David Weintraub, LMT and owner of Bodyworks DW, writes about the benefits of supplementing your physical therapy plan with massage therapy treatment.
7 Reasons why this powerful combination works
Pain sucks. As a massage therapist, I would know. Almost everyone who comes to see me does so because they're in pain!
Most of the time, my clients have such a powerful response to massage therapy they don't need additional therapies. However, that isn't always the case. I always look for clues that indicate I need to refer a client to another practitioner, such as a physical therapist.
Physical therapy and massage therapy are both powerful methods for treating pain. By focusing on correcting the underlying muscular imbalances that have caused it in the first place. When used together, they can help clients achieve faster and better results.
There are several reasons why massage therapy is effective for anyone who is already receiving physical therapy.
Here are the top 7:
- Providing pain relief, often times after the first session
- Increasing range of motion so that the body can move better
- Decreasing local inflammation by working above and below the area
- Lessening the pain clients may be feeling during or after physical therapy exercises
- Decreasing the pain clients may feel post-surgery
- Bringing faster results than just physical therapy alone
- Motivating clients to stick to their physical therapy treatment plan
That's the short version of why massage therapy and physical therapy are a powerful combination. If you're interested in a more detailed explanation, read below!
1) Massage therapy helps by treating short and overused muscles.
The goal of many physical therapy exercises is to help strengthen any weak muscles that are causing pain symptoms. The goal is that by strengthening weak muscles, the body will move & feel healthier. But that's only half the picture.
When it comes to muscles, imbalance happens when one muscle is weak and long while another muscle is overused and short. In order to correct this, BOTH of these problems need to be addressed. This means following the exercises provided by a physical therapist teaching clients how to engage and strengthen muscles that are weak. It also means using massage therapy to address the muscles that are chronically overused.
The right massage therapist will focus on releasing these tight muscles as well as lengthening them when they've gotten short. This can help effectively decrease pain while also improving range of motion and helping the nervous system learn how to move better!
2) Massage therapy will help with physical therapy.
Studies show that one major obstacle to physical therapy treatment is that many will stop coming in if the exercises are painful to do, or if their pain doesn't decrease right away. (Source: Read this article) Basically, if the work is too hard and painful, people are a lot less likely to do it. Massage therapy can decrease pain often with immediate results, which will help provide motivation to stick to the physical therapist's treatment plan.
3) Massage therapy can help post-surgery.
Sometimes people will experience new aches and pains after their recovery from a surgery, even while doing physical therapy. This can happen due to a change in the body alignment and how the body moves after the procedure. If clients are already doing regular physical therapy and still experiencing pain post-surgery, I suggest asking a doctor if it’s medically safe to try massage therapy.
For more detailed information on how massage therapy can help post-surgery, please check out this in-depth article: Click Here!