Lymph drainage massage for acute injury and post surgical inflammation

Surgery and injury causes an acute inflammatory response, with swelling, redness, heat and pain. This inflammatory response is your body’s natural response to injury to begin the repair and healing process. However, as your body prioritizes repair over function, the swelling and inflammation can often be more than what is necessary. There can also be a level of bruising and a slowing of drainage of excess fluid from the affected tissues.

Lymph drainage massage works directly on your lymphatic system, a secondary circulatory system responsible for waste collection and a core part of your immune system. During the acute phase of an injury or post-surgery, working on your lymphatic system can help control the level of inflammation and swelling and reduce the appearance of bruising. The treatment encourages drainage of excess fluids, including red blood cells, from the damaged tissues, allows fresh blood supply in and helps to speed up the healing process. At the same time, working your lymphatic system in this way will boost your immune system, helping you to fight off any secondary infections that you may be more susceptible to.

At Dublin Therapeutic Massage Clinic, we use lymph drainage massage post-surgically and in the acute phase of an injury. We begin treatment once any stitches have been removed and medical advice has been sought for injuries. When we are satisfied that these conditions have been met and there is no other reason that treatment would be unadvisable, we do an assessment and follow through with appropriate treatment. We often recommend and teach self-treatment or we can show a family member simple techniques for daily treatment between visits.

Once you have moved passed the acute phase of response, therapeutic deep tissue massage can help to align scar tissue with the aim of restoring normal function, range of movement, strength and elasticity and to avoid developing musculoskeletal or post-surgical pain. This early intervention and treatment ensures optimal recovery in the shortest possible time with significantly reduced risk of future issues such as postural pulls due to scar tissue, compensatory postural patterns, re-injury and pain. (see ‘Therapeutic deep tissue massage for musculoskeletal pain’ for more details.)