Friday, April 1, 2011

Post Surgery Recovery for Rotator Cuff

Being in the massage field for over 15 years, you would think, one would have many referrals from physicians concerning post surgical care when considering rotator cuff surgery. It just doesn't happen unless the primary care doctor is a Naturopathic physician or possibly an Osteopath. What is the disconnect? Truly it is uncertain beyond the fact that there is no specific training on that topic in the curriculum concerning traditional western methods; and that means, no need to mention or consider it as viable to the surgical recipient.

Most of the pain associated with the recovery and extended use after a shoulder reconstruction is due to scar tissue and uncoordinated muscle function. After a surgery of the muscles and tendons, the areas of damage and repair have no choice but to develop scar tissue. These particular functions of the muscle are the body's natural defense to protect the injured area with fatty tissue. This fatty tissue can act as glue of sorts, interconnecting the muscle, fascia, (which is a layer or sheath around the muscle) and the skin over the musculature. These tissues are meant to be free from one another and move independently of the other. The binding of these tissues causes pain, discomfort, dysfunction and can be a lasting long term problem.

The recommend traditional treatment for this in most situations would be another arthroscopic process to remove the scar tissue that has developed. Here is the clincher; this causes more scar tissue. This is a never ending process. Now if the first surgery is needed, the second surgery can likely be avoided by spending quality time with a well trained massage therapist, who understands fascia and tendonitis protocols. In my opinion, by the time the patient is released to physical therapy, it is time to begin a therapeutic massage program. The muscle and tendon needs, movement, increased blood flow, oxygenation, mild stretching, mild heat, icing, mild friction and passive and active movement. These are all given by the trained massage professional.

Another valuable asset and technological advance is cold laser therapy. This can be a tremendous help and increase the function, decrease inflammation, reduce the pain, increase mobility and hasten recovery.