Massage for Whiplash: How to Find the Right Massage Therapist to Treat your Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is also known as cervical acceleration/deceleration injury, and hyperextension/hyperflexion injury. We will assume for this article that you are already aware of the symptoms of whiplash and that you have an idea of the most common causes of whiplash. Massage has a proven track record in helping people heal from whiplash injuries and ongoing research in this arena is promising.
The 4 Main Hurdles to Overcome in Utilizing Massage Treatment for Whiplash are:
Many physicians still have limited knowledge about the usefulness of massage and bodywork. Massage and bodywork for medical conditions and injuries are still in the process of gaining acceptance by the medical community at large. The good news is that more physicians everyday are opening up to, and recognizing the benefits of, utilizing massage and bodywork for injury treatment.
The training for massage therapists and bodyworkers is not standardized and there can be a great disparity in knowledge and training among graduates from different programs. Some states still have no licensing requirements. Fortunately, there is a growing movement advocating for advanced training for massage therapists and bodyworkers who specialize in treating injuries and managing pain associated with chronic medical conditions.
You may live in a state where massage is not a licensed healthcare profession and auto insurance companies may balk at paying for massage for whiplash treatment.
The knowledge base of the public. Most lay persons, and whiplash sufferers, may not know there is a difference between spa massage, and massage and bodyworking techniques that can be effectively utilized to speed healing from whiplash. I am not slighting the spa industry. Massage for relaxation has its own therapeutic value, although it is not well suited for site specific injury treatment. What’s the difference between spa massage and medical or therapeutic massage? Spa massage tends to be a more generalized effort to calm the nervous system and reduce general tension in the structure. Medical massage, or therapeutic massage, is more focused and endeavors to address trauma and to alleviate pain in the short term. The long term goals are to effect mechanical changes, make histological improvements (effect changes in the characteristics of the tissues involved), and to restore function and balance to the structure.
Tried and True Methods of Finding the Right Therapist or Organization
There are some tried and true ways of finding a massage therapist to treat whiplash. If you are fortunate enough to have a physician who is already aware of the usefulness of manual therapies, he/she may have a clinic or list of medical massage establishments that are reputable and can render effective massage treatment for whiplash. If not, there are other avenues such as friends, coworkers, and online rating sites. The problem here is, unknown to each of these sources, treating whiplash requires higher levels of training and skill. Finding someone to perform effective massage treatment for whiplash is different from finding a massage practitioner who performs great well-body massage. The problem with relying on word-of-mouth referrals from people who may not have had massage for the treatment of whiplash, is that they may not know the difference between the use of relaxation techniques and the use of more advanced theories and techniques which are used to treat significant soft tissue injuries. It is often necessary to take things into your own hands and do your own research.