Pain suffered after a car accident or sports injury can be serious and debilitating. It can lead to missed time at work or school, an inability to do normal, day to day tasks, and decreases in mood leading to depression. Seeking a solution to the pain you suffer after an accident of this type can be difficult: well-meaning friends and family may give a variety of advice, some good and some, unintentionally, very bad. In the meantime, you may be left wondering which treatments are effective and which of those might be right for you. One technique many patients find successful for pain relief during accident recovery is therapeutic massage.
Therapeutic Massage Defined
If you search the web for a therapeutic massage definition, you’re likely to find many definitions of the general practice of massage. While massage has been used as a source of pleasure and relaxation for many thousands of years, elements of therapeutic massage have gained popularity because they provide a true medical benefit. There has been an increased use of therapeutic massage in treating patients facing a painful accident recovery, often as a part of their physical therapy.
It is important to understand that a therapeutic massage definition includes several different massage practices which are performed differently and have different overall physical effects on the person being massaged. What these techniques have in common is that they have medical utility and are performed by a registered massage therapist, often within a clinic or medical facility.
What Kinds of Therapeutic Massage Are There?
If you or your doctor think that the pain from your accident recovery may be eased by introducing elements of therapeutic massage into your treatment plan, it is important to consider some different kinds of massage that fall into this category and choose the best one to treat your injury. The following are therapeutic massage techniques, how they work, and a basic explanation of their effects.
- Reflexology: This is an aspect of massage that you have no doubt heard of and seen before. The human body is loaded with responsive pressure points which are connected to a system of reflexes. Massaging specific parts of the body which have many nerve endings, with specific focus on ears, feet and hands, increases a sense of well-being and relaxation, and can relieve pain.
- Neuromuscular massage: This technique is somewhat advanced. It involves the stimulation of muscles suffering from skeletal striation. Soft tissue is treated with quasi-static pressure to help patients improve their posture and reduce muscular issues. This style of massage is commonly used to treat injuries and chronic pain with good success.
- Craniosacral therapy: Intended to allow the body to harmonize with its own central nervous system, this therapy is performed when a registered massage therapist gently and skillfully massages the skull in order to relieve tension and discomfort.
- Lymph drainage therapy: A technique that involves the gentle manipulation of lymphatic areas, this therapy allows movement and drainage of fluid that builds up in the lymphatic system. Often, this therapy is used to assist patients with autoimmune difficulties and those that are recovering from surgery or being treated with chemotherapy or radiation.
- Reiki: A popular type of light touch massage, this therapy is intended to increase healing speed and decrease discomfort and problematic symptoms by connecting the body to its energy sources and promoting a sense of well-being.
- Hot stone massage therapy: In this soothing therapy, smooth stones in a variety of sizes are heated to a comfortable temperature and placed on the body of a patient in a therapeutic way to massage problem areas and reduce stress so patients can relax and feel less tense.
What Can Therapeutic Massage Do To Help?
There are a number of benefits to the medical use of therapeutic massage for chronic pain or periods of acute pain. For those experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome, treatments can relieve pain, swelling and numbness. Chronic headaches related to accidents and injuries can be relieved. Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can see a drastic reduction in symptoms. Muscle spasms, back pain and TMJ can all be treated with elements of therapeutic massage. The discomforts of pregnancy, whether before or after the baby is born, can be eased using some of these massage techniques. The pain and physical symptoms of lymphoedema and tendonitis can be assisted with massage, as can short term issues like injury recovery.
For patients who may be experiencing negative emotional symptoms like anxiety, depression and tension after an accident or sports injury, therapeutic massage can help to improve their ability to cope with painful and stressful times. Improving controlled pain responses can aid in physical therapy, recovery and emotional well being. Injuries caused by repetitive strenuous activity or overuse of a muscle as well as whiplash can be significantly improved with the use of therapeutic massage. Massage does not just help muscles, however- patients experiencing chronic respiratory difficulties and digestive problems may also use therapeutic massage to ease symptoms and promote well being.
Choosing Therapeutic Massage
If you are someone who has suffered from a sports injury or been in a serious car accident, you have already been through a lot of pain and trauma. The last thing you want to deal with is a painful and traumatic recovery. The use of therapeutic massage in your treatment can provide you with pain relief and a sense of emotional well-being, speeding your journey towards health and healing.
There are many benefits of therapeutic massage. But it is important to note that the use of therapeutic massage in treating your pain is not a decision you should make on your own. Massage is considered to be for the purpose of therapy only when performed by a registered massage therapist and should be advised by a doctor. Using massage techniques on untreated or uncontrolled pain can cause more pain and serious issues, and a quality massage therapist would not recommend using these treatments without prior medical consultation. If you feel these therapies may be right for you, talk to your doctor.