There is no denying that playing sport is good for your body and mind. But with any physical activity, injuries can occur. Many people only practise sport in their leisure time or at the weekend. Sudden, intense use f weak and out-of-condition muscles increase the risk of injury. For dedicated athletes the risk of injury is also high. Overuse of muscles and repetitive strain of existing injuries can cause irreparable damage if not treated correctly.
Sports massage is an effective way of preventing and treating sports injuries. A form of deep tissue therapy, sports massage can alleviate swelling and pain and speed up recovery by increasing blood flow and circulation to the injured part. However, sports massage should only be performed by a qualified therapist. Massage is recommended after the initial symptoms have subsided and not as form of first aid. Massage performed too soon after initial injury can worsen the ailment.
Here’s a guide to some of the most common sports injuries and how sports massage can help.
An ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries for people who practise sport. A sprain occurs when ligaments that surround and support the bone are stretched and, in severe cases, torn. Ligaments have a degree of flexibility but a sudden or wrong movement can cause them to over-stretch, leading to intense pain and inflammation. Initial treatment is RICE: Rest; an ice pack; compression with an elastic bandage and elevation of the injured limb.
When the initial symptoms have worn off, sports massage can by performed to increase flexibility, improve ligament resistance and aid a speedy recovery. Sports massage can be performed after a week has passed since the initial injury. Cross Friction massage is an effective technique applied to sprained ankles. The ankle is placed in a stretched position and pressure massage is applied to the tendon. Your therapist will locate the ligament and gently apply direct pressure to the surrounding area, slowly moving towards the point of injury.
The most common sports injuries that affect the knees are lateral ligament strain and runner’s knee. Both these injuries are debilitating as they reduce the overall motion of the knee. Knee injuries are very common for those who practise high impact sports such as running, basketball, football and cycling. Lateral ligament damage occurs to the side of the knees. Sports massage is used to reduce the build-up of scar tissue and re-align the ligaments. It can also reduce swelling and pain by relaxing the muscles surrounding the knee.
Runner’s knee is essentially, overuse which weakens the cartilage under the knee cap. Sports massage can help strengthen and stretch the muscles surrounding the knee, increasing movement and flexibility to help prevent further injury.Sports massage stimulates blood flow which allows blood and oxygen to reach the joint, delivering essential nutrients to keep it healthy.
Hamstrings are made up of three major muscles, positioned at the back of the thigh. They serve to flex the knee and straighten the hip. Hamstrings are not very active when performing normal, everyday activities such as walking and standing, but they are used intensively when practising sports such as sprinting, rugby and football.
Infrequent exercise or overuse can cause the hamstring to stretch and strain. Sports massage is used for pain relief and to speed up recovery time. The technique is used to break down collagen fibres that form scar tissue. Massage can re-align normal fibres and soften and lengthen tight muscles. Massage also increases blood flow allowing oxygen-based, essential nutrients to reach the injury and speed recovery.
Hamstring injuries can re-occur, so a regular massage is recommended to prevent further injury. Sports massage should only be performed by a qualified therapist. If you play sport in the Bristol area, contact Bristol Chiropractic Clinic for a consultation.