Warm weather is upon us! The mini-blizzards of April are a thing of the past. We can look forward to a summer of running and jumping and playing! One of my favorite times of year, but, it’s also when I hurt myself the most. As a kid, I broke four bones in a two year span 🙁
I’ve spent the past several years telling you all the good reasons to get a massage. Rarely do I tell you when not to get a massage. Let’s take the case of broken bones or muscle tears… If you just broke your leg or tore a muscle, don’t get a massage!
With this type of trauma, the body immediately goes into defense mode. The body’s built in airbag system immediately goes in effect. The area becomes inflammed; it’s swollen and warm to the touch. Your system has recognized there is a problem and has called all available the afflicted area to form a protective shield. Your pain sensors go crazy and you temporarily can’t use it!
You probably want to go to a doctor first. Applying a massage at this point is irresponsible: I don’t know what is going on and can further irritate the area; increase the damage; cause great pain with even the lightest touch.
But after you figure it out… a massage can make a huge difference! There are a few things you may notice after the cast and the bandages are off:
A swollen area may be carrying excess interstitial fluid, localized fluid retention. Lymphatic drainage is an extremely light massage that can help move these fluids to lymph nodes where the body can rid itself of waste. A lymphatic drainage massage is slightly deeper than if a butterfly brushed past your arm. It is very methodical, but can get you back to a normal size.
When your body hurts, it generally diverts the workload. That means your opposite arm / leg / whatever may be doing double duty. A massage to these healthy tissue is always in order! Also, trauma may cause adjacent muscles to be overused. How many times have you discovered a muscle you never knew you had? I’m sure they could use some extra attention as well.
Finally, scar tissue may have formed. If you had surgery or a muscle tear, there may be a “stitch” of fascia the body naturally created to mend the wound. In some cases, it is beneficial to have a massage therapist work scar tissue out. Consult a doctor or physical therapist for specifics on your particular case.
Don’t be afraid to run and jump and play. If something happens, know there are networks and networks of people out there to help get you back on your feet!