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Home Blog Top 4 Limb Loss Issues Treated by Massage Therapy

Top 4 Limb Loss Issues Treated by Massage Therapy

Posted in: Amputee, Prosthetic

Posted on: by Level Four

massage therapy

Traumatic and life-altering, limb loss is marked by a long journey towards recovery both internally and externally. Massage therapy can help this recuperation, easing everything from muscle stiffness to swelling to sleep difficulties. Through this medium, trained technicians use a variety of manual techniques to target joints and tissues, easing not just the physical pain of limb loss, but targeting emotional and psychological roots of discomfort as well. Below are just a few of the issues alieved by massage stimulation, recommended by our team at Orthotics and Prosthetics by Design:

  • Swelling: Excess fluid pools in new residual limbs as blood circulation takes a hit and works to adjust to its new normal. Fluid buildup creates pressure from within, which leads to tingling and numbness. Resulting swelling can also interfere with prosthetic fit, creating skin irritation through excessive friction. Special massage techniques can reduce swelling by helping redistribute fluid from where it is pooled in the limb to other parts of the body.
  • Phantom pain: Following amputation, phantom pain – discomfort in the limb that no longer exists – can create sensations of cramping, throbbing, and burning. As your brain’s sensory wires untangle themselves and rewire to other parts of your body, it confuses the loss of input from the site of amputation and reads it as pain. Massage therapy stimulates sensory input at the site of limb loss, temporarily overcoming your brain’s interpretation of pain.
  • Muscle spasms: Limb loss affects your entire body, not just area surrounding the residual limb. Spasms, stiffness, and tightness in seemingly unrelated muscles occur as they compensate for the lack of a limb and bear weight and motion they weren’t designed to handle. A massage technician will first determine the type of muscle restriction and resulting pain to formulate a specific plan to target affected areas, incorporating massage techniques or things like trigger point therapy to alleviate pain.
  • Scar tissue: Tougher and less elastic than unaffected skin, scar tissue surrounding a residual limb creates restriction of mobility. Itching, stiffness, and aches can also stem from the immovable surface layer of skin, cropping up in skin stretched too tightly and joints aching from reduced range of motion. Transverse friction massages rub skin perpendicular to the scar line, helping properly align the collagen fibers of the scar and alleviating tightness of surrounding skin and joints.

Our team at Orthotics and Prosthetics by Design is here for you every step of your recovery. Set up an appointment to meet with one of our experts to determine if massage therapy can benefit you.