Relief From Whiplash with Massage Therapy

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Relief From Whiplash with Massage Therapy 

By: Jillian O’Malley

 

Screeeeech, Errrr, BOOM. That was the sound of a 4,000lb pound mini van slamming into the back of my mid size sedan. SMACK. That was the sound of my face hitting the steering wheel. I was left with a blood covered face and a neck now plagued by whiplash. I felt like I had seen the next five years flash before my eyes, and saw myself with constant neck pain and suffering, from what had just occurred.  The immediate feelings you might get following a rear end collision could be shock, pain, disbelief, confusion, fear, and anger. Depending on the severity of your car accident, those immediate feelings may dissipate. Or in many cases, you will end up with more severe pain and, cervical acceleration-deceleration (CAD), which we all know as that terrible terrible thing called whiplash.  

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 40% of the six millions car accidents that happen on the United States roads, approximately 2.5 million per year, are rear-end collisions. This bone chilling statistic sheds light on just how many people may be suffering from whiplash everyday. We must not forget about the countless other ways in which someone may get whiplash such as sports injuries, amusement park rides,  horseback riding, and physical abuse. Whiplash is defined as an injury caused by a severe jerk to the head. Something as simple as the roller coaster ride you enjoyed yesterday or the football game you won last night can result in whiplash.

The long list of symptoms of whiplash includes but is not limited to, neck pain and stiffness, jaw pain, dizziness, arm pain, visual disturbance, back pain, ringing of the ears, etc. Some of the symptoms you may not realize are a direct result of the whiplash are depression, anxiety,  problem with memory, and sleep disturbance. While you may begin to feel hopeless when dealing with whiplash and extreme pain and suffering, studies have shown that massage therapy can aid in reducing and relieving these troublesome side effects.

According to an article on massage therapy website “Any massage that causes a general relaxation of the client’s muscles can help relieve muscular pain in common types of whiplash injuries. In addition, massage increases the amount of oxygen that reaches the healing tissues and opens those tissues so they can receive oxygen and nutrients, thus speeding the healing process.”  While massage therapy in general has been shown to help whiplash victims, the specific variations of massage therapy go a long way. For example, Myofascial release, will help lubricate the tissue surrounding all the parts of the body. This helps the muscles move freely and smoothly. Trigger point therapy works to release tension and knots held in the tight muscles. While the immediate goal of massage therapy for whiplash might be to alleviate pain, there is also a long term goal of helping to restore proper function of the head, neck, and shoulders. Without restoring the proper functions of the head and neck, you may find residual effects showing up later in life, such a bad posture and reoccurring pain.

Speaking from my personal experience with a rear end collision resulting in whiplash, I found great relief through massage therapy. Immediately following the accident I felt stressed, tightened muscles, and a jolted nervous system. I received massage therapy 2 days later and felt entirely calm and at peace after the massage. The tightness that was building in my neck and back was released. Weeks after the rear end collision I began to feel neck pain and stiffness. I knew right away my body was telling me to get help. Again, I turned to massage therapy. Not only were my muscles relieved of tight knots and painful strains, but my state of mind and well being was restored. If you ever find yourself in a rear end collision resulting in whiplash, take a deep breath, and remember massage therapy is here to help.

 

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Massage therapy helps relieve whiplash by:

  • Causing a general relaxation of the client’s muscles that helps relieve muscular pain
  • Increasing the amount of oxygen that reaches the healing tissues and opens those tissues
  • Allows muscles and tissues to receive oxygen and nutrients, speeding the healing process