June 13 2023

Massage Therapy vs. Physical Therapy

There are many different types of therapies that can help persons with an amputation manage discomfort and adjust to life without a limb and wearing a prosthesis.  Thankfully, there are many options that can make for a happy and healthy life after an amputation. Here we explore both massage therapy and physical therapy and how these practices can help.


Massage Therapy


Massage therapy is often used to help reduce the effects of phantom pain and sensations. This is when there is a feeling of stabbing, burning, itching or twisting in the part of the body where the limb once was. It can be very uncomfortable for a person with an amputation. Massage therapists can target the end of the amputation that can help reduce the phantom pain.


Not only can it be painful where the limb once was, the remaining part of the limb, the residual limb, can be very painful. Massage therapy can help relieve some of the discomfort by promoting a healthy amount of blood circulation and breaking up the scar tissue with massage to help prevent sensitivity and pain.


Those living with an amputation who use a prosthesis for mobility use more energy than those without an amputation.  Massage can help relieve the stress and tension that their muscles go through to maintain an active lifestyle.


Physical Therapy


Physical therapy is a tool that is most often used to help a person with an amputation with muscle strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Physical therapists will also help to teach those with an amputation how to most efficiently complete everyday tasks with a prosthetic or how to do tasks differently after a limb amputation.  From learning how to walk again to reaching other mobility goals Physical therapy is an integral part of the recovery process and rehabilitation after an amputation.  It promotes independence which helps both physical and mental health after surgery.


In conclusion, massage therapy can be used to help control phantom and muscle pain or discomfort associated with limb loss. Physical therapy is the best option when working on building strength and finding the best way to do everyday tasks after surgery.  Sometimes, working with a Massage Therapist and Physical Therapist concurrently can be of great advantage as well.  It is important to consult your Prosthetist to create a plan of action that will result in a productive, active or pain-free life.





Tags: amputation, amputee, newamputee, personwithamputation, massage, physicaltherapy, massagetherapy