Accidents are unfortunately a part of everyday life, whether it be falling over or something more traumatic such as a car accident.
Sometimes with larger accidents that include harsh impact, a person can suffer a spinal cord injury. This is a sudden blow or cut to the very delicate spinal cord, and the damage can either be a temporary loss of feeling or sensation to the more permanent paraplegia.
For spinal cord injury patients, loss of muscle tone and control, spasticity, chronic pain, and overall muscle health are all major issues. Even when suffering paraplegia and they can’t move their muscles, massage can help improve their overall health.
There is often struggle with range of motion issues, caused primarily by a decrease in blood flow as well as swelling. And more often than not, they struggle with pain.
For many SCI survivors, it’s not their injuries, but the subsequent sedentary lifestyle that is the problem. If your mobility is limited, exercise becomes more difficult. Massage helps break up the tightness that comes with both injuries and a sedentary lifestyle.
Another common struggle, not only with people with SCI but the general population, is poor circulation. A number of factors contribute to this. If you are confined to a wheelchair, blood flow to your feet and legs decreases. Your injuries may also compress arteries and veins, further restricting circulation. Other causes may be heart conditions, varicose veins and obesity.
Poor circulation reduces muscle tone and can cause your extremities to “fall asleep” or feel tingly. Poor circulation has also been seen to contribute to chronic muscle pain and can slow your ability to heal.
Massage increases blood flow both to the muscles massaged and to surrounding areas. By improving muscle tone and function, it can also help your body maintain healthy circulation long after your massage session is over.
So, if you know anyone suffering from a SCI, then massage may help not only physically but also mentally and emotionally.