Oct 2016 29

Top 5 reasons to get a sports massage

By: Dave Wheeler

1. Preparing for an event or race

Most people 1st discover sports massage when they find they've been accepted for a big race like a marathon or major bike event. 

After the initial excitement and panic have subsided most people do a little bit of research on how they can best prepare themselves for  the big event. Sports massage  is one of the things that crops up a lot.

The Virgin London Marathon website points out that sports massage can:

  • help stretch out your muscles and improve their elasticity
  • relax the muscles
  • reduce aches and pains
  • break down scar tissue on the massage

Having a short regular sports massage (usually monthly for several months in the lead up to the event) can significantly improve your chance of success, and reduce the risk of injury to your muscles.


2. Recovering from an event

After a big race or event, your body's going to need time to recover. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is pretty much standard.

Sports massage can really help with the body's recovery process.  There are 2 best times to get a sports massage after an event:

  • Immediately on finishing - or at least within 45 mins to an hour of finishing. Sports Massage at this point can really help soothe tired muscles, stretch them out a little and reduce the later effect of DOMS.
  • Around 48 hours after an event. By then the inevitable DOMS will have subsided, so your sports massage therapist will be able to work on the deep muscle tissue to relax it.


3. Overcoming muscle injury

Muscle injuries occur when we overdo it or don't listen to our bodies. Both over-training (i.e. using the same muscle over and over again without sufficient rest) and under-training (so that the muscle isn't fully ready for the event) can lead to injury.

If you've felt a muscle "go", or it's painful to use then you need to seek help. There's not a lot we can do in the 1st 48 hours unless it's really minor, so best to wait a couple of days and then see your sports massage therapist.

Sports massage will break down the scar tissue on the muscle (yep, that hurts as much as it sounds it will). This will allow the muscle to recover to pretty much it's pre-injury performance. Without doing this, you'll always have a weak spot there and be prone to injury again.


4. Aches & pains from repetitive movements at work

If you make the same movement for hours on end, your muscles will fatigue. Assuming you can't stop to recover, muscles nearby will be recruited to help out... but because they're not really designed to do the job of the tired muscle, they wear out even faster.

In this way, muscle fatigue, and the aches and pains that go with it spread. Once this starts, it snowballs.

So last week Alison, a checkout operator came with really bad pain in her left shoulder from repeatedly passing items over the laser scanner at the checkout. This one small movement thousands of times a day had first built up a small area of muscle into a big hard marble, then just given up the ghost. The week before, Peter, a painter & decorator came for treatment from spending days with his arm going to & from with his arm over his head painting ceilings.

Sports massage can relieve the tension in those over-used muscles and bring relief to the nearby ones that have been carrying the burden. 


5. Aches & pains from sitting at a desk or driving all day

Sitting down all day isn't our natural posture. If you're at a desk or in a car for long hours a day, there can be a real toll taken on the muscles of the lower back and upper shoulders & neck.

It comes from us having to hold ourselves in a relatively unnatural position. This results in muscles become taut like a drum and stiff. Back ache and shoulder ache are the most common postural complaints.

Again, sports massage can help relieve the symptoms of keeping your body in these positions for long hours. It can't solve the problem of keeping your body in an artificial position for hours on end, but it can relieve the aches & pains.


As ever, if you think I can help, give me a call.