Many people with arthritis and other joint disorders have experienced great relief from soft tissue work. Muscle can become tight enough to pull the bones and joints out of alignment. This can cause arthritis over time. Getting that released can feel so much better. This is because it can help the bones and joints go back into proper alignment. It has also help relieve nerve pain caused by tight muscle. The nerves are embedded into the muscles. When muscle becomes tight, it squeezes on the nerves. Another way of getting arthritis is with a traumatic injury. This is when a single event can cause the joint to become misaligned and/or damaged. This can cause the muscle around the joint to lock up, to provide stability to the joint, causing a great deal of pain. Again, many people have experienced a great deal of relief from having that soft tissue released. I have even had clients tell me that they thought that they had arthritis, until they received soft tissue work.
In massage school, when we are taught to look at the muscles as a single system, we are taught to rub on tight muscles and press and trigger points and stretch soft tissue. That is the extent we are taught. We were not taught why we are doing this. This is an important piece of the puzzle. Not knowing the neurological connection won't correct anything long term and just come back. There are numerous modalities out there for finding that connection. Neurokinetic therapy is the one that I am familiar with and use. It looks for the brain connection and tells me why a muscle is tight, instead of rubbing on a tight muscle, without knowing why, and then creating instability as a result. By knowing the brain connection and why it is tight, it can help create more long term relief.
We are taught in massage school that pain and tightness coming back is normal. While that philosophy is great for business, it just simply is not true. It does not mean lifestyle factors can't bring it back, but my clients rarely see me for the same exact thing over and over. If they do, it means that something else is going on. When seeking out a therapist for pain relief, seek out someone trained to do evaluations and assessments. Skip the traditional way of rubbing out tight muscles without knowing why they are tight, unless you like pain and want more of it.