Car accident massage is specific massage therapy treatment for those who have been in a motor vehicle accident, or MVA. Massage is safe post-car accident between 3-5 days to 1-3 weeks of an accident depending on the severity. A referral from your primary care physician is required prior to treatment to rule out fractures, spinal cord damage, and other complications.
5 Benefits of car accident massage
- Decrease swelling and inflammation
- Decrease pain
- Lowered stress response
- Loosen tight muscles and fascia
- Increase range of motion
Decrease swelling and inflammation
Massage therapy can help to decrease swelling and inflammation that is part of the body’s response following an injury. If done correctly and gently, lymphatic drainage and light myofascial release techniques aide in the movement of lymph fluid through tight and guarded tissue.
When muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and connective tissue are injured following trauma, our nervous system produces a pain signal to let us know there is damage to be protected. With inflammation and muscle splinting, there comes tension and pain that massage can help reduce. Too many people live with chronic pain because they didn’t receive care for their injuries up front.
Lowered stress response
This benefit is often overlooked but makes a huge impact on the rate of healing. When we experience physical trauma or a significant stressor like a car accident, our body’s go into a fight, flight, or freeze response. Adrenaline and cortisol hormones are released to help us be alert and react to deal with the threat. With this response comes muscle tension, physical, mental, and emotional stress that can hinder our healing process long term. Massage and craniosacral can lower this stress response thereby helping your body find homeostasis faster. We want to spend as much time in our relaxed “rest and digest” state as possible following an injury.
Loosen tight muscles and fascia
Manual therapy techniques such as myofascial release, trigger point release, and swedish massage can help relax tight and injured tissue following a car accident. By freeing these tissues, they become more elastic, hydrated, supple, and strong again. Often what I see post-car accident, especially with whiplash injuries, is there is one side of the neck more injured than the other creating a pull-of-war between left and right.
Increase range of motion
Following an injury, our muscles will create a splint to protect our spinal cord and any injured area. One of our primary goals during treatment is to increase the lost range of motion so joints can more freely and tissues can function without pain. Before moving on the strengthening portion of rehab, adequate range of motion must be there.
Whiplash is a common occurrence with car accidents due to the speeds involved and forces of collision. Whiplash is when the head is forced into extreme ranges of motion due to the impact force and can occur front to back or side to side. Whiplash can cause damage to the spine and spinal cord and can sometimes go unnoticed immediately after an accident due to inflammation and muscle splinting. Muscle strains and ligament sprains can occur with whiplash and may require weeks to months of healing. Massage, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care can speed the healing process if done with correct specificity and frequency.
Car Accident Massage coverage
Post-car accident massage therapy is a recognized treatment to accelerate the healing process following an injury. Under Oregon law, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) covers medical bills including massage therapy following an auto accident. A doctor’s referral is required prior to treatment either from an MD, PA, NP, DO, DC, or ND in the State of Oregon. If you need help obtaining a referral, please contact me for qualified references.
Tyler’s Advanced Coursework for injury and recovery
CranioSacral Level 1 & 2 – 2017/2021
Therapeutic Cupping 2021
Deep Neck Techniques 2018
Structural Bodywork, Trigger Point Release, and Myofascial Techniques 2015