Let’s say you were rear-ended at a traffic light by a driver who was busily reading a text from his partner telling him not to forget to pick up the spaghetti on the way home. The accident happened a couple of months ago, and while your neck pains have gone and the MRI your doctor ordered came back clear, your back is still causing you some very annoying discomfort, especially at night. Would massage therapy help after such an accident?
Massage therapy? Isn’t that just to help you relax?
There are two types of massage that may be exceptionally useful to car crash victims. The actual definition of massage is the application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue… , so yes, it is often used to help a person relax, and even to improve circulation.
Perhaps a more relevant version of massage—as there a large and growing number of techniques—would be what is commonly referred to as “bodywork.” This technique uses various forms of touch therapies, including:
- Manipulation of joints
- Working on ranges of movement in the affected parts of the body
- Repatterning of muscles and joints
These are all designed to encourage and assist structural changes in the body. Done properly, massage and bodywork therapy can be far more effective than pain killers and sleeping pills.
Before discussing the real and long-term benefits of massage therapy after an accident, there are a number of caveats to consider before proceeding. Anyone thinking of getting massage therapy for pain relief after an accident, and particularly if this will be your first time to get a massage, should always remember:
- You should always check with your physician first. Ask him if he has any concerns that massage therapy might actually cause old injuries to flare up.
- Massage therapists are generally precluded from making diagnoses, and they can’t issue prescriptions, or manipulate or adjust your skeletal structure unless they are licensed to practice orthopedics, podiatry, chiropractics, or some other profession or branch of medicine. Check first.
- If you’re hoping to claim the cost of massage therapy from your insurance company, check with them first. They may ask that you claim through your health insurance. If the treatment has been approved, or even better, prescribed, by your physician, it will really help your case.
How can massage therapy after an accident help?
People who have been injured in a car accident frequently complain of feeling like they’ve come down with a bad case of the flu. Their energy levels are approaching zero, and even though they didn’t suffer any broken bones, they feel like they were personally run over by a bus. Whiplash victims feel particularly sore and sluggish, which can also lead to anxiety and even depression. Common symptoms include:
- Aches and pains in the neck and back
- Sore shoulders
- A pins and needles sensation in the outer extremities
- Sudden, unexpected and violent headaches
A good course of massage therapy can be incredibly beneficial in relieving both physical pain, as well as stress, anxiety and depression. If you’ve never received massage therapy or bodywork, don’t just go online and book a treatment with the first name you find in your neighborhood. Check around, ask friends and consult with your doctor. They will undoubtedly have a list of names you could contact.
Once you go see your massage therapist for your initial session, they will do their best to put you at your ease. Your initial consultation will consist of the therapist assessing the damaged areas. They will look for:
- Range of motion
- Pain tolerance
- The tenderness of the areas to be massaged
Don’t be a martyr! Good communication between therapist and patient is vital to successful treatment. Once the massage itself has started, a good therapist will check with you several times to ensure you are comfortable, and they will explain what each new action they are taken is meant to achieve.
It’s important to remember that in 99.99 percent of cases, one massage will not solve the problem, though you should feel some amount of relief from the first day. Generally speaking, however, a course of treatments will be recommended to you, either by your physician or by the therapist.
Once you’ve had a few treatments, you should find that your symptoms have abated quite considerably. This has been achieved because massage therapy:
- Increases the blood supply to the affected areas, promoting healing and flushing out harmful waste products that have been accumulating
- Increases the range of movement and motion
- Reduces swelling and the affects of sprain
- Prevents, in some instances, the formation of scar tissue
- Reduces stress by “resetting” your autonomic nervous system
People are naturally reluctant to allow anyone, let alone a perfect stranger, put their hands on a sore, injured, tender area of their bodies. This is entirely understandable, but once the sessions have commenced, and provided you’ve found a well-trained, competent and most importantly communicative therapist, you’ll almost immediately be amazed at how much better you’ll feel. It’s quite possible you’ll get to the point where you look forward to your sessions and may even continue with relaxing massage treatments after your initial therapy is completed.
If you’ve been involved in an Oregon motor vehicle accident and find yourself in pain long after you think the symptoms should have gone away, ask your doctor whether it might be a good idea for you to undergo some massage therapy.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for the treatment either. Nor should you have to pay your medical bills, or cover the lost wages and other expenses that have mounted up because of someone else’s negligence.
Talk to a good, understanding and experienced Portland car accident attorney for some free advice and guidance. Let the massage therapist and your doctor put your body at ease, and let a highly qualified personal injury lawyer put your mind at ease.