Massage Therapy for Post Surgical Hips and Knees

by admin on December 9, 2010

Your body is an amazing organism and one of the functions it performs extremely well is the formation of scar tissue in response to trauma.  After hip or knee surgery (or both if you’re really lucky), you’ll experience stiffness, swelling, reduced range of movement and the formation of large amounts of scar tissue – a collagen-based tissue that develops as a result of the inflammatory process.  Although scar tissue formation is a protective response from the body, it’s not like normal healthy tissue.  It consists of undesirable fixed, rigid tissue that sticks to everything, gumming up the areas where it’s found.  It doesn’t expand and contract like normal healthy tissue, has less sensory nerve innervations and protective sensation than normal tissue, and in some cases, is more sensitive to cold.  What all this means is that you’ll experience changes in biomechanics and resultant pain, discomfort, and difficulty returning to maximum function.

Scar tissue is caused by the initial surgical incision and trauma to the muscles and surrounding structures – they get moved about or even separated from their original attachment sites and then are reattached either to the original site or to the new best possible remaining site. Whew…sounds nasty!

Generally, you’ll have been referred to a physiotherapist who will help you with your initial recovery and rehab.  But how will you deal with the job of reducing scar tissue contractures, adhesions and tight, guarded muscles as the healing process progresses?  Well….you’re most likely aware that a Registered Massage Therapist can help you with tight, guarded muscles, but you might not know that massage is also effective in loosening adhesions between scar tissue and the surrounding soft tissues like fascia and muscles.  Also, heat coupled with slow sustained elongation of the scar and adjacent tissue has been shown to soften scar tissue by freeing restrictive fibrous bands and increasing circulation.  That, in turn, increases collagen scar tissue extensibility and promotes faster recovery.

If you’re a post surgical patient, it’s important that you not suffer needlessly because of untreated scar tissue adhesions and muscle contractions.  Give us a call at Bayswater if any of the above rings true for you, and we’ll book you in to begin your return to maximal recovery and function.

My best,

Heather Scheibal

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