Are you training regularly with a Personal Trainer? Or are you just starting an exercise plan? No matter what your level of fitness an injury could stop you exercising and be very painful. It could even force you to take time off work!
Sports Therapy might be just what you need to stay injury free or to rehabilitate an existing injury.
What is Sports Therapy?
Sports therapy takes a holistic approach to treat and prevent musculoskeletal injuries. It differs from Sports massage because although Sports Therapists use Sports Massage as a technique Sports Therapists are more qualified and trained in treatment of injuries and use other treatments in addition to massage.
In a consultation the Sports therapist will gather lots of information to find out what’s going on in your body. They might:
- ask you about your pain
- look at your posture and gait
- ask what your current exercise regime is and what your goals are
- feel for areas of tightness or tension in your muscles
- measure your joint’s range of movement (ROM) using a special piece of equipment called a goniometer
Using this information they can work out which muscles are damaged or imbalanced and use a range of techniques to help you get better.
One of the main techniques is Sports Massage. Sports massage uses specialised targeted massage strokes which:
- Stretch tight muscles and connective tissue
- Break down scar tissue
- Increase blood supply to the tissues
- Promote relaxation
- Improve Range of movement
- Help speed up healing
Sports therapists can also advise on home treatment for your injury such as using heat or ice packs and some stretching or strengthening exercises to do. They might also suggest you work with a good personal trainer to ensure you are doing the right workout to reach your goals.
When should you see a sports therapist?
Although most people think of going for treatment only when they are in pain there are many ways sports therapy and massage can benefit you even if you don’t have pain or injuries. For example:
- You could go for a tune up before training for an event or increasing your mileage or intensity. This might pick up an issue, for example, tight hamstrings. If you address this you might be able to prevent a serious injury further down the line.
- Regular sessions while training. There are no set rules for this but if you are exercising very hard for a period of time, e.g. training for a marathon you might find it helpful to have frequent sports massages to keep supple
- After a major event or race. We all know the aching and soreness and day or two after a really heavy gym session or an event. This is called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). A sports massage can help speed up healing and reduce the pain.
- You have a job or hobby that stresses your body. Many people are at risk of Repetitive Strain injury (RSI) or other injuries from their work. Having a sports massage can relieve pain and help improve posture to reduce the risk of injury.
- Some people choose to have a sports massage every month as it helps them feel good and recover faster