Massage for Post-op
Did you know that massage therapy can be a valuable treatment to complement physiotherapy after an operation?
Recently I treated a client who’d undergone a knee replacement operation – just a week previously. The dressing was still on, bruising still apparent, and as well as the knee itself being inflamed because of the trauma inflicted by the operation, the thigh and the lower leg were swollen because of fluid retention. He was in pain and with very limited mobility. I should say at this point that the consultant had given him permission to have a massage and he had already begun physiotherapy to regain mobility and strength. Needless to say, the massage was firm but gentle, yet after the first appointment pain had decreased, mobility improved and the following day, swelling had reduced.
Massage therapy helps recovery in the aftermath of orthopaedic surgery, from the early days of physical and mental healing to the ongoing recuperation of strength and mobility.
In the initial recovery phase massage encourages physical and mental relaxation reducing stress and anxiety, which promotes recovery. It helps to relax tense muscles which may have contracted to protect the injured area.
Massage helps reduce fluid retention and swelling by stimulating the lymphatic system and encouraging waste elimination.
Massage helps prevent scar tissue from building up, which can inhibit mobility, and assists in regaining a good range of movement when scar tissue has already built up. It also addresses muscular imbalances that form during the recovery period as other muscles are recruited to compensate for the injured limb and posture and gait are effected.
Of course, surgery will have been undertaken to resolve an existing, probably long term, problem. So, it’s likely that prior to surgery the person’s movement was in some way compromised, creating other bio-mechanical discrepancies, which add to the complexity of ultimate recovery.
If you know someone who is about to undergo or has already undergone orthopaedic surgery, even if it was several months or even years ago, suggest that they consider massage therapy as part of their recovery process. It can help them along on the journey back to full mobility and an active, fulfilling life.