On the Mend with Massage
Even if you concentrate on conditioning, sometimes injuries do happen. When they do, spine surgeon Johnny C. Benjamin recommends applying ice to any strain or sprain during the first 72 hours, then switch to a moist heating pad. Nonprescription medicine can help control pain. And a massage will promote healing.
"Massage is great in helping to bring blood and nutrients to the affected area to repair the soft tissue," he says. "Ideally, you should get a massage as soon as you can tolerate it. Massage also can help break up scar tissue and keep the muscles supple so less scar tissue develops in the first place."
Even when there's no injury, massage also helps athletes of all levels improve their flexibility and muscle suppleness. The kneading action of a massage disperses the accumulation of lactic acid, which causes fatigued, sore muscles.
When you book your massage, request a therapist experienced in sports massage, and ask that special attention be paid to any injured areas, says Maureen Moon, former president of the American Massage Therapy Association.
A Massage Therapist can also stretch the muscles in trouble areas, promoting increased flexibility when the body is warm and more elastic.