The most common sports injuries are strains and sprains.
Strains are injuries to muscle fibers or tendons, which anchor muscles to bones. Strains are called “pulled muscles” for a reason: Over-stretching or overusing a muscle causes tears in the muscle fibers or tendons.
What Are Muscle Strains?
You can strain any muscle in your body.
Strains occur when your muscle stretches beyond its normal range of motion or when you put more load on the muscle than it’s strong enough to handle.
When this happens, the muscle fibers tear resulting in a pulled muscle.
Doctors grade strains — from first degree to third degree — based on how much muscle fiber you’ve torn.
Common sports strains
In sports, it’s possible to pull almost any muscle.
The most common sports strains affect the leg or groin muscles, such as the:
- Quadriceps — the muscle in the front of your thigh.
- Hamstring — the muscle in the back of your thigh.
Muscle strain causes and risk factors
Common causes of muscle strains include:
- Playing sports
- Pushing or pulling something heavy
The motions involved in high impact sports can put you at risk of strained muscles.
For example, a:
- Groin strain can come from quick, side-to-side motions.
- Thigh muscle strain often happens when you suddenly speed up or slow down while running.
Preventing muscle strains
Warming up before physical activity is key to helping prevent muscle strains and other muscle injuries.
It’s also helpful to work on muscle flexibility and strength.
Muscle Strain Symptoms and Diagnosis
Muscle strain symptoms
Pain is the most common symptom of a muscle strain.
When you strain a muscle, you will feel pain at the point of injury. In most cases, you will have pain if you try to move the muscle its full range.
With more severe sports strains, you may:
- Not be able to move the limb.
- Have swelling or bruising around the injury. This may appear as late as a few days after straining the muscle.
Muscle strain diagnosis
If you have muscle pain and soreness, you should see a doctor.
During the exam to diagnose a sports strain, the doctor will:
- Assess the painful area around the sprained muscle.
- Test your strength.
- Check your flexibility.
He or she might request an MRI to see the extent of the tear to the muscle.
Muscle Strain Treatment
The main goal of muscle strain treatment is to help you regain strength and flexibility so you can safely return to sports.
At-home muscle strain treatment
You can treat most minor sports strains at home with the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest — rest for a couple days after the injury to allow your muscle to repair.
- Ice — apply ice for about 15 minutes every hour or two.
- Compression — use a compression wrap or shorts to help relieve muscle pain.
- Elevation — keep the injured limb elevated for the first few days to reduce swelling.
Muscle strain rehabilitation and stretching
After you’ve rested for two or three days, you can begin stretching and limited movements.
Work on regaining flexibility in the muscle and then slowly add in strength exercises.
If you have pain, take it easy. You shouldn’t be in pain with rehab workouts.
Therapeutic massage is a general term that describes any type of massage modality that helps relieve pain, reduce stress, and work on a specific problem—such as a frozen shoulder, back pain, neck injuries or pain, or sports injuries. People tend to assume therapeutic massage means deep tissue massage, and that they will get a very strong massage.
What is the difference between deep tissue and therapeutic massage?
Therapeutic Massage does not need to cause intolerable or excruciating pain to get results. Deep tissue massage is a type of massage aimed at the deeper tissue structures of the muscle and fascia, also called connective tissue. The pressure will generally be more intense than a relaxation massage.
What is a deep tissue therapeutic massage?
Deep Tissue Massage. Deep tissue massage therapy is similar to Swedish massage, but the deeper pressure is beneficial in releasing chronic muscle tension. The focus is on the deepest layers of muscle tissue, tendons, and fascia (the protective layer surrounding muscles, bones, and joints
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) Consumer Survey, 67 percent of individuals surveyed claim their primary reason for receiving a massage in the previous 12 months was medical (41 percent) or stress (26 percent) related.
A growing body of research supports the health benefits of massage therapy for conditions such as stress, fibromyalgia, low-back pain, and more. Find out how you can benefit from adding massage therapy to your health and wellness routine.
25 Reasons to Get a Massage
- Relieve stress
- Relieve postoperative pain
- Reduce anxiety
- Manage low-back pain
- Help fibromyalgia pain
- Reduce muscle tension
- Enhance exercise performance
- Relieve tension headaches
- Sleep better
- Ease symptoms of depression
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Reduce the pain of osteoarthritis
- Decrease stress in cancer patients
- Improve balance in older adults
- Decrease rheumatoid arthritis pain
- Temper effects of dementia
- Promote relaxation
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Help chronic neck pain
- Lower joint replacement pain
- Increase range of motion
- Decrease migraine frequency
- Improve the quality of life in hospice care
- Reduce chemotherapy-related nausea
What is Nicola’s Special Fitness Massage for Santa Barbara athlete’s?
