Injuries to soft tissue essentially means muscles, tendons and ligaments.
One of the biggest risk factors in getting an injury is, having a previous injury and returning too soon and/or, setting intensity/load too high.
Other biggest risk factor is beginning a new activity without taking all necessary preventative precautions.
Preventative measures can include but not limited to:
- Adequate warm up and cool down
- Appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises
- Gradual increases of intensity and load
- Adequate diet (lots of water and rehydration)
- Recovery time (days off training, massage, hydro, stretching, cross-training)
Image by: Mindbody Health US http://mindbodyhealth.us/
Typical types of injury:
Often hard to prevent, these injuries include sprains, strains and bruises. Usually associated with high impact sports such as Rugby. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is most widely used in these scenarios but new research will likely change the management of acute injuries in the future. Referral for scans for anything more serious.
Repetitive friction, pulling, twisting or compression that develops over time. Usually associated with endurance activities such as running, cycling but also other repetitive movement activities such as tennis, golf etc. RICE protocol again (For now), especially if long term overuse.
The role of massage in any programme is ideally for preventative measures, to aid with recovery from heavy training loads and help bring awareness to any imbalances or red flags, before they become an injury.
Massage is also used in the rehab of injury to help speed up recovery times and ensure recovery/rehab is on track. It is often used in conjunction with other modalities such as Physio, to facilitate this process.
Whilst massage should not be used in the early stages of acute and some overuse injuries, it can certainly play a role in treating the non-affected side, which will almost certainly take on extra load, to help protect the injured side.
Written By, Matt Parry (Expert Remedial Therapist & Greenslopes Practice Manager)