Massage Therapy and Car Accidents
Massage Therapy and Car Accidents

Restoring Your Health with Massage Therapy after a Car Accident

By Dr. Brent Wells, DC
May 1, 2019

Restoring Your Health with Massage Therapy after a Car Accident

By Dr. Brent Wells, DC
May 1, 2019

Massage therapy can have incredible physical and mental health benefits for anyone, but it’s particularly beneficial for those who have been in a car accident. Even if your car accident was a minor one, massage therapy will help you recover faster and prevent future health issues related to the accident.

Common Health Problems Caused By Car Accidents

While each car accident is unique, there are certain injuries that are common. Even if the client initially feels fine after an accident, they should pay extra attention to their health in the days and weeks directly afterwards, as sometimes these issues can present themselves later. The client should always seek treatment by a medical professional after a car accident to identify problems as soon as possible.

●    Whiplash: This is possibly the most common health problem people experience directly after a car accident. Whiplash occurs when the impact of the crash puts strain on the muscles and ligaments of the neck, causing tension or even tears. Whiplash can be very painful and drastically reduce range of motion.

●    Herniated disc/other back injuries: It’s also very common for back issues to occur after a car accident. A herniated disc is when one of the spinal discs slips out of alignment, and this condition can be very painful and can be hard to correct. However, clients might also experience general chronic pain or even a broken rib after a car accident.

●    Knee injuries: Knee injuries are particularly common after a car accident, sometimes because a person’s knees hit the dashboard during impact. In the most serious cases, the kneecap may shatter, but ligament strains and tears are also common. Since the knee connects two of the biggest bones in the body, treating knee injuries properly and quickly is imperative.

●    Anxiety and PTSD: In addition to the physical problems that can arise after a car accident, people might also find they have increased anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety and guilt are very common after a car accident. PTSD can result from the most serious cases. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, irritability, nightmares, and emotional detachment.

Benefits of Massage for Car Accident Victims

Regular massage therapy is a particularly excellent way for your client to stay healthy after a car accident. Massage has wonderful physical, mental and emotional benefits, and can help your clients develop a better awareness of their body as well.

●    Stress relief: Massage is excellent for reducing anxiety levels and calming the mind. Regardless of what type of massage, most clients will be encouraged to get into a very relaxed state. The physical touch of a massage also naturally reduces stress levels.

●    Increased blood flow: A good massage also increases blood flow to the areas of the body that have been injured. Better blood flow may help the body heal faster after an injury.

●    Better range of motion: Massage loosens up muscles, which may prevent them from becoming stiff and can also help improve flexibility and range of motion. Better range of motion means clients will be able to get more quickly get back to exercise, which is a key factor in preventing future injuries and staying healthy.

●    Prevents chronic muscle pain and spasms: Some people may experience muscle spasms for a while after car accidents due to the tension and shock their muscles have been through during the impact. A massage will not only get rid of the knots that can cause chronic pain, but also help their body stay relaxed, which prevents the spasms.

Best Types of Massage for Muscle Recovery

There are many different types of massage available, and each have their own unique benefits. Following are some massage techniques that can be especially helpful when working with clients who have been in a car accident.

●    Trigger point massage: Most pain after an injury can be traced back to a trigger point, and this type of massage focuses on releasing trigger points. By treating the trigger points, you can treat the broader forms of pain throughout the body.

●    Cranial sacral therapy massage: This type of massage is particularly effective for people who have experienced whiplash. Cranial sacral therapy is very gentle and focuses on the head and neck. It is very relaxing and can  also be very helpful for reducing headaches.

●    Deep muscle therapy massage: Deep massage therapy can be very helpful in helping clients who have persistent chronic muscular pain. It’s more intense than the other types of massage we’ve talked about, but can provide long-lasting relief.

●    Swedish massage: This very gentle form of massage therapy is excellent for those who have been in a car accident. The full body approach promotes general well-being for both the body and mind. This type of massage is often recommended for those getting a massage for the first time because it’s so gentle.

If your client has recently been in a car accident and is looking to get your body back to a healthy, energetic state, consider scheduling a massage appointment. Regular massage appointments will make their lives much more comfortable, and they may enjoy it so much that they continue to get massages after their injuries have healed. 

DISCLAIMER: massage therapists should ensure they are practicing within scope of practice as outlined by their state’s regulatory board.