Pre-event sports massage - Preparatory
Are you in training for an athletic event? It may be that you are gradually increasing your work outs or increasing the intensity. All of this means your musculoskeletal system is being pushed, and prone to strain and overuse problems. Getting a regular sports massage as part of your training regime is very beneficial not just in preparing your body but in preventing any injuries.
Ideally sports massage should not be closer than 2 to 3 days before your event.
Post-event sports massage - Recovery
After your athletic event, it is highly recommended that you receive a sports massage to help your body recover from the strains that have been put upon it. This should ideally be within a few days to help you recover from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as well as tackle any niggles and pains that may have arisen. It also helps effective delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues, removal of lactic acid and toxins, aiding the healing process
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
This is post strenuous exercise pain, stiffness and soreness that is usually experienced in the couple of days after the event. It can start within a day, but the soreness usually is worse 2 days after the event before slowly subsiding.
Injury Prevention and Management
Overuse or repetitive use can create a constant built up of tension and strain in the muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, and fascial connective tissue. This repetitive friction can build up to inflammation in the affected area, causing swelling and pain. In more severe circumstances, when not allowed to rest and more load and activity is put upon the area, it can cause muscle tendon tears or ruptures or cartilage issues.
How massage helps - release adhesions, knots and tension, ease myofascial rigidity, improving flexibility, joint range of movement, muscle strength, and muscle elasticity.
Acute stage of healing - RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
RICE is recommended at the acute stage, therefore when you have recently picked up an injury, such as sprained your ankle, or fallen on an area that has become swollen. In general, cold application to the injured area (cryotherapy) will help when the injury is recent or acute as it reduces inflammation as well as numb the pain.
Chronic stage of healing - Thermotherapy, sports massage
Heat application to the affected area (thermotherapy) is usually at the chronic stage when all swelling has subsided and the affected muscles surrounding the injured joint could be left tense. Heat helps relax the muscles and therefore effective in loosening the tight rigid fibres. Heat should never be used when the injury is acute and there is inflammation still present. At this later stage, sports massage is very beneficial as it can break down scar tissue and adhesions, as well as help stretch and re-align the muscle fibres.