Whether breast surgery is a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction, most patients will more than likely experience some range of pain due to nerves in the breast being severed or injured during surgery. Because not every patient is alike, treatment options will vary depending on the types of surgery and the severity of the pain. A recent research study has shown that drug-free modalities, specifically myofascial massage, can improve pain and increase mobility in patients after breast cancer surgery.
The study, which included 21 women who were still experiencing pain and mobility restrictions 3-18 months after surgery, took place at a clinical massage spa in the Midwest in the U.S. The subjects were randomly divided into two groups: the intervention patients who received the myofascial massages, and the control patients who received relaxation massages. Participants from both groups were similar in age, medical conditions, pain levels, decreased mobility ranges, and quality of life.
For eight weeks, the participants in the intervention group received two myofascial massage sessions per week that concentrated on the affected breast, chest, and shoulder areas, while the control group participants received the same amount of relaxation massages that avoided those affected areas. The findings, originally published in August 2018 in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, indicated that the intervention patients experienced substantially decreased pain levels and increased mobility levels than those of the control group. Based on the outcomes, the researchers recommended that health care providers prescribe massage treatments to their patients who are experience persistent pain or restricted mobility.
That study also concluded that participants from both the intervention group and the control group reacted positively to massage as a treatment. In addition to helping reduce pain and increase mobility, massage may also improve other cancer-related concerns like fatigue, depression, and anxiety in patients.
If you have a calling for compassion and would like to work with oncology patients to help them ease their side effects of cancer treatments, LHAA offers advanced training in hospital based massage therapy – the first of its kind in Kentucky. Learn more here.
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