While we all should know that massage should be avoided during an acute injury stage of 48-72 hours, there are many reasons that you may want to seek an alternative type of therapy or see a specialist for other conditions following that time period. Contraindication, as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is something (such as a symptom or condition) that makes a particular treatment or procedure inadvisable, such as massage therapy in this case. Contraindications for massage could be categorized into General, Local, or Medical types.
Acute injury is a sudden, sharp, traumatic injury that causes pain, such as a fall, strain, sprain or collision. When the body experiences an acute injury, there is an acute period of healing, generally lasting 24-72 hours, which typically involves pain and inflammation.
Understanding Acute Injury
The four cardinal signs of inflammation are known as Redness, Pain, Increased Heat, and Swelling. During this time, massage would be contraindicated as an effective technique while the body's own immune response is stimulated and begins its job of healing.
R.I.C.E. is a well known methodology to treating the injury for the first 48 hours, consisting of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. If the pain or swelling has not decreased after two full days, a visit to a physician would be the next step. H.A.R.M. is another acronym known for Heat, Alcohol consumption, Running, and Massage that should be avoided as not to exacerbate the symptoms or make the injury worse. Once this time period has passed, some therapies would be acceptable depending on the individual nature of the injury and the patient being treated.
General Massage Contraindications
Local Massage Contraindications
Medical Massage Contraindications
“When Not to Get a Massage: 26 Reasons You Cannot Get A Massage.”
Massage Therapy Reference, https://www.massagetherapyreference.com/when-not-to-get-a-massage/.
Specializing in Trauma-Informed Massage Therapy, Thai Yoga Bodywork, & Jin Shin Do® Acupressure.