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You’ve recently undergone surgery for treatment for an injury or medical condition. Now you’re currently going through rehabilitation for that same issue. Your doctor tells you that you should be getting massages. If you’re lucky, the rehabilitation center you’re going to will already have a massage therapist on staff. However, not all of them do. 

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In this case, you may need more information on how massage therapy can help you as you go through rehabilitation.

You may be thinking massage is just for relaxation. It’s for much more than that. One of the benefits of massage is relaxation, but massage can also help with the recovery of the muscle tissues making your healing process faster and easier.  

Read on to understand better how massage can help you as you go through rehab.

The Benefits of Massage for Rehabilitation and Injury Recovery

When the body is recovering from an injury, surgery, trauma, or damage, massage therapy is a highly effective way to aid in recovery.

By stimulating circulation, the nervous system, and the lymphatic system, massage therapy helps in all stages of healing.

Massage Therapy can also help decrease stress hormones such as cortisol; these stress hormones can make it harder for our bodies to recover from a traumatic incident if left unchecked.

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Long after the body has recovered, massage therapy can be used long after recovery to prevent further incidents of the same problem. Massage can even eliminate issues that could develop as side effects, such as a significant accumulation of scar tissue, reducing your long-term pain, and improving your range of motion over time. 

Below are just a few of the benefits of massage while going through rehabilitation:

  • Pain reduction 
  • Relaxation
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Decrease depressive symptoms
  • Limiting post-exertional malaise 
  • Improving self-efficacy
  • Higher self-esteem levels
  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Decreased muscle spasms
  • Increased mental clarity

When Is It Safe to Have a Massage after a surgery or injury?

You may be wondering if it’s safe for you to have a massage after your surgery or injury. Even though your doctor is recommending it, is it truly safe?

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While massage therapy can help with recovery after surgery or injuries they’re not the best option for everyone.

The typical answer you would get from most professionals is that two weeks after surgery, you can get a massage. 

However, it is always best to consult with your doctor for how long you should wait. Your doctor may have already told you this information when they suggested getting a massage. Considering how much information they have to give you each time your doctor sees you, they may have overlooked this critical piece of information.

Depending on what type of surgery you have had, certain kinds of massages will be beneficial for you, but others will not.

In the case of orthopedic surgery, you should avoid deep tissue massage because it can increase the swelling and inflammation around the area of the surgery. 

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A case where you might want to avoid massage therapy altogether is after any abdominal surgery. After this type of surgery, the abdominal cavity is very delicate. Any pulling or pushing on the sides or back of the body can reopen surgical wounds.

If you still wish to receive a massage after abdominal surgery to benefit from relaxation, you may want to try reflexology. Reflexology is a form of hand and foot massage. While this will not eliminate the pain in the abdominal cavity, it can reduce the anxiety that can accumulate while recovering from a traumatic experience.

How your massage therapist Designs an Effective Treatment Plan

To design the most effective treatment, a massage therapist has to go through various steps. If they are working side-by-side with your doctor, many of those steps are already taken care of through SOAP (Subjective, Objective, Assessment, and Plan) notes that the doctor or physical therapist has taken. 

However, if these are not readily available to your massage therapists, your consultation with them may take more time. Some private practice massage therapists may even include additional time with your appointment alongside the hands-on time. This extra time allows them to have a conversation with you to get all of the information needed to provide you with the best possible treatment for your concerns.

Massage therapy is not just about applying pressure to the different parts of your body. The specific techniques used are skills developed over months of repeating the same motions repeatedly while studying the theory behind every stroke.

To begin, your massage therapist will ask you a variety of questions. 

These questions can be about:

  • Your pain levels.
  • How your problem affects your day-to-day life.
  • Your stress levels. 
  • What medications you are taking. 
  • What kind of treatments or at-home therapies you are currently involved in as part of your rehabilitation process. 
  • Assessing your readiness to receive massages as a treatment.

They also discuss possible causes of discomfort, including physical, emotional, and mental issues.

The next step is a physical assessment. 

This may look familiar to you as it is similar to the same assessments conducted by doctors before you had your surgery and as you’re going through physical therapy. These physical tests can include: 

  • Having you move your limbs or body in different directions while stating your pain levels.
  • Using various tools or graphs to understand how much range of motion you have.
  • Having you perform simple exercises such as walking in place for a few seconds.
  • Palapating different areas of the body to check for tenderness and soft tissue quality.

Performing these movements, stretches, and gentle exercises allows a massage therapist to understand what will and will not help you. 

Your massage therapist uses all of this information to design short-term and long-term treatment plans that can help your body recover from your surgery or injury.

If through these assessments they feel you should avoid massage, consult with a massage therapist who specializes in different techniques they do, or see another type of specialist, they will provide you with the best suggestions they have on hand.

When you are ready for a massage to help with rehabilition

When customized by a professional based on your specific needs, massage therapy is very beneficial in helping the body recover from surgeries and injuries through a boost in the healing process.

Check out our article here about massage and pain management.

For more information about massage and rehab from another source check out Massage mag.

If your doctor has given you the green light to receive massage therapy during your rehabilitation process, we here at Zen Is In The massage Therapy are here to help.

Text us at 480-359-7452 to book your in-home appointment now.

Do you have any questions about massage and rehabilitation? Leave them in the comments below.  

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