Compression is usually applied, using a bandage or wrap. Manipulation of muscles and joints may also be used, when appropriate. A professional sports injury massage therapist will know the proper course of action to take, depending on the type and severity of the injury. Elements of chiropractic care are also present in the execution of treatment.
These techniques can be used to treat sprains, strains, and stress injuries. It is important that, before treatment begins, a physician is consulted. The physician will be able to determine the severity of the injury, including whether the damage extends beyond the soft tissue into the nerves. Massage therapy is suitable if the damage is limited to the soft tissues.
Chronic injuries, which are caused by repetitive motions (like carpal tunnel or tennis elbow) can also benefit from massage therapy. These injuries are usually only partly healed before the person performs the same task again, impeding full recovery of the muscle or joint involved. Massage for sports injuries may be used in conjunction with physical therapy for even better results.
The benefits of massage for sports related injuries are numerous.
- First, massage injury usually speeds up healing time. The body has its own mechanisms for healing, but massage can hasten the process.
- Second, it can be used to control the pain of chronic injuries, when other methods are not desirable or practical.
- Third, it offers a natural, drug free alternative to relieving pain associated with injuries. As added benefits, massage therapy can increase blood flow, improve circulation, provide added flexibility of muscles and joints, and contribute to general feelings of well-being.
All these benefits can help a person get back to their normal activities, and contribute to quality of life in a positive manner.
Massage therapists in general are highly trained professionals. Training program lengths vary widely, based on the schools where they are taken. Massage therapists receive between 500 and 1,000 hours of training before graduating. This training includes study of anatomy and physiology, massage theory and practice, as well as elective courses.
Once a massage therapy student has graduated, they have the option of obtaining national certification, by passing the National Certification Exam for Massage and Bodywork. The field is highly regulated, with most states requiring a certification or license by law. Also, professional organizations, such the American Massage Therapy Association, exist to foster professional development and a code of ethics among members of the profession.
If you've suffered a sports injury, no matter how minor it may seem, it's best to consult a professional massage therapist. The sooner your get treatment, the better your results will be. Enlist the services of a massage therapist who specializes in sports injuries, and help ensure fuller and more rapid healing. Don't let an injury take away the pleasure you get from doing what you love, or interfere with your performance of daily activities.