Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: March 2013

Whiplash is a real pain in the neck!

There are many myths surrounding neck and back pain. I've taken five of the most common myths and am debunking them one newsletter at a time. (If you've missed the first 3 myths, check them out here). My hope is that this information will offer you new insight into the actual causes of and best treatment approaches for your own pain.

Common myth #4: Whiplash is a precisely defined injury in the neck.

Whiplash is actually an action, not an injury. This action usually involves the head snapping back and then forward. You may think of whiplash as something that occurs in an automobile accident, but there are a number of incidences that can cause one's head to be thrown forcefully, like riding a roller coaster or a collision while playing football. Although the term whiplash does not refer to an injury, it can certainly cause multiple injuries to any number of structures.

For many who have experienced whiplash, pain does not come on instantly, but rather builds over the course of days, weeks, and even months if left untreated. In fact, pain symptoms from whiplash injuries can last years! This is because the pain from such injuries is usually due to scar tissue formation. (We spoke about chronic adhesive scar tissue in common myth #1.) Structures affected in whiplash injuries are most often ligaments, but chronic pain can also be caused by damage to discs, nerves, and fascia. Although it is common for muscles to be affected, you may remember that they tend to heal quickly due to their rich blood supply, and so do not contribute to long-term pain. Break the pain cycle by getting to a skilled massage therapist who will help to break up scar tissue, strengthen damaged ligaments, extinguish trigger points, enhance mobility, and free you from your pain in the neck!

Tune in next month to see the last myth debunked!

Source: Dr. Ben Benjamin, World Massage Conference

Don't just lie there, lie there and get a massage!

Many consider their role as a massage recipient to be completely passive - lie there and do nothing while a practitioner works on you, staying silent to let the expert do her work. But to truly reap the full benefits of bodywork, you must be an active participant in your own health care. Communication is the most important key. In addition, you must allow yourself to be open to the experience and receptive to the nurturing care that is offered to you. David Lauterstein, award-winning massage educator, suggests the following excellent tips:

  1. Remember you are more than a body. Be open to receiving in a way that is of optimum benefit to you.
  2. As much as you are comfortable with it, let your massage therapist know the sources of stress in your life and body. He or she can then make emphases that will provide the best benefits for you.
  3. Most of us are so focused on doing, giving our energy to home and work tasks, that we have lost the healthy ratio of giving to receiving. Feel free to let go and receive deeply.
  4. Notice new experiences. You are a wonder. Feel how much you learn about your structure, balance and energy. The manipulative effects of massage will last a while. The learning from a massage will last forever.
  5. Get out of your head. Enjoy the balance that comes from high-quality attention to the vastness of life below your mind.

For those of you who are working with a new therapist while I'm on maternity leave, and those who may be new to massage, keep these guidelines in mind and have a relaxing, educational, and highly effective massage experience!

What's new with me ...

A great big WELCOME to my daughter, Sienna Rose, born 3/16 at 6:50 am, alert and beautiful as can be! The proud dad took this photo the day she was born.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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