Massage For Whiplash: How To Find The Right Massage Therapist To Treat Your Whiplash Injury
Whiplash is also known as cervical acceleration/deceleration and hyperextension/hyperflexion injury. We assume for the purposes of 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 of helping people heal from whiplash injuries and ongoing research in this area is promising.
The 4 main obstacles to overcome when using Massage treatment for whiplash to be:
- Many doctors still have limited knowledge about the benefits of massage and bodywork. Massage and bodywork for medical conditions and injuries are still accepted by the medical community at large. The good news is that every day more doctors are opening up to and recognizing the benefits of using massage and bodywork to treat injuries.
- Training for massage therapists and bodyworkers is not standardized and there can be wide differences in knowledge and training between graduates of 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 recognized health care profession and auto insurance companies may not want to pay for massage for whiplash treatment.
- The knowledge base of the public. Most lay people and whiplash sufferers may not know that there is a difference between spa massage and massage and body work techniques that can be used effectively to speed up the healing of whiplash. I do not despise the spa industry. Massage for relaxation has its own therapeutic value, although it is not well suited for site-specific injury treatment. What is the difference between spa massage and medical or therapeutic massage? Spa massage is usually a more general attempt to calm the nervous system and release general tension in the structure. Medical massage, or therapeutic massage, is more focused and attempts to address short-term trauma and relieve pain. The long-term goals are to induce mechanical changes, make histological improvements (induce changes in the properties of the involved tissues), and restore the function and balance of the structure.
Proven methods to find the right therapist or organization
There are a number of proven ways to find a massage therapist to treat whiplash. If you are lucky enough to have a doctor who is already aware of the benefits of manual therapies, he/she may have a clinic or list of reputable medical massage institutions that can provide effective massage treatment for whiplash. If not, there are other possibilities, such as friends, colleagues, and online review sites. The problem here, unknown to any of these sources, is that treating whiplash requires a higher level of training and skill. Finding someone who performs an effective massage treatment for whiplash is different than finding a massage practitioner who performs a great body massage. The problem with relying on word of mouth from people who may not have had a massage for whiplash treatment is that they may not know the difference between using relaxation techniques and using more advanced theories and techniques that do to be. used to treat significant soft tissue injuries. It is often necessary to take matters into your own hands and do your own research.
Find a massage for whiplash yourself
Things to look for:
- A clinical setting with a therapist or therapists with a higher level of education. It is possible to find a clinic that has many excellent therapists. Outstanding professionals seek employees of the same caliber to stay challenged and up-to-date so they can continue to develop their skills. Collaboration between colleagues can provide benefits for both patients and massage therapists. These are just points of interest. It is also possible to find an exceptional practitioner who conducts a solo practice.
- An experienced therapist or therapists who have worked with many whiplash cases. Less experienced massage therapists can also provide excellent advanced work if properly supervised. Find a therapist or organization where whiplash is one of the primary conditions they treat.
- Therapists who keep professional case notes (also known as SOAP notes) in practice and can write accurate reports containing important information for physicians, loss adjusters and lawyers. You want excellent documentation of your injuries and treatment to establish the medical need for treatment. In addition, complete and accurate documentation of your treatment is essential if your case is to be argued in court.
- Place. Is it in a reasonable location for you? Are you willing to drive longer distances to see more experienced specialists? Depending on the specifics of your case, the treatment period may be weeks or months. This makes distance and the convenience of getting to your therapist’s location an obvious consideration.
Questions to ask a prospective therapist or organization:
- Do they specialize in whiplash? Do they work comfortably in the anterior triangle of the neck? Many therapists are not comfortable working on the entire neck because they are not trained to work the front of the neck, also known as the anterior triangle. Treating this part of the body is not taught in many basic licensing courses and the therapists without this training will not want to work this area, nor should they. It is important to note that while most whiplash pain is felt in the neck and upper back, it is usually perpetuated by post-traumatic muscle protection in the anterior (front of) the neck. Relieving whiplash pain is only the primary concern. Restoring function and proper anterior/posterior postural balance (keeping your head properly balanced on top of your neck and shoulders) is imperative for long-term health and avoiding serious residual problems down the road. Proper treatment of the anterior triangle is an important part of restoring that balance.
- How much experience do they have as individuals or as a group? How much knowledge is under one roof? This is an important consideration because inexperienced therapists who are not supervised or mentored may miss issues common to whiplash. There are issues that the patient may not be aware of. Example: A patient rear-ended while sitting at a traffic light. It is common for a person holding the wheel in this situation to have injuries to the shoulder joints that are masked by the overwhelming neck pain. An inexperienced therapist may fail to perform a simple palpation of the shoulder, which would be surprisingly gentle on the patient, and confirm the injury. A missed condition that will become more apparent as the inflammation in the neck subsides. This shoulder injury may be unnecessarily challenged by the insurance company responsible for payment. The insurance company would argue that the shoulder injury was not a result of the accident as it was not mapped on the first visit. I understand this is unfair, but that’s how insurance companies usually behave. The point here is that massage therapists experienced in treating whiplash know what to look for and how to treat it.
- How long have they been active? Again, this speaks to the level of experience. Seasoned therapists, or clinics with multiple therapists and a large collective knowledge, understand the intricacies of treating serious injuries such as whiplash. Just as important is an understanding of proper documentation and dealing with insurance companies, which leads us to number 4…
- Do they do the insurance billing for you? Or will they require you to pay at the time of service and bill your own insurance company? Billing is a valuable service provided by established practices. It can take away a lot of paperwork and hassle from you while you are healing.
As mentioned earlier, not all states regulate the practice of massage. Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Wyoming are the states where massage is currently unregulated. Check the American Massage Therapy Association website for the latest update.
While this article is not intended to answer all your questions about finding the right massage therapist or organization, I hope it will help you on your way to finding the person or persons who can provide the most effective massage for your whiplash treatment. and help you fully heal from your injuries.