Achy Joints – Is It Arthritis or Something Else?

I’ll bet that a lot of you either complain about achy joints or know someone who does.  Do you or they assume it’s arthritis?  Do you complain to your doctor about it and he or she assumes it’s arthritis and prescribes arthritis pain medication?  What if it isn’t?  What do you do then?

Barring a torn or missing meniscus (the cartilage cushion in the joint), torn ligaments, and verified arthritis (by x-ray), there’s something you can do yourself to help alleviate your pain.  What is it?  It’s massage and you can do it yourself on most joints or see a massage therapist and ask them to do the work.  I’ve had achy knees for years but they only bothered me in tight seating situations – not enough leg-room in cars or planes.  So I didn’t do anything about it for years either.

Then one day my daughter (23) came home from working in a barn in late fall and got out the heating pad for her elbow.  She broke this elbow twice in essentially the same place the same way (getting bucked off) three years apart.  She never finished her physical therapy and could not touch her own shoulder with her hand.  The tendons around her elbow were pretty tight.

Being the massage therapist that I was trained to be and the mother that I am, I asked if I could work on her elbow.  “It’s in the BONE, Moooom,” in that tone of voice that only our own children use on only us.  However, I knew that she didn’t have arthritis and I was pretty sure that she had tight tendons that tightened up even more in cold weather.  She did, though, allow me to work on her elbow.  Sure enough, those tight tendons were like guitar strings – thin and twangy!  She never complained but her eyes lit up like sparklers, letting me know that I had, in fact, found the right spots.  I worked on her for about five minutes that time and again the next day.  She never needed the heating pad again.

Then a week or so later, it hit me (I’m a little slow, myself) that my knees were probably achy for the same reason – some tight soft tissue around the knee caps.  So I dug in.  Yes, indeed, I was right again!  And, boy, was I surprised at how tender some of those spots were!  Now I try to work on my knees more often and even have my massage therapist work on them, too.

My elbows often ache at night, so I tested my theory again on them.  Yup, tight soft tissue around the elbows.

Then I met someone at a horse show and she was rubbing her knee.  I asked about it and she was convinced it was arthritis in the knee.  I asked her to point to where it hurt.  She pointed to a spot about three inches below the knee.  Definitely not the joint!  So I massaged the area which was actually swollen and let her know what I thought – not arthritis and get a massage.  She was happy to hear that!

The bottom line?  Get someone to deeply massage your joints if they ache.  It might not be the final solution, but it’s always worth a try.

Let me know if this helped you.


About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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One Response to Achy Joints – Is It Arthritis or Something Else?

  1. Pingback: Arthritis and How Massage Can Help « RON SOFT TISSUE THERAPIST

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