People often discount the importance of post-surgery rehabilitation. It is common for people to reduce movement for fear of causing themselves pain, but not moving can actually make recovery take longer. The process of post-surgical rehab allows the body to re-learn its natural movements and keep scar tissue and fascia from building up and restricting movement. Adding massage therapy into your rehabilitation regimen, when your doctor feels you are ready, can get you back to feeling better much faster.
Massage therapy plays two main roles in post-surgery rehab. First, it helps improve joint movement and flexibility by warming up stiff muscles from surgery. Second, it helps increase the circulation of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body into tissues and vital organs that have been affected by surgery. Overall, this helps accelerate the recovery process.
When visiting a massage therapist after surgery, make sure to be clear about your particular surgery and how your body is feeling. It is also helpful to have recommendations from your physician as to any restrictions they suggest for that stage of your healing. This will ensure that your massage therapist knows which muscles to target and what movements may need to be avoided. It is also helpful to work with a massage therapist who has experience with injury and surgery recovery. I have worked with clients recovering from hip replacement, rotator cuff repair and knee surgeries.