Evidence suggests that adding massage therapy to your treatment plan for sports injuries is very effective.
Injuries caused during personal exercise, with or without equipment, resulted in over 468,000 emergency room visits in 2019. Bicycling accidents took second place at 417,000 followed closely by 404,000 basketball and 292,000 football injuries.
Most of these injuries resulted in some form of multi-month treatment plans that included surgery and/or physical and occupational therapy. Nearly all of the athletes were prescribed pain medication following their sports injury. These medications ranged from simple over the counter NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to potentially addictive opioids.
A recent study concluded that fascial manipulation via massage therapy resulted in significantly improved functional outcomes. The improvements were especially noted when massage was used in addition to the usual treatment of physical therapy.
Massage for Sports Injuries: Case Study
When surgery and post-operative therapy failed to alleviate symptoms, the patient started a massage therapy treatment program.
The sports injury massage program consisted of stretches, muscle massage, and soft tissue mobilization.
A 10-week course allowed the athlete to return to running. They completed an entire season of indoor track and field.
Adding Massage Therapy to Your Sports Injury Recovery Plan
Massage therapists can not make a diagnosis. We are not substitutes for physicians, so your first step should be a consultation with your doctor. They may take X-Rays, CT scans, or MRI’s to get a better look at the source of your pain and the root cause of your injury.
No amount of soft tissue bodywork will repair a torn meniscus or labrum.
Massage CAN help you recover from surgical repairs to these structures. An experienced sports massage therapist can certainly help your recovery from sprains, strains, tendonitis, and other soft-tissue ailments.
We are trained to work with supporting muscles that may become tired or overworked from compensating for an area of injury.
There is no one-size-fits-all massage plan for sports injuries. You will want to work closely with your therapist and doctor to develop a schedule to get you back on the field in the shortest amount of time possible.
My Experience Working with Sports Injuries
I’ve had the great pleasure of working with many athletes, amateur and professional.
My client list has included recognizable pro basketball, football, and baseball players.
I have worked with dance troupes, professional theater companies, and even a weekend warrior who biked from Washington DC to Seattle.