Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

pic of bandaging a knee post-surgery
Recovery after Surgery

Post-Surgery Massage Therapy

Why Do Massage Therapy Post-Surgery?

After surgery, your body has been through a tremendous amount of stress. Surgery is very traumatic for your body. Using massage therapy helps your immune system to do a better job to heal post-surgery. It also reduces stress and anxiety before and after surgery. Post-surgery, massage therapy significantly reduces pain and post-surgical swelling. It also reduces atrophy and scar tissue. Clients that seem to benefit the most from post-surgery massage therapy treatments include those who have undergone shoulder rotator-cuff surgeries, breast reconstruction post-mastectomy, knee reconstruction, and hip replacement.

What Does the Research Say About Massage Therapy after Surgery?

  • We, therefore, recommend that manual calf massage and passive ankle motion be performed in patients who will undergo total hip arthroplasty if deep vein thrombosis does not exist before the surgery. (Imai, N et al, 2017)
  • The results of this research provide evidence to support the use of relaxation techniques and back massage at bed rest times of patients to decrease pain and anxiety after surgery. (Buyukyilmaz, F et al, 2013)
  • Myofascial massage is a promising treatment to address chronic pain and mobility limitations following breast cancer surgery. (Massingil, J et al, 2018)

By Dr. Pamela Frank, Naturopathic Doctor, updated Jan. 6, 2020

Research on Massage Therapy After Surgery

J Orthop Sci. 2017 Jul;22(4):726-730. doi: 10.1016/j.jos.2017.03.006. Epub 2017 Mar 24.
Manual calf massage and passive ankle motion reduce the incidence of deep vein thromboembolism after total hip arthroplasty.
Imai N1, Ito T2, Suda K3, Miyasaka D3, Endo N3.

Pain Manag Nurs. 2013 Sep;14(3):143-54. doi: 10.1016/j.pmn.2010.11.001. Epub 2011 Jan 28.
The effect of relaxation techniques and back massage on pain and anxiety in Turkish total hip or knee arthroplasty patients.
Büyükyılmaz F1, Aştı T.

Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2018 Aug 5;11(3):4-9. eCollection 2018 Aug.
Myofascial Massage for Chronic Pain and Decreased Upper Extremity Mobility After Breast Cancer Surgery.
Massingill J1, Jorgensen C1, Dolata J2, Sehgal AR2,3.

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