The cast came off and the joint wasn’t what it used to be. The skin was tight and bound down around the scar, the tissue sticking together. The scar sent burning zingers and the bone felt like fire ants. The joint didn’t want to move. The therapist could feel tight bands and knots in the muscles around the area. The fascia felt tight, not wanting to move. And the joint itself felt stiff. Time for a post-injury massage!
If you are recovering from an injury a massage for pain relief may aid your healing as part of an integrative approach to care.
For a fresh injury, a short, light pressure lymphatic massage can help set the stage for healing. Lymphatic massage focuses on aiding the immune response in an area. It aims to bring healing cells and flush waste cells from the injured tissue. It does not address any muscle tissue. Indeed, at very early stages of an injury, the use of muscular massage is dubious.
For minor injuries such as a pulled muscle, massage can help ease pain and relax tight muscle fibers. It may also improve circulation to the area to bolster the body’s natural healing process. Sometimes as little as one session can make a huge difference, and often a short series can get everything back to normal. When seeking a therapeutic massage to ease pain and improve function following a minor injury, the general rule of thumb is to wait 72 hours after the incident, or until any redness, swelling, or heat have dissipated.
For a more serious incident, the post-injury massage shouldn’t come until after seeking medical attention and being cleared by the health practitioner to receive massage. Typically, people start getting massage while they are in physical therapy or when ending physical therapy. Massage can greatly complement the work done in a PT’s office to rehab after an injury, as it targets the same structures and goals using a slightly different approach.
People use post-injury massage to address pain, scar tissue, stiffness, weakness, and diminished flexibility. It can also help improve mood, ease stress, and give a sense of healing and connection to the body. Many people say that massage is that “extra something” that makes a difference in their recovery.
At Nimbus we have taken part in many people’s healing efforts. We have seen people recovering from broken bones, sprains, pulled muscles, falls, accidents, sporting injuries, workplace mishaps… the list goes on. We’d love to hear your story of how massage has made a difference in your recovery.