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Can You Sue for Malpractice After a Massage Injury?

by  on  Personal Injury

When people in Denver go to a gym to work out, they know they need to exercise caution to avoid injury. But when they go for a massage to relax muscles and promote healing, they are passive participants in self-care. They expect the massage therapist to exercise due caution to protect them from injuries. After all, the massage therapist is a paid professional.

All too often, however, massage therapists act irresponsibly during treatment and injure clients as a result. When that happens, personal injury lawyers are often able to help the victims recover compensation from the owner of the facility, the therapist, and others connected with the negligent service.

Why Negligent Massage Treatment Can Be So Harmful

Many massage patients are dismayed to find that injuries from improper massage therapy can be as disabling as injuries they might incur in a car accident or slip and fall incident. This is due in part to the fact that massage therapists make direct connections with the muscles and other tissue along the entire body of the person they are treating. In an effort to alleviate back pain, for instance, a massage therapist may impact pressure points with too much intensity and cause greater pain.

In many cases, massage therapists end up aggravating pre-existing injuries, particularly when they ignore the client’s instructions or medical history. They can easily damage nerves, muscles, or even bones near the spinal column, leading to serious injuries. If the therapist does not exercise proper care and follow appropriate procedures, they are more likely to cause injuries in clients who have recently undergone surgery or chemotherapy, those with hernias or skin conditions, clients with blood clotting disorders, and those who are older.

Injuries That Can Result from Improper Massage Treatment

A surprisingly high percentage of patients who receive massage therapy need corrective treatment as a result. Injuries caused by improper massage treatment can include:

  • Nerve damage
  • Strokes caused by improper massage or positioning of the neck or dislodged blood clots
  • Brain stem and spinal cord injuries
  • Rhabdomyolysis poisoning that occurs when crushed muscle releases too much protein into the bloodstream
  • A sensory injury that causes increased sensitivity to pain
  • Intestinal rupture
  • Scapular winging
  • Broken bones

Patients receiving massage therapy have also been injured in falls from the massage table and suffered infections caused by unsanitary conditions.

Negligent Behavior by Massage Therapists and Facilities

A person is said to be legally negligent when they owe a duty to provide appropriate care to another, they fail to perform responsibly, and that person suffers an injury as a result of the irresponsible behavior. A massage therapist or facility that welcomes the public to receive massages could be liable for failing to ask clients for their medical history or failing to conduct an evaluation of that client’s condition and medical needs based on that history. 

For instance, if a client has a medical history that indicates they are at high risk of a stroke, the massage therapist is supposed to take precautionary measures such as slowing down the massage process or focusing on single areas of the body to reduce the likelihood of triggering a cerebrovascular accident. If a therapist ignores conventional protective measures or fails to stop when an at-risk patient indicates they are feeling dizzy, that could be evidence of malpractice if these actions cause the client to suffer a transient ischaemic attack or stroke.  

Massage facilities and therapists can also be held liable if they fail to use, maintain, and sanitize equipment properly. Many massage businesses operating in Denver are now required to have a license, so if a massage provider does not have a license or fails to comply with requirements, that could also provide evidence of improper conduct.

Types of Massage and Potential Problems

Massage therapists perform many different types of massages, and some of these may be more likely to cause injuries than others. Personal injury lawyers have worked with patients who suffered injuries caused by techniques such as:

  • Deep tissue massage, which can cause spinal cord damage, herniated disk fractures, or broken bones
  • Fascial release therapy when the focus on treating connective tissue leads therapists to ignore consideration of the nervous system with the result that treatment is too intense and triggers sensory injuries
  • Infrared heat and massage therapy, which triggers interactions with other conditions to lead to rhabdomyolysis
  • Stretching therapy that pushes past a safe level and tears muscles or causes muscles to separate from tendons
  • Thai massage, which can put too much pressure on brittle bones, cause the heart to accelerate too rapidly and damage heart tissue, or cause a blot clot to dislodge and lead to a stroke
  • Shiatsu massage performed improperly leading to nerve damage
  • Craniosacral therapy, which can lead to dangerous bleeding or exacerbate head injuries

The bottom line is that massage techniques can be dangerous for individuals with certain conditions and they can be dangerous for anyone when those techniques are performed improperly. 

Massage therapists have a duty to exercise reasonable care in providing treatment appropriate to their clients’ conditions, and they need to understand how to apply the techniques of their profession in a safe manner. When they fail to fulfill these basic duties, they and any facility that employs them should be held liable for the consequences.

Find Out How an Attorney Could Help if You Suffered Massage Injuries

If you required additional medical treatment after an improper massage, you are now facing extra medical bills and may have been unable to work. Even worse, you have suffered pain that damages your quality of life, and that pain could continue far into the future.

While a personal injury lawyer cannot turn back the clock or heal your injuries, an experienced legal advocate could help you recover damages to cover your losses and compensate you for the suffering you have endured. At Levine Law, our dedicated team fights for fair treatment for the victims of negligent treatment. For a confidential free consultation to find out how we could assist in your case, contact us now.  

We have offices to serve you in Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins and Loveland.