If you have been in an automobile accident, your doctor may prescribe massage as part of your treatment plan. Massage can address the stress that goes with a traumatic event like a car accident, and it can help address many of the sprains, strains, and other injuries common in a motor vehicle accident (or MVA, an acronym you may encounter on insurance and other forms).
Typically, the goals of massage therapy in injury recovery are to:
- reduce stress
- reduce pain and swelling
- improve circulation
- improve range of motion
Immediately after a car accident, massage therapy can help you recover by helping to restore balance to your autonomic nervous system – i.e., the relaxation benefits of massage can help reverse the effects that the shock and trauma of a car wreck can have on your nervous system. Massage also promotes circulation of both blood and lymph, which can help manage the swelling (edema) that usually comes with auto accident injuries. During the sub-acute stage (a few days to a few weeks, or even longer, after the accident), massage can help maintain and improve range of motion and may help prevent the formation of scar tissue and other myofascial adhesions. Later in your recovery, orthopedic massage can address specific musculoskeletal injuries like whiplash, neck pain, back pain, headaches, shoulder sprains/strains, etc.
My auto accident massage treatments follow this protocol. Early in your treatment, I focus on addressing the effects of trauma, using relaxing techniques like Swedish massage and craniosacral technique. As soon as it is safe, I incorporate Swedish gymnastics, deep tissue massage, muscle energy technique, and other modalities to increase range of motion and prevent scar tissue and other myofascial adhesions from forming. Later in your recovery, I may add orthopedic massage techniques designed to address specific musculoskeletal conditions like myofascial adhesions, muscle strains, ligament sprains, etc.
No two car accidents are the same, and everyone responds differently, so I always adapt my treatments to your unique needs. Many factors (the severity of the accident, the extent and nature of your injuries, your daily activities, etc.) affect your recovery, and I account for these factors in your care.
Your safety is always my first priority in any massage treatment, but I am particularly careful to create a safe environment for auto accident victims. You are likely to be in distress not only because of your injuries, but also because you may be unable to fulfill your normal work, family, and community obligations. “Normal life” has probably gone by the wayside as you deal non-stop with doctors and other health care providers, insurance companies, personal injury attorneys, auto body shops, and other people you never wanted to meet. The last thing you need is more stress, so I create a welcoming space, listen to you attentively, and communicate clearly throughout your massage treatments.
Injuries due to an auto accident can be serious, and new symptoms may emerge after you have been referred to me for massage. If you need care beyond what I can provide, I maintain a large network of medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychotherapists, and other health care practitioners, as well as personal injury attorneys. I am always happy to make referral recommendations based on your unique needs.
The most common injuries due to auto accidents that I see in my practice are:
- low-back pain
- myofascial pain
- shoulder sprain/strain
- cervical sprain/strain
- thoracic sprain/strain
- lumbar sprain/strain