Any kind of back surgery, even minimally invasive surgery, is hard on your body. After a successful surgery, you want to heal and get back to your normal life as quickly as possible. Most people who undergo back surgery learn the recovery basics from their surgeon:
- Rest, then exercise a little bit at a time
- Have patience and don’t overdo it
- Take pain medicine as prescribed
- Maintain a positive attitude
But more and more, the medical community is touting the health benefits of massage therapy as one piece of your back surgery recovery. Massage stimulates your blood flow, which speeds the healing process. Besides, it makes you feel good, even if you get a massage on your extremities like your head, hands, arms, legs and feet.
The Benefits of Massage
Massage in general has many health benefits, making it an especially helpful therapy for back surgery recovery. A therapeutic massage, which is gentler and more health-conscious than other forms of massage, can help relieve pain. Massage has many other benefits too, including:
- Boosts your immune system
- Encourages oxygen and nutrients to move in your body
- Helps repair muscles affected by your surgery
- Increases the production of endorphins
- Eliminates muscle spasms
- Helps your skin recuperate from the surgery
- Improves your mood
You may find that a massage feels so good that you continue getting them even after your back surgery recovery is complete. While a weekly massage can do wonders for your health, you can enjoy the above benefits even from a monthly massage.
Post-Op Massage Concerns
While you can’t jump right from the operating table to the massage table, it’s generally safe to begin massage sessions once your external incision point has healed fully. The incision area may feel tender for some time, so be sure to tell your massage therapist that you just had back surgery and where you’re feeling the most tender.
An experienced therapeutic massage therapist won’t cause you more pain. In fact, a good massage should help relieve your pain. Get recommendations for your massage therapist. Talk to him or her beforehand. It’s important to find one who listens to you and doesn’t try to do too much with you. But once you find that person, it’s a relationship to treasure for years to come.
Your Back Surgery Recovery
Take your recovery seriously. Follow your surgeon’s instructions to the letter. Enlist your family and friends to help, especially immediately after your procedure. Remember that physical therapy can get you back on your feet with a minimum of discomfort. And massage can play a part as well.
Talk to your doctor. Ask your surgeon. Discuss it with your physical therapist. Each may have a different perspective, but all will agree that therapeutic massage is good for you in many different ways. So make massage part of your back surgery recovery.