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  • Writer's pictureRachael Scott, BS, LMT

Mistakes to Avoid after a Car Accident

If you've been in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do. Here are four mistakes, from a massage therapist's perspective, to avoid making in the weeks and months that follow.

1- Waiting to get treatment: The first 28 days following an impact injury are where massage therapy can do the most good. A month after the accident, you may still need help to fully recover, but if you wait til then to start, massage could be less beneficial. As soon as you get hurt, see your doctor. If massage therapy is prescribed, schedule right away.

2- Refusing medication: As a massage therapist it's not part of my job or training to tell people what medications they should and shouldn't be taking. That's for you and your doctor to discuss. However, when I hear people say they're in pain but are avoiding taking their medication, it worries me. Often people choose massage thinking it can provide them the same relief as medication. As much as I believe that massage and manual therapy can help people with pain, a holistic approach to healing blends both traditional and alternative therapies. Before stopping your medication in favor of natural alternatives make sure to talk to your doctor.

3- Avoiding activity: The science is overwhelming clear that following an injury, prolonged rest should be avoided. People who have surgery in hospitals are made to get up and walk the same day whenever possible. People with mild to moderate soft tissue injuries need to be active to get back to life as normal. Don't push yourself to do something that's painful. Instead, make sure you're up and moving as much as possible, and avoid self-imposed bed rest.

4- Not speaking with a lawyer: Stress and pain go together. I see people with injuries that prevent them from working and doing the things they love in life. That plus dealing with insurance companies could potentially increase stress (and pain) and slow down recovery. Talking with a personal injury attorney and finding out about the claim process could help with anxiety.

Your body and your life are important. When you're injured from a traumatic impact, it takes a while to get back to normal. Taking care of yourself in a holistic way means looking at all the resources available to help you get better. Your doctor, lawyer, physical therapist and massage therapist are all on your side to create a net of support during your recovery.


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