Although the name Sports & Injury Therapy suggests that this treatment is just for athletes, nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone who has stiffness or pain in muscles or joints would benefit, as I learnt from my first encounter with this therapy.
In 2002 I was involved in a serious road traffic accident which resulted in my ankle being broken in two places. Once I left hospital the pain in my ankle failed to subside and caused me to have a limp for a year. Indirectly, this then caused a misalignment of my body which put pressure onto my posture. After a year of trying several different treatments for the pain and loss of movement within my ankle joint, I came across a relatively new concept of treatment called Sports & Injury Therapy.
By the time I had heard of this treatment, I had lost a large range of movement within my ankle joint. After the first few sessions however, I felt a considerable difference within my ankle and it wasn’t long before the pain subsided.
The treatment made a huge impact on my life physically and as a consequence, I decided to spend the next few years of my life learning a much needed technique that has the potential to treat so many patients.
What is sports and injury massage therapy?
Sports & Injury Therapists must have a thorough understanding of anatomy and physiology, in particular the muscular and skeletal systems. The therapy is a non- invasive treatment based on the age old complementary therapy of massage. Massage itself is used to promote relaxation and improve circulation to soft tissues and joints. However, sports massage takes this further by having greater knowledge of the actions of the muscles and an understanding of the factors that can cause pain within these tissues, so it can correct the underlying cause rather than just give relief.
Sports massage concentrates on the individual muscle needing the treatment and stretches the fibres in opposing directions, improving elasticity and breaking down scar tissue further. This is excellent for long term problems such as neck and shoulder tension.
What are the effects of Sports & Injury Therapy? Primarily the effect is a reduction in pain, achieved naturally as the massage releases the natural endorphins that go directly to the injured site. Increased tissue elasticity promotes greater movement of the surrounding joint. As scar tissue is broken down circulation improves allowing the body to heal naturally.
Who can benefit from Sports & Injury Therapy? Almost anyone who is physically active can benefit: musicians or office workers with overuse injuries; people with physically demanding jobs; active people coping with aging and its accompanying effects; those who generally suffer from small injuries and loss of elasticity in their joints; and, of course, anyone who partakes in recreational sports or fitness activities.
If a muscle is strained it matters little whether it is the result of digging in the garden or lifting weights in the gym (Cash, 2002). Damage to the tissues i.e. muscles, tendons and ligaments is the same, although the techniques used during the treatment maybe different.
What can Sports & Injury Therapy treat? The massage, applied skilfully, is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system (Cash, 2002). Received regularly this can help prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse. A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.
What to expect from a treatment? Initial consultations normally include a one hour assessment and non invasive treatment to ascertain the extent of the injury, and a detailed examination of the posture to assess any weakness. All treatments after the initial assessment include various massage techniques, trigger point therapy and aftercare advice.