There are many benefits of massage to sport related injuries. I believe that the majority of people see massage as a “luxury”, when it should be seen as a “necessity”, writes Reading Massage Therapist Grant Bullion. We should consider massage the same way we look after our teeth by regular visits to the dentist. Massage, with its variety of disciplines can be very beneficial to your mind and body. Generally, it’s considered to be part of Integrative Medicine and it’s offering alongside other treatments is growing more and more in the recovery and relief from a huge range of medical conditions. This article looks at some of the many benefits that massage therapy may offer, but in particular the benefits of massage to sport related injuries.
The proven benefits of regular massage therapy are listed below:
Other benefits of massage, which are awaiting confirmation through further research, and already some studies have found massage can also help with:
Although massage therapy is hugely beneficial, it is meant to work alongside regular medical treatment, not instead of. It would be wise to inform your GP that you’re going to give massage a try and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
At Reflex Spinal Health the massage therapists work alongside our chiropractors and osteopaths as a multi-disciplinary team. This produces the best environment for you to recover as fast as possible from your injuries and to receive the optimal pattern of care for your specific condition.
Below are some of the many benefits of massage to sport related injuries:
Massage techniques to Plantar Fasciitis are known to help treat the condition. By breaking down scar tissue, improving blood and lymphatic circulation. Lymphatic circulation is present in the removal of waste from tissue efficiently. Areas that are connected to the fascia include, the outer calf muscles, Achilles heel and the sole of the foot where the Plantar Fascia is.
Transverse friction massage is a technique which works across muscle fibres that promotes the production of Collagen and also increases circulation. An extra benefit to this technique is that it reduces collagen Cross-Linking. Cross-Linking is how new scar tissue forms, therefore by reducing this, in turn reduces formation of Scar Tissue. Your practitioner will apply pressure with quick movements horizontally across the outer calf muscle, Achilles area and the sole of the foot below the heel. The practitioner will slowly increase pressure on the area within the patient’s tolerance. This is so the practitioner can also impact the deeper tissues and avoided surface friction.
Only about a 5-minute session which is likely to be a segment of a longer session to treat other areas, the later sessions further down the treatment plan, may take longer on the Plantar Fascia, depending on its mobility, pain level and pain tolerance. Cold therapy may be applied after cross fibre massage sessions to reduce soreness or inflammation. The best way to do this, is by freezing a small bottle of water, and use it as a roller under your foot. Be sure not to do this on bare foot to avoid freeze burn to the skin.
Calf tension is also a contributor to Plantar Fasciitis. By using Deep Tissue Massage combined with various Stretching techniques of the Gastrocnemius and Soleus (Calf Muscles) in addition to the above explained techniques can really aid in the treatment of Plantar Fasciitis.
This is mainly caused by “Over-Use”, and therefore people who tend to push themselves too hard are moto suffer from re susceptible to suffer from the condition. Particularly if they are running as fast as they can or running an incline. Shin Splints has two categories – Anterior & Posterior Shin Splints.
Anterior Shin Splints develops at the Front of the leg. Specifically, where your tendon of the Tibialis Anterior (Muscle at the Front of your Shin) attaches to the Tibia (Shin bone). You’ll feel a dull ache that worsens over time if not treated correctly and/or well rested. Posterior splints are often the more painful of the two categories. This occur where the tendons of the Tibialis Posterior attach to the inner areas of your shin bones. This category causes a deeper pain. Primarily deep inside the lower leg. Referred pain travelling down to the foot is also often experienced.
Shin splints are often symptomatic of a stress fracture, especially when there is considerable swelling involved.
Massage is the most effective and safest means of treating Shin Splints. Although uncomfortable and somewhat painful, massaging the Lower Leg can help to gently stretch the fibres of the muscles and tendons. This helps with Pain Relief and also as previously explained, prevents formation of scar tissue.
The Iliotibial Band (IT Band) is another commonly effected area of the leg which can become quite painful due to overuse. Again, an injury mostly affecting runners. The IT Band is our Balance Maintainer. It runs from the hip (Ilium) to the top of the Shin bone (Tibia) and gets its name from its origin & insertion points. Because of its highly tendonous composite, it can become very painful when over-use sets in causing hypertension. Due to Tendons having a lesser blood supply than Muscles, they can often take longer to heal. The main contributing factor to this condition is when people push themselves too hard to increase speed and distance.
The right Massage Therapist will use a variety of techniques to treat this condition. Techniques such as Deep Tissue Massage along the fibres of the band and Transverse Friction to Myofascial Release and gentle stretching techniques to regain its original flexibility and become less painful
A common injury caused by over-use by runners, and cyclists. Runner’s Knee is also known as Chondromalacia Patella or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. In a nutshell, its description is a gradual wear of the cartilage underneath the Patella (Kneecap). This can cause swelling, stiffness, and pain at the front of the knee. The good news is, the condition can be treated with Massage. By using a combination of various Massage Techniques, gentle Stretches, and Rest when advised the inflammation, tension and ultimately pain can be reduced.
Located at the front of the thigh, the Quad Muscles or Quadriceps Femoris collectively contain the largest mass of muscle than any other muscle groups in the body. The Quads consist of 4 muscles – Rectus Femoris, Vastas Lateralis, Vastas Medialis and Vastas intermedialis. These muscles are responsible contributors to running, jumping, kicking and even walking. Everyday activities and continuous use, they can become strained through overuse, improper or insufficient warm up/stretching before exercise, overstretching during a warmup and physical trauma.
While some quad strains can result in severe pain, they usually result in a dull ache, and can be treated with a combination of rest and ice. Once out of the Acute stage of the injury, which is usually 4 days, massage can be hugely beneficial to this condition. Combining Massage, Stretching, Rest, Ice and Laser therapy to treat the injury can regain full Range of Motion, Muscle Strength and Length. Ultimately getting you pain free.
Tendonitis is an inflammation of a tendon. More than one Tendon can be affected at any one time. The condition will, at some point occur in almost any of the body’s tendons. The condition usually sets in when it’s been overworked. Repeated or excessive stretching can cause tears. This can result in a dull, achy pain and inflammation. Rest and ice are the most effective ways to treat tendonitis, while stretching properly is the best way to prevent it. Regular massage to maintain muscle density, blood flow and flexibility can be hugely beneficial to preventing this condition. Tendons have less of a blood supply than muscles do. Therefore, they take longer to heal than muscles. They require a more specialised and localised treatment than that of a muscle.
All of the above conditions can be treated an avoided by having regular Massage. Massage Therapists at Reflex Spinal Health Clinic are very highly qualified in their field and don’t just use orthodox Massage Therapy, like you’d receive in a Spa.
If you have any further questions about the benefits of massage to sport related injuries, or on any topic related to massage therapy please contact us at Reflex Spinal Health and we would be happy to help!
17 Church Road, Caversham, Reading, Berkshire RG4 7AA
Reflex Spinal Health are a passionate, dynamic spinal health team. We are committed to help as many in our community of Reading, Berkshire and South Oxfordshire to enjoy the vitality of great health, to reach their health goals and feel truly alive! Our chiropractors and osteopaths offer the highest standards of care in a superb environment.