Many people wait for an injury in their life to seek out massage therapy. Those that have car accidents are a typical example, wanting relief from whiplash and other accident related injuries.
Massage therapy is an excellent choice to assist you in healing from a car accident. After an accident, people are most likely to feel like they have the flu or describe the symptoms as feeling like they got hit by a car. Weakness in the neck may also be felt due to whiplash. Whiplash is the sudden jerking of the head, backward and forward, that is felt during impact of the vehicle. The symptoms: pain and aching to the neck and/or back, pain in the shoulders, pins and needles to the extremities (arms and legs), and headaches. The symptoms may be felt immediately or not show up for several days. The precise mechanism of whiplash is not known but it is thought to be caused by stretching and possibly tearing of the ligaments of the spine.
Massage can be very beneficial in treatment of this injury. Often times, clients are referred to a therapist by a chiropractor or other medical provider for a certain number of massage therapy sessions. A safe environment for auto accident clients is extremely important. Sometimes their life is turned upside down by this injury and they are unable to live their life as normal, which in itself can be quite stressful.
A therapist who attends to a client with any type of accident related injuries will assess the areas of injury for range of motion, elasticity and pain tolerance. The therapist should always be aware of the restrictions in their movements and also the tenderness of the areas to be massaged. This is where the communication factor comes in. They will constantly check to ensure that they are within your comfort boundaries. Communication from the client is also paramount to the success of the massage.
Massage helps with these types of injuries due to the fact that it increases circulation (blood supply) to an area thereby giving it the nutrients it needs to heal properly and rids the area of waste products. It can also increase range of motion, reduce sprain and swelling, reduce stress, and may help to prevent scar tissue. It can help your body regain its balance from the stress of the accident by balancing your autonomic nervous system, thereby reducing stress. I have been on both sides of the “table” so to speak as a therapist and a car accident victim. I was in a car that was rear ended in 2005 and had whiplash which resulted in devastating headaches. I also had lower back pain and referred shoulder and arm pain.
I immediately began a regiment of chiropractic adjustments as well as 2 visits to a massage therapist per week. I had a wonderful therapist and she was always very empathetic as well as patient with me during our time together. She was always careful to ask about my pain level in each and every area that she touched. I was unsure of massage as I had never had it when I was in a healthy state. Needless to say, I was a bit skeptical of being touched in an injured state. It was one of the most wonderful experiences that I have gone through to date. There’s something about a caring person with amazing skills and a gentle touch to soothe an injured, stressed muscle. Gradually I began to see results and looked forward to my sessions with my therapist. No wonder the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans included massage in their daily life!
Massage so fascinated me that I went to massage school and became a therapist. Now I not only have the benefit of getting massages but also giving them. I enjoy seeing the progress that my clients make as a result of our work together.
The bottom line is that if you have had an injury of any type; please seek out a qualified massage therapist so that together you can regain your balance. If you don’t know of one, ask your medical provider or your friends and neighbors who have had massages. The calm and healing that it will have on your body will be most beneficial to both your mind and your body.
By Cecilia Comperatore LMT-Florida MA 54038