Sports massage should be a vital part of a runner’s preparation. Massage can not only help the injured runner, but can also help prevent injury.
If you are training with a niggle, you are likely suffering from a soft tissue dysfunction.
Symptoms of dysfunction may manifest as:
- Aches, pains, tightness, stiffness, weakness.
- Local and radiating pain
- Referred pain - pain coming from another area of the body
- Tissue texture change - hardened and inelastic muscle
- Asymmetry – one side of the body is higher than the other or muscles on one side are larger than the other.
- Myofascial hypertonicity/hypotonicity – muscles are constantly switched on and contracted or are unable to switch on, inhibited.
- Trigger points – areas of tender tissue
Soft tissue dysfunction if left untreated is likely to lead to injury.
Massage can help in the following ways:
- Maintains function of the body - keeping it in good working condition, preventing injury
- Reduces pain by relaxing and releasing areas of tension
- Restores mobility and flexibility to injured muscle tissue
- Improves circulation helping muscles repair faster
- Promotes relaxation and stress relief calming the nervous system
How does a sports massage work?
Sports massage is a deep tissue treatment. Therapists will work into the deeper layers of muscle releasing built up tension, realigning the muscle fibres and connective tissue and increasing circulation. As blood flow increases, waste products are removed and fresh nutrients and pushed in. Regular sessions will increase joint mobility and flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury during exercise.
Massage can stretch tissues that can't be stretched by the usual methods. The bundles of muscle fibres are stretched side ways as well as length ways. Massage can also stretch the fascia that surrounds the muscle.
Breaking down scar tissue
Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can affect muscle, tendons and ligament flexibility. This type of tissue is more prone to injury and pain and affects the way your move. Massage can help break down scar tissue making the tissue more supple and flexible, and able to function more normally.
Helps reduce inflammation and swelling, improving the rate of recovery after a big event or hard training session.
Running - the cause of overuse injuries
Because of the repetitive nature of running, your body will develop injuries from overuse. Overuse injuries tend to cause inflammation. You can however avoid this through regular deep tissue massage. Massage will realign and aim to re-balance your muscles, you may also need to do corrective exercise to tackle the root cause of the problem.
When should you have a sports massage?
Sports massage can be useful for recovery after a major event like a marathon. You can one immediately after, or a day or two after. The best results are obtained when massage is performed regularly.
A good therapist will work with you to determine the best times to have a sports massage and also the type of sports massage.
You do not want to a have a deep tissue massage just before a big event, however you can have a warming, invigorating, energetic massage to warm your tissue up pre-race.
If you would like a sports massage to help you improve your running, get in touch. I would love to hear from you. I am a Sports Massage Therapist and Personal Trainer, so I can help yo with your corrective exercises too should you require them.