Our latest blog is from one of our own therapists, Jambaal Jeng, about sports injury and remedial massage therapy
Balance Sports Massage is a Massage Therapy and Sports Injury Clinic at the Kingston Natural Health Centre.
As a Level 5 Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist, my treatments are as much about addressing problems at their root as well as relaxation. This applies to long term muscular aches and pains as well as injury (whether sports related or otherwise).
Sports Massage is a key element in sports injury prevention and rehabilitation. A competent sports massage therapist is able to identify muscle weaknesses and imbalances that may lead to acute injury and/or chronic pain as well as work with the client to address these problems.
During injury, massage plays a very important part in the healing and rehabilitation process. In the first few days of a soft tissue injury, most commonly a sprain, strain or hematoma of ligaments, tendons and muscles, massage helps lessen the pain sensation by triggering the release of the body’s natural painkillers which is the more commonly known (and desired) relaxation effect; as well as flush waste from the area and encourage nutrient and blood flow that helps the healing process.
A good therapist will also identify and address specific compensation patterns. When any part of the body is injured, its corresponding part on the other side will take over the load of its functions. This puts a sudden extra load on that part of the body that it is not used to and may not be prepared for. This is called compensation. A lot of the time people do not know to address compensating areas during rehabilitation. The soft tissue is over working and the joints are stressed. Massage should be addressed specifically to these areas to loosen up the tissue and maintain flexibility and range of motion in the joints. This prevents possible compensation injuries and resulting long-term biomechanical error.
During the mid to latter stages of rehabilitation, massage helps break down scar tissue as the injury heals. In the long term this is probably its most important function as scar tissue formation effectively shortens and renders the muscle less flexible. It makes it very difficult, if not impossible to reach a full pain free range of motion when scar tissue has been left to form without treatment. Massage is the most effective hands-on therapy at breaking down scar tissue.
While massage alone is not a complete module of a sports injury clinic, it is a very important part of a team; both before, during and after injury. With on-going maintenance sessions, it is the most important component of injury prevention .