If you’re stiff, tight, or a little sore but don’t have an injury and think a sports massage would be good for you then here are a few things you might like to know before booking in for a massage with a physiotherapist.
It’s a common belief that lactic acid in your muscle is what causes soreness after a workout. Lactic acid does cause ‘the burn’ while you’re working out but when you get a massage your physiotherapist won’t magically push it out of your system. In fact your body does that for itself clearing out the lactic acid shortly after you stop exercising. Instead, what a sports massage can do for you is help recovery in other ways.
Sports massage can reduce pain in two ways.
Firstly, if you find sports massage relaxing then the sports massage will release endorphins in your body and these endorphins will act as a natural pain killer and help to reduce your pain. Secondly, sports massage works to reduce pain because the receptors under your skin that feel pain are also responsible for your sense of touch. The sensory system feels touch before it feels pain. Therefore, when your physio is giving you a sports massage your body’s sense of touch will block the pain receptors during the sports massage itself.
Sports massage is great as a recovery tool because when it reduces your pain and stiffness that means you then move more freely. Loose, free, thoughtless movement helps the recovery process because if you walk around stiff and tense you are likely to hold onto some of the soreness from previous workouts.
Sports massage can also be a great tool to destress and unwind. Studies show that a lot of injuries are related to stress and anxiety. Neck pain for example is an obvious one most people relate to stress but also athletes with stress fractures were also seen to have higher levels of anxiety compared to similar athletes who weren’t injured.
Sports Massage Sleep!
Another benefit of a sports massage is generally after a sports massage you are more relaxed and get a more restful sleep. Sleep is the greatest recovery tool we have. Often injuries occur because recovery is poor and not because your exercise is bad. Think about it, how often do new parents get injured? What’s changed isn’t their training it’s their sleeping pattern. . .
When thinking about getting sports massage you need to remember that sports massage isn’t a treatment if you have an injury. Sports massage can help reduce pain and stiffness but if you have an injury then going for a lot of sports massages is just keeping the problem at arm’s length without getting to the root cause of the problem. If you think you have an injury it may be better to book in with your physiotherapist for a full assessment and get a plan to sort out the cause of the problem itself.
Things to do before your sports massage
- Make sure you’re hydrated before coming in for your sports massage. If you are dehydrated muscle can be stiffer and more difficult to work with. The easier your muscle is to work with during a sports massage the more benefit you will get from it. But, make sure before your sports massage begins that you’ve used the toilet, nothing worse than getting relaxed and after 10 minutes having to get up to use the toilet.
- Don’t take pain killers or muscle relaxants before your sports massage. During the sports massage, it is important that the physiotherapist can get proper feedback from you. You need to be able to tell your physiotherapist during a sports massage how their pressure is, if you need more or you need less. If your sense of touch is impaired by medication during your sports massage this will be more difficult.
- Your physiotherapist will ask you a few questions before you start your sports massage. They are doing this because a sports massage can be very individual. No two people want the exact sports massage and if you have an idea of how you would like your sports massage to go you should tell your physiotherapist when you get there. If you have never had a sports massage before don’t worry your physiotherapist will work it out with you.
- When you get a sports massage your skin may be red afterward, and if you are taking blood-thinning medications it may make you susceptible to bruising. It is important to discuss any medications or medical conditions you have with your physiotherapist before your massage so that they can modify the sports massage appropriately.
- Finally, if you book in for a sports massage here at pain and performance clinic don’t be afraid to ask us questions. Among all our physiotherapists they have experience in other fields such as coaching, strength and conditioning, Gaelic football, rugby, athletics, and long-distance running. You can always pick our brains for tips around training, recovery or injury prevention while you’re lying on the table. Although if you’d rather some peace and quiet during your sports massage you can always tell us to stop talking, it won’t be the first time we were told to shut up and we won’t take any offense.
If you want to contact us with any questions about sports massage or your pain don’t hesitate to contact us via email, by phone, through our social media channels.
Alternativley if you would like to book our Sports Massage Packs €95 instead of €150 your can do so by clicking here https://www.painandperformanceclinic.ie/product/sports-massage-package/