Massage Therapy in Post-operative Care

What is post-operative care?

Post-operative care is a critical part of medical treatment that aims to support patients after surgery. It involves medical attention, pain management, and monitoring to ensure a safe and smooth recovery period. Patients may receive care from various healthcare professionals and may be provided with instructions on wound care, medication management, and physical activity restrictions during their recovery period.

Whit a focus on orthopedic surgeries, such as hip or knee replacement, some general aspects of post-operative care are common to most patients. These include:

  1. Pain management should be individualized and based on the patient’s level of pain and tolerance for medication. 
  2. Physiotherapy should begin on the day of surgery and continue throughout the hospital stay and after discharge. 
  3. Mobilization should be encouraged as soon as possible after surgery to achieve independence in activities of daily living. 
  4. Wound care should follow best practice guidelines to minimize the risk of infection and promote healing. 
  5. Patients should be monitored closely for signs of complications, such as deep vein thrombosis or infection.

What is the role of Massage Therapy in post-operative care?

Massage therapy is a complementary therapy that is sometimes used as part of post-operative care in Australia. This intervention can be particularly beneficial for patients who have undergone orthopedic surgeries, such as total hip replacement or knee replacement surgery. These surgeries can cause stiffness and tension in the surrounding muscles, which can contribute to pain and slow the recovery process. Massage therapy can help to loosen up these muscles, improving the range of motion and reducing pain.

Massage therapy is beneficial and recommended as part of post-operative care. A meta-analysis study (2022) suggested that massage therapy can be effective for postoperative pain relief. In addition, a quasi-experimental study (2016) also found that receiving massage treatment after surgery can improve the quality of recovery, including emotional state, physical comfort, psychological support, and physical independence. What’s more, a case study (2012) pointed out that massage intervention can be beneficial in reducing disabilities, such as the ability to walk, travel and sleep.

Overall, massage therapy has been proven to be advantageous for post-operative care, as it can alleviate pain, enhance recovery quality, and decrease disability. However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of massage therapy may vary depending on the individual patient’s needs and the specific type of massage therapy used. Patients should always discuss the use of massage therapy with their healthcare team to determine if it is appropriate for their individual needs.

Why choose Studio X Phys?

Studio X Phys applies a multidisciplinary approach that involves collaboration between professionals from different fields to address complex problems, including physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, and massage therapists. It recognizes that different perspectives and skills are necessary to develop comprehensive solutions. This way, we can get lots of different ideas and work together to find the best way to help our clients.


Pioli, G., Bendini, C., & Pignedoli, P. (2021). Post-operative management. Orthogeriatrics: the management of older patients with fragility fractures, 155-180.

Liu, C., Wu, S., & Chen, X. (2022). The Effect of Massage Therapy on Pain after Surgery: A Comprehensive Meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 102892.

Joy Roslin, A. (2016). A quasi-experimental study to assess the effectiveness of back massage in reducing postoperative pain and improving quality of recovery among patients undergone orthopedic surgery at selected hospitals in Vellore District (Doctoral dissertation, Arun College of Nursing, Vellore).

Keller, G. (2012). The effects of massage therapy after decompression and fusion surgery of the lumbar spine: a case study. International journal of therapeutic massage & bodywork, 5(4), 3.


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