Being an athlete takes an enormous amount of dedication. Whatever you may be preparing for, be it a competition, big game, marathon, recital, there is no doubt that you will go through a great amount of training. It is important to train your muscles and tissues to perform in the desired ways in which you wish, although it may lead to the minor setback of feeling sore for a short period of time.
While this may temporarily affect your training process while you wait for the discomfort to subside, therapeutic massage can, fortunately, benefit athletes whose muscles have gone through extended periods of overuse. Therapeutic massage helps loosen up tight areas, thus aiding in the recovery process and allowing athletes to get back in the game sooner. For more information on how therapeutic massage may benefit you, contact Focus Physical Therapy today!
Understanding your soft tissues and their importance:
Your muscles are made up of many small, thin fibers that contract on command, working together to mobilize your muscle groups. These muscles are attached to your bones by connective tissues, called tendons, enabling them to move your body parts. Your bones are then connected by tougher bands of connective tissue, called ligaments, for added stability. Your ligaments are covered by yet another connective tissue called fascia. All of these connective tissues can be referred to as “soft tissues.”
Soft tissues help in mobilizing your joints and giving your body the strength it needs to perform tasks. Your soft tissues provide you with the ability to do many things; however, they also limit you from pushing yourself too far – even if that’s your intention. These can be damaged by certain stresses, especially those caused by the repeated actions within athletic activity. For example, “tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow” are both colloquial terms used to describe tears in the tendons of the elbow. They got their name from the repeated swinging action that tennis players and golfer’s do, making it a common injury that they experience. A tear in the tendon such as this can lead you with a significant amount of swelling and inflammation. Many athletes also experience sprains, which is caused by a ligament stretching farther than intended.
These may occur in response to the intensity of your sport, but they can also occur if muscles simply are too tight before you begin one of your workouts. Therapeutic massage can help with this, as it loosens up the muscles, and may even prevent some of these injuries from occurring.
Improving your performance with physical therapy:
Therapeutic massage can benefit athletes both before and after training. There are different types of therapeutic massage that your physical therapist may recommend for your specific needs, including:
- Myofascial release. This type of massage creates room for tissues that may be trapped by distortions or fascial adhesions, freeing them from constriction.
- Deep tissue massage. This type of massage loosens up your muscles and their connective tissues.
- Swedish massage. This type of massage relaxes any stiff or tense muscles you may have, allowing for increased blood flow and fluid drainage from swollen areas.
Therapeutic massage helps enhance the natural healing process of the affected tissues, so you can recover quicker and return to your sport sooner. Additional massage techniques, such as sports massage therapy, may be conducted before you even begin your training process, as a way to target the muscles and tissues that you use the most during your sport. Therapeutic massage can help you loosen, relax, and mobilize these areas before your training even begins, in order to decrease your risk of sustaining an injury.
One of the key roles of your soft tissues is to make sure your body is functioning properly; therefore, it is important for you to help keep your soft tissues as healthy and strong as possible. If you are looking to improve your performance, recover from an injury. and/or decrease your risk of sustaining an injury, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll help you get back in the game as soon as possible!
Your soft tissues work hard to make sure your body is functioning correctly, so it is important to help optimize their health and function. If you are an athlete looking for physical therapy treatments, give our office a call to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today. We would be happy to discuss massage with you and how it will benefit your physical performance. Your sport is important to you – we want to help get you back in the game!