People often have the preconceived notion that massage therapy should commence after healing has occurred. People assume if an area can’t be worked on directly than there is nothing a massage therapist can do. The risk of further injury or increased pain also scares people away from receiving treatments immediately following an injury. These assumptions are perfectly valid and are important considerations for both a patient and therapist when deciding on a safe and effective treatment plan.
An acute injury is defined as an injury that occurs due to some sort of traumatic event. This would include things such as muscle strains or car accidents. The acute phase of an injury begins immediately following an injury and last for a variable amount of time (depending on the severity of the injury).
Registered Massage Therapy can influence whether the body heals in a functional and appropriate way. The affected area may appear to be the area that requires the most work, but with many injuries the tissue surrounding the injury is involved and must also be addressed. Registered Massage Therapists are trained to recognize the degree of an injury (for example, the level of a muscle strain) and adjust the treatment according to contraindications involved with that specific injury. On a more general level, for any acute condition massage therapists are trained to insure that no part of treatment causes any pain to the involved area, from adjusting pressure, to proper joint positioning.
Massage Therapist are trained to adjust pressure constantly, with constant feedback from the patient. Pain is never a goal, and with acute injuries especially, pain is avoided at all costs. No technique is used which would cause increased pain or discomfort following a treatment. The goal with acute injuries always includes reducing pain during and after the treatment.
There are, however, times when massage therapy would not be suggested until after some level of healing has occurred. A few examples would include:
- Open wounds (lacerations)
- Flu or cold
- Overlapping conditions without medical approval (cancer, concussions, systemic conditions)
If you are ever unsure about the appropriateness of massage, ask your doctor or contact us directly.