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A whiplash guide for massage

A Whiplash Guide to Massage

Traditional use of cervical collars for whiplash injuries may discourage some from seeking complementary treatments, yet massage therapy can be extremely beneficial for this common neck injury. Discover three specific approaches that are particularly therapeutic for clients with whiplash injuries.  In recent years it has been found more use full to keep the neck mobile instead of using cervical collars except in severe whiplash cases.

A common injury from a motor vehicle accident or sports injury, whiplash is a neck sprain resulting from the sudden forces typical of a car crash. After being evaluated by a physician, bodywork is one of the most recruited modalities to help this soft tissue injury heal. When applied carefully and skillfully, massage therapists can help clients with whiplash find relief and avoid a resulting chronic neck problem. Massage therapy should start 3-4 days after most auto injuries to get the best results.

Physicians will also refer to it as a neck hyperextension injury; whiplash is a fairly accurate mechanical description of how the neck injury occurred. Bending first towards and then away from the point of impact, whiplash is the consequence of the head moving in a whip-like motion. As the head moves rapidly in one direction, the muscles in the neck receive the message to contract. The momentum of the head can cause strain or sprain to the muscles and ligaments in the neck as the head reaches the end of its movement. Whether the head whips forward and backward or laterally, whiplash usually causes multiple neck injuries.

Symptoms
Evidence of whiplash can surface immediately following the neck’s whip-like injury, or it can creep up over the following week or 2. Aside from neck pain, additional symptoms of whiplash may include:

· Neck stiffness
· Headache
· Dizziness
· Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing and/or chewing
· Shoulder, back or arm pain

· Parenthesis

Bodywork
While a majority of people with whiplash improve within one to three months, symptoms persist longer in severe injuries. Most therapists agree that the sooner massage therapy is received, the quicker the person heals and the less likely they are to develop chronic neck pain. In general, any massage that relaxes the affected muscles will help relieve the pain and discomfort of whiplash. However, these three specific approaches are particularly therapeutic:

1 Myofascial Release – Myofascial release techniques can free restricted neck muscle and fascia to help restore fluidity, thus relieving the stiffness of whiplash. Additionally, myofascial unwinding can unlock dysfunctional fascial holding patterns established at the time of injury.

2. Static Compression – Applying static compression to affected trigger points creates an influx of oxygen that relaxes the contracted musculature. Since myofascial trigger points often develop in the cervical muscles following a whiplash injury, this treatment prevents prolonged muscular dysfunction that can linger for months or years after the initial trauma.

3. Deep Tissue Massage – Once the superficial muscles are relaxed, deep tissue work can liberate contracted deep fascia, adhesions and scar tissue. Making sure to stay within the client’s pain tolerance level, deep tissue massage can free tissue that had tightened around local nerves.

Proceed Carefully
Because of the neck’s delicacy; body workers should always proceed cautiously with a whiplash injury. ·

As long as a massage therapist uses caution when working with whiplash, their efforts can play a major role in recovering from this common injury. Especially beneficial when doing myofascial release, static compression and deep tissue massage, body workers have the tools to ease muscle pain, induce relaxation and unlock the tension created by a whiplash injury.
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