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Written by Jeff Zutaut

Surgery, while often a necessity, can be a traumatic event, causing pain and discomfort to the body. Research indicates many patients descend into chronic post-surgical pain. This is any pain that lasts two to three months after a surgical procedure. The question has to be asked: How can you manage chronic pain until your body has had a chance to recover from a surgical procedure?

While pain management is often a varied and multi-piece puzzle, massage should always be considered as part of the plan. With a few modifications to normal massage methods, anyone can safely receive a post-surgery massage and benefit from its use in pain and anxiety management. Indeed, postsurgical massage isn’t just for pain alone. Massage may help reduce inflammation, drain lymphatic build-up and reduce pressure on achy joints. All are great results for post-surgery care.

How Massage Can Help

Knowing all the benefits of postsurgery massage will probably leave you wondering, “When can I begin to receive massage?” It is true that an hourlong, full-body massage is generally not possible directly after a surgical procedure. But receiving a 15-minute hand/foot massage is very safe and is still useful for reducing systemic pain and anxiety. A massage therapist can gently work the hands and feet of a surgical patient, potentially helping them relax and unwind. This also tricks the body into ignoring some of the pain it might be sensing.

One to two weeks after the procedure, after conferring with your doctor, a post-surgical patient can begin to receive longer massages. If the client can lie comfortably on a massage table, a trained massage therapist would be able to administer the massage in a more routine fashion. While taking into account the surgical site, the LMT will adjust the pressure and speed of the massage to meet the needs of the healing body. If the patient cannot lie on the table in a traditional fashion, the LMT can use bolsters and props to make the client as comfortable as possible.

Lymphatic Massage

One form of massage to consider post surgery is lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic massage works with the lymph system of the body to drain excess fluid. It uses a very light touch and can be very relaxing. It can aid in the healing process by helping reduce swelling in the body and around the surgical site. Since the lymph system functions with the immune system, a session of lymphatic drainage can help boost the body’s lowered defenses.

All these potential benefits are available to post-surgical patients. If you have a surgical procedure scheduled and you’re curious about using massage as a pain management tool, your first step would be consulting your doctor and surgeon. Next, you can contact the clinic at LHAA at (859) 252-5656 ext. 1 for help in finding the perfect massage therapist for your post-surgical pain management.

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