Any athlete knows the amount of dedication it takes to be successful. Whatever you may be preparing for – whether it’s a competition, big game, recital, marathon, or anything else along those lines – it’s no secret that the training is extensive. With any athletic feat, you have to train your muscles and tissues to perform in the ways you want them to. Inevitably, this can lead to soreness or pain. While this is a minor setback, it doesn’t change the fact that it temporarily impedes your training process.
Fortunately, therapeutic massage can help. This type of physical therapy treatment is commonly used in athletes whose muscles may have experienced extended periods of overuse. It helps in loosening up any tight areas and making recovery quicker and easier – so you can return to your sport as quickly as possible. To learn more about how therapeutic massage may benefit you, contact Lonoke Physical Therapy today.
Understanding your soft tissues:
Your muscles are made up of many small, thin fibers that contract on command, working together to mobilize your muscle groups. Your muscles are attached to your bones by connective tissues, referred to as tendons, that enable movement of your body parts. Your bones are then connected by tougher bands of connective tissue, referred to as ligaments, that enable added stability. Your ligaments are covered by yet another connective tissue called fascia. Each of these connective tissues falls under the same category of “soft tissues,” and each one plays an important role in how your body functions.
Soft tissues help in mobilizing your joints and giving your body the strength it needs to perform tasks. They help you accomplish countless physical feats but they also work to limit you from pushing yourself too far. Soft tissues can be damaged by certain stresses, especially those caused by the repeated actions within the athletic activity.
For example, “golfer’s elbow” or “tennis elbow” is both colloquial terms used to describe tears in the tendons of the elbow. Their name developed from the repeated swinging action that tennis players and golfer’s do, making it a common injury that they experience. When you experience a tendon tear, you may be left with a significant amount of inflammation and swelling. It is also common for athletes to experience ligament tears, also known as sprains.
Tears can occur as a direct result of the intensity of your sport; however, they can also occur if your muscles are simply too tight before you begin one of your workouts. Therapeutic massage can get you back to the game as quickly as possible and help prevent unwanted injuries from occurring by loosening up tight muscles.
Improving your performance with therapeutic massage:
Athletes can benefit from therapeutic massage both before and after their training process. Your physical therapist may also recommend other types of massage to complement your physical therapy treatments, including:
- Myofascial release. This type of massage creates room for tissues that may be trapped by distortions or fascial adhesions, freeing them from constriction.
- Deep tissue massage. This type of massage loosens up your muscles and their connective tissues.
- Swedish massage. This type of massage relaxes any stiff or tense muscles you may have, allowing for increased blood flow and fluid drainage from swollen areas.
The main focuses of therapeutic massage are pain relief and healing. Sports massage therapy can also be used before you even begin your rigorous exercise regimen, targeting the specific muscles and tissues that are used the most for your sport. Before you train, a physical therapist can help you loosen, relax, and mobilize certain muscles, in order to help them stay limber throughout the process. This will decrease your risk of sprains, strains, and ruptures.
Your soft tissues work hard to make sure your body is functioning correctly, so it is important to help optimize their health and function. If you are an athlete looking for physical therapy treatments, contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation. We would be happy to discuss massage with you and how it will benefit your physical performance. Your sport is important to you – and we want to help you return to it!