritis. It found symptoms were greatly improved through Swedish massage.
“Even the lightest of massage can have a medical benefit. Swedish massage favors the circulation, so blood coming to the surface is therapeutic in that way,” says Coomer.
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of cartilage, which is the part of a joint that cushions the ends of bones. Eventually there is bone on bone contact, which causes the stiffness and pain. At Lee Center for Rehabilitation and Wellness, Macpherson is able to stretch and lubricate his joints.
Bones are put together with tendon and ligament. Our job is to make sure that this ligament become a little softer. Every time that I do the range of motion, every time I do a stimulated synovial liquid to enter the particular area, there is benefit to the client,” says Coomer.
Massage doesn’t affect the underlying condition, but it’s given Macpherson a new lease on life.
“I’ll leave here, I’ll go play two rounds of golf,” says Macpherson.