View Full Version : physical therapy and Vitamin E oil

01-12-2007, 11:32 PM
I had my 12 week check-up yesterday. Dr. Von Rueden released me to work ("if I want to"). He also recommended physical therapy 2 or 3 times a week.

Does physical therapy help with tightness and pain? Does it hurt? I am already walking 2 miles a day, sometimes 4 miles. Is physical therapy a good addition to that?

The X-ray lady said I should put vitamin E oil on my scar. The doctor said he didn't know what good it would do but it would not hurt. Does anyone else put anything on their scar? It will be interesting to get it on there myself...


01-13-2007, 11:37 AM

For what it's worth...

A report of research published in Dermatologic Surgery (April 1999, pages 311-315), in an article titled "The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars", concluded that the "...study shows that there is no benefit to the cosmetic outcome of scars by applying vitamin E after surgery and that the application of topical vitmain E may actually be detrimental to the cosmetic appearance of a scar. In 90% of the cases in this study, topical vitamin E either had no effect on, or actually worsened, the cosmetic appearance of scars. Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis to the vitamin E. Therefore we conclude that use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds should be discouraged."

Some type of fascial/connective tissue work, by a PT or otherwise, could be of great help for the "tightness" you're experiencing. Following surgery scar tissue inevitably lays itself down indisriminately amongst the tissues... it has shown to be very beneficial in helping neighboring tissue regain mobility and relative freedom from this after-effect. The bonding effect that can give rise to stiffness/tightness continues for some time to come when not addressed and can sometimes, if not often, lead to situations down the road.

Hope that's helpful to you.


Karen Ocker
01-13-2007, 04:56 PM
Some type of fascial/connective tissue work, by a PT or otherwise, could be of great help for the "tightness" you're experiencingStructural75:

I had fascial/connective tissue work but much later than 12 weeks because, frankly, I would not have been able to tolerate hands on that soon. It would have been way too painful and frankly maybe detrimental ----I had an extensive revision and thoracoplasty.

I did have PT by an excellent practitioner early on and again about 1 1/2 year later, after consultation with my surgeon, followed by myofascial therapy with an excellent practitioner. The latter is very hard to find, not covered by insurance and I suggest using someone highly recommended.

01-13-2007, 05:15 PM
I had phys. therapy at home beginning at 4 weeks. It was excellent, but minimal. Exercises such as marching in place, stretches lying in bed and chair exercises. I rubbed Aquaphor on my scar because it was itchy and at my plastic surgeons advice.

01-13-2007, 06:27 PM
Hi Joan,
I used Mederma on my scar for about 5 months and it faded to a light salmon color. (I am really fair skinned.) My Dr. seemed very surprised at how well it faded. As for the tightness you are experiencing P.T. did help me. I didn't start until 4 months though. I asked at my 12 week check up if I could start P.T but my Dr. wasn't too keen on the idea. I waited another month. As for the pain that takes some time to dissipate. I had to take a pain med before my P.T, when I first started, for the after effects of the work out. I was able to apply the Merdema myself. It's not hard. Hold a hand mirror to look in and put your back to a bathroom or dresser mirror. Best wishes, Suzy

01-13-2007, 07:26 PM
Hi Karen,
I'd agree with you, 12 weeks is early for certain intentions with the work... but it should always be adapted to the situation at hand anyways... so there is definitely gentle fascial work possible depending on the skill of the practitioner. Some of the fascial work performed out there is actually extremely gentle 'unwinding' which requires a very intelligent communication with the tissue. I'm sorry for not specifying that, but fascial work can really be quite sophisticated when performed by an experienced and well versed practitioner. Where the work is being done is also relevant, as work beyond the localized regions where the surgery was performed definitely has a positive effect on the whole. Change can be achieved quite effectively by working distant from the site due to the continuos characteristics of the fascia. It's where they work which is more important than technique alone.

Most insurance does cover it when performed by a PT properly trained in it. There are PT codes specifically for 'myofascial release' and 'manual therapy' which are billable. Just so people know... take advantage of the insurance.

I agree, the practitioner will make all the difference. If it's too painful then they are not versed well enough to match the skilled needs you require. And of course, depending on the nature of the surgery performed, more or less time may be required to wait. In my opinion, myofascial therapy is best offered by SI practioners who work solely with the fascia. I only say that from my personal experience receiving work from hundreds of practioners of various disciplines. Simply put, fascia is the expertise of SI. It is the only dicipline available that focuses primarily of the fascial network and they have an excellent understanding of the global and local effects alike that their work is having. That is probably the biggest difference from myofascial therapists, in that they tend to treat isolated regions without concern or awareness of how it is going to affect other regions. Just my two cents... :)


01-13-2007, 10:03 PM
I have a feeling my physical therapy will be more traditional, similar to the gentle exercises they gave me prior to surgery. Just wondering if it helps or hurts after surgery.

Thank you,

01-14-2007, 04:03 PM
My physical therapy did not hurt as the therapist went very slowly and started me out very gently with some stretches and movements. They should examine you first to see what areas are tight or tender yet and how much movement you can safely get. Be sure to tell them if anything does hurt or make you sore so that they can modify it so it doesn't. They will probably give you some things to do on your own at home, also. I started my PT at 12 weeks and thought it really helped the tightness and burning between my shoulders fade away.

age 47
posterior surgery 7/24/06
for s curve, 72 and 77 degrees
50% correction

01-14-2007, 04:31 PM
:) Joan- I was doing some P.T.(light) in the rehab at 3 wks... When I was home-(mid August), I started going 2 times a week by September. I remember because I started when my boys went back to school. I was quite achey in the beginning but it got better gradually..
You sound like you are doing fantastic on the walking... I just recently started walking at the park & only recently started doing a mile! I had trouble with my left leg & for several mths I had to stop & rest it. It always felt like it would collapse after a short walk. I had faith the muscles/nerves would come back. I still have numbness up my inner thigh but can endure a much longer walk now... you're doing great! Lynne :)
ps... In the beginning of P.T., I was ready to kill my therapist....but now we are friends again....

Linda G
01-15-2007, 01:35 PM
Joan, I started PT at 5 weeks and have had some muscle soreness but it has been more of a help than a pain. I have a problem with the hamstring on my left side being extremely tight so little by little this is slowly getting better. She doesn't push beyond what I can tolerate. I am approved for 6 weeks. I am also walking as I understand this is wonderful for recovery. Haven't made that mile marker yet but I am trying. I was walking 3 miles each day before surgery so I know I'll get there.
Linda G.