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Balance issues, massage and arthritis

Created date

July 20th, 2015

Q. I am 89 years old and have several problems that affect my sense of balance, including vertigo, spinal stenosis, and a past knee surgery. What can I do to stay active?

A. Your underlying medical conditions need to be optimally treated first. Your primary doctor should be able to coordinate your care for you in this regard, and also make sure you aren’t prescribed any medications that may be incompatible or have unwanted side effects. Physical and/or occupational therapy may also help, as can regular podiatric care. A podiatrist can fit you for proper shoes and also determine whether any foot problems are throwing you off balance. Maintaining your balance is absolutely essential, so don’t wait to talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Q. I have arthritis is my knees and back and wonder if massage would help reduce pain?

A. Massage therapy has been touted as a cure-all for many things, but relieving arthritis symptoms has been borne out by scientific research as a legitimate benefit. There are many types of massage, including Swedish, hot stone, and deep tissue, but Swedish massage seems to confer the most health benefits. This technique involves massaging major muscle groups with long strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. This technique has been shown to significantly improve joint function and reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis. Research also suggests that this technique may reduce levels of stress hormones. Massage is generally a safe practice, but talk to your doctor before booking your first appointment.  


Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. This month our expert is

Dimitri Cefalu, M.D.

Medical Director, Seabrook

Tinton Falls, N.J.

Dr. Cefalu received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and his medical degree from the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J. Board-certified in internal medicine, Cefalu joined Seabr... in April 2001.