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Massage therapy

hoppere's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Sep 2013


I had a neck dissection six weeks ago and was able to go home without any pain meds (I know, I've been blessed). However, I've noticed a tightening or a knot in my right shoulder and shoulder blade tension lately. Do any of you know what the thoughts are regarding massage therapy? Is it okay? I heard that it could spread the cancer more because of the lymph nodes. Is that urban legend or legit? 

Thanks for any insight.


PJ47's picture
Posts: 375
Joined: Sep 2013

I had a left neck dissection 2 weeks ago and had a massage Friday.  I have heard the concern you mentioned also.  My massage therapist is also a PT and she was very gentle and light in my left shoulder area and really just did some work on the nerves that were damaged and on my shoulder which has dropped.  I am not worried about the cancer spreading via massage and my nerve pain (from sub scapula) and shoulder were much better afterwards.  I slept like a baby and I am going again next week.  Go to someone who is knowledgeable and will get the knots out without a lot of lymph massaging like I did and you will be fine.

Posts: 1104
Joined: Jan 2011

But check with  the doctor.  The hospital I went to had massages available, my husband thought he would be nice and get one for me. The doctor said no, I can't remember why.  I was still in the hospital.

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I had my neck massage therapy done by a physical therapist at the hospital. My ONC ordered it and insurance covered it.  My shoulder was initially stiiff and that was helped allot by using stretch bands and exercising it.  Early on I could not raise my arm to wash my own hair, after a couple of weeks of exercise it went back to normal range.  

fishmanpa's picture
Posts: 1217
Joined: Jan 2013

I had a lot of nerve/muscle/shoulder issues due to my neck dissection. During treatment, a massage therapist came to Hope Lodge in Baltimore where we were staying and both Marcia and I got 30 minute massages . It was awesome and really helped my shoulder pain. My team was fine with it. Lymphedema is another animal and that type of massage should be done by a trained therapist specializing in cancer patients . 


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4318
Joined: May 2012


I had massage for edema, but it did not start until post treatments (surgery, rads, Erbitux)

It was around neck and upper torso and stomach.  Felt great and insurance covered it.


hoppere's picture
Posts: 17
Joined: Sep 2013

Really, I appreciate all Of you input. I swear I'm second guessing EVERYTHING so it's nice to have everyone who has been through this as a resource.

Have a great week, folks!

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