As Physiotherapists, we find that a large proportion of our clientele are people that train regularly for a number of sports. Commonly, the injuries that we see are the consequence of overload to the joints and soft tissues, usually from excessive movement or training – this is particularly common amongst runners and cyclers.
We frequently see patients that push themselves too far, too soon, trying to increase the duration or frequency of their routes. If the increase in training is not combined with regular rest and a thorough warm-up/cool-down, it will soon lead to an overload injury, where the soft tissues reaches ‘breaking’ point, resulting in strained muscles or a sprained ligaments. It is often at this point when our clients come to us for help. One way to reduce the risk of injury is by ensuring a thorough warm-up and cool-down. This applies to any sport that you are involved in. If you have a problem that you are struggling with and unsure what to do next, you can use our FREE ‘Ask An Expert’ service online to ask our professionally trained Physiotherapists for advice.
Professional athletes have no choice but to train hard for their sports, however, they have all the tools provided to them in order to avoid an overload injury from occurring in the first place. This will often include a comprehensive training programme (including warm-ups and cool-downs), and regular sports massages and therapies. For the rest of us, we don’t always have access to such luxuries, so, we must look after ourselves as best we can. A popular way to do so is a Sports Massage – not only will this aid your recovery process, but is also useful for discovering injuries you may not have been aware off, such as, knotted and overly tight muscles. We frequently uncover underlying muscle problems that our patients are not aware off which can protect the risk of a future injury.
Following any period of thorough exercise, there will be an accumulation of waste material and micro trauma, causing slight swelling amongst the muscles. Cool-down exercises in combination with deep tissue massage can be utilised to help the muscles to optimally recover from exercise.
A huge benefit to having Sports Massages is that they can be performed either on a pre- or post-exercise basis:
Pre-exercise massages can be performed a few days or a few minutes prior to exercise. If it is performed a few days prior, the aim of treatment would be to relax the muscles, break down adhesions and increase circulation within the muscles.
If it is performed minutes before, the aim would be to stimulate the muscle ready for action, using a faster pace massage with more superficial strokes, as well as including a bit of hacking (percussion movement using the side of the hands).
The post-exercise massage would include deeper and slower massage strokes to disperse waste products, remove swelling and encourage nutrients and oxygenation to the tissues. This may be performed multiple times depending on the amount of exercise that you have done.
By including massage into your exercise/recovery regime, you allow yourself to heal properly and decrease your chances of injury, as well as improving the health of your muscles, meaning you will be able to exercise more and for longer.
For more information, head over to www.physiofusion.co.uk and ask one of our professional Physiotherapists.