Sports and Remedial Massage: Rehabilitation through Massage

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Sports and Remedial Massage Soft Tissue Techniques


Muscles ache, bruise, tear and cramp even with preventive maintenance of sports and remedial massage. During the rehabilitation process, discomfort can be reduced and healing accelerated by massage. Chronic as well as acute injuries can be effectively managed by the following sports and remedial massage soft tissue techniques:


Lymphatic Massage

Control of secondary injury resulting from insufficient delivery of oxygen to the tissues and removal of swelling can be improved by lymphatic massage in the acute stage of injury. Massage also helps remove oedema during the entire healing cycle by strengthening the uptake of fluids.


Trigger Point Massage

Pain and spasms in both in the injured and compensatory muscles are reduced by trigger point massage.


Cross Fibre Friction Massage

To maintain full pain-free range of motion during rehabilitation it is vital, during the maturation as well as sub-acute healing phases, to apply cross fibre friction as the formation of flexible, strong repair tissue is improved by this massage technique.


Conditions Treated by Sports and Remedial massage


Overuse Injuries

Most injuries are due to overuse created by repetitive motion such as in typing, computer work, gardening, playing the violin or swimming. These can be treated or avoided by massage. In an overuse injury, say of the rotator cuff, the rotator cuff and deltoid muscles would have a stringy texture on initial palpation. However, the stringy texture would not be as prominent after massage. The smoother texture is usually noticeable to the client as well. Further, by increasing elasticity and circulation, massage helps prevent injuries.


Strains and Sprains

The most common athletic injuries are probably strains and sprains. Sports and remedial massage treatments are not only well-suited for the rehabilitation of these injuries but also essential. Tendinitis, potentially a much more difficult problem to treat, can result from even first degree strains if left untreated. With regular massage, injuries will be treated and rehabilitated before they can develop into more serious complications and many injuries may be prevented altogether.


Oedema and Scar Tissue


Besides strains and sprains, oedema and scar tissue can also be treated using sports and remedial massage.



Massage works both mechanically and reflexively to help reduce oedema.


Bleeding occurs whenever the body is injured, such as in a tendon or ligament or being torn. Vasodilation then occurs in the region of the injury as the result of a number of chemicals being released in response to the injury. Oedema follows as fluid builds up in the interstitial spaces around the injury due to more blood flowing into this area through the augmented vasodilation. Healing will be longer if the oedema is not reduced by massage treatment. Massage given as soon as possible after the injury can effectively minimize the build up of oedema and quickly eliminate it.


Scar tissue

Several problems occur in any muscle injury which has happened as a result of a tear. Swelling is the first important issue that must be dealt with through massage. Once massage has assisted the removal of swelling and pain, the focus of massage therapy switches to the treatment of scar tissue as if the patient is not treated properly from the start with massage, scar tissue will develop in a random fashion forming adhesions which will limit mobility.


It is not possible through massage therapy to break up or reconstruct already formed scar tissue. However, the muscle can function more efficiently if the scar is made pliable by increasing its elasticity through massage. Thus, to maintain the pliability of the scar once injury has caused the development of thick scars or adhesions, massage therapy is necessary every fortnight.


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Author - Leon Potgieter

Published - 0000-00-00