I am glad that you found a skilled physical therapist to treat your pain due to radiated tissue.
Radiation is known to cause damage to soft tissue. Soft tissue is one of the collateral damages of radiation therapy.
You can draw anologies to microwave ovens and the effects on foods. Radiation can cause dense thickening of tendons and ligaments (which serve to attach bone and muscle to bone) - like leather. Radiation reduces the gliding of soft tissue and muscles between one another. The effect is a lower body that feels stiff and cumbersome, like the Tin Man of The Wizard of Oz. Radiation affects joints, making joints more stiff to move. In the case of treatment for rectal cancer, the hip and sacrifice-iliac joints are most affected. People will most often complain of difficulty crossing one leg over the other. Adhesive capsulitis of the hip is a common finding.
Soft tissue mobilization involves a specific type of deep tissue massage that serves to realign tissue fibers. It is like unknotting a tangled ball of yarn. Myofacial release is another terminology. Graston Therapy or Graston Technique is an advanced form of soft tissue mobilization that is highly effective. Therapists must be advanced certified in the Graston Technique.
The relief of pain with tissue mobilization comes from the freeing of tissues otherwise tethered and constructed. Relief of pain also comes from the freeing of trapped sensory nerve endings embedded in scar tissue.
For anyone with hip and/or low back stiffness and restricted range of motion post pelvic radiation, a good physical therapist can be worth their weight in gold.
- K -
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