It’s a combination of Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, and Swedish Massage. I recommend at least a 1 1/2 hour session to get you tuned back up. Depending on your specific issues you may need more massage sessions.
What are the Benefits of a Fitness Massage?
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Flush out the lactic acid in your legs and body.
- Ease of medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for and recover from, strenuous workouts or hikes.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue, and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
What is Sports Massage?
Sports Massage – Sports massage is designed to enhance athletic performance and recovery. There are three contexts in which sports massage can be useful to an athlete: pre-event, post-event, and injury treatment. It’s more vigorous than a Swedish Massage.
The purpose of sports massage therapy is to help alleviate the stress and tension which builds up in the body’s soft tissues during physical activity. Where minor injuries and lesions occur, due to overexertion and/or overuse, massage can break them down quickly and effectively. Above all, it can help prevent those bothersome injuries that so often get in the way of performance and your athletic goals, whether one is an athlete, or a once a week jogger.
This treatment is not just for the sports person: anyone can benefit from sports massage, including people in physically demanding jobs, and those not quite so obvious (occupational, emotional, and postural stress may produce many similar characteristics to sports injuries).
Sports massage tends to be deeper and more intense. It is based on the various elements of Swedish massage and often incorporates a combination of other techniques involving stretching, compression, friction, toning, and trigger point response techniques similar to Acupressure and Shiatsu. A skilled therapist brings together this blend of techniques, knowledge, and advice during treatment, to work effectively with the client to bring about optimum performance and to provide injury-free training, and minimize post-event injuries.
Sports Massage is best administered 1 /1/2 hours before your event or 1 1/2 hours after your event.
What is Deep Tissue Massage and what to expect?
Deep tissue massage is a massage that is designed to get into the connective tissue of the body, rather than just the surface muscles. As a massage therapist when I perform deep tissue I use a variety of techniques to deeply penetrate the muscles and fascia, loosening them and releasing tension. Most clients have a more intense experience with a deep tissue massage, but also feel that it is more beneficial because it addresses deep-seated muscle pains. Deep tissue is beneficial when undertaken on a regular basis so that I can work together with the client to correct long term problems, relax the body, and prevent injury.
To get a truly good deep tissue massage you need to find someone who specializes in deep tissue, like Nicola. Most spas have several massage therapists who can offer a basic deep tissue massage integrating a number of techniques and styles customized for your body for maximum impact. Experiment by trying several deep tissue massage therapists to find the one that is the right fit for you and your body.
One of the defining differences between deep tissue and regular massage is the use of tools. A standard massage usually only involves the hands and lower arms of the therapist. During a deep tissue, however, I use elbows and fingers for deep, penetrating work in the muscle. A deep tissue massage also tends to be very slow, and I will use long, flowing strokes to ease in and out of the muscle. Going in too quickly can cause the muscle to tense up, which is not the desired reaction. I also maintain firm pressure at trouble spots for several minutes to achieve muscle release before moving on to the next area of the body.
When you go to get a deep tissue massage, they should talk with the therapist about any issues you might have and like to see addressed during your massage. I am happy to concentrate on a single body part for an entire massage to achieve lasting results and in fact, half of my clients want just that! It is also important to communicate with me about pain; The massage may be intense, but if a client starts to feel pain, he or she should communicate that immediately. I work on a scale of 1 – 10, where 7 is on the edge and 10 is very painful. A lot of my clients take the deep tissue pain or even like the pain in order to get the quickest results for their body type. At the end of the session, lots of water should be consumed to help the body express the toxins released during the massage. You will probably be sore for a few days after the intense deep tissue treatment but that’s normal. Remember that ice is your friend.
Deep tissue massage is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or fascia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is often recommended for individuals who experience consistent pain, are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes, and patients who have sustained physical injury. It is also not uncommon for receivers of Deep Tissue Massage to have their pain replaced with a new muscle ache for a day or two. Deep tissue work varies greatly. What one calls deep tissue another will call light. When receiving deep tissue work it is important to communicate what you are feeling.
Active or Direct Myofascial Release Massage in Santa Barbara, Goleta, Ca.
This technique involves slower and deeper pressure into the muscle tissue to assist in breaking up adhesions and scar tissue in the muscle.
A myofascial release approach is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat somatic dysfunction and resulting pain and restriction of motion. It is a treatment described by Andrew Taylor Still, founder of osteopathy/osteopathic medicine, and his early students, which uses continual palpatory feedback to achieve the release of myofascial tissues. This is proposed to be accomplished by relaxing contracted muscles, increasing circulation and lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fascia
Background and terminology
Fascia is the soft tissue component of the connective tissue that provides support and protection for most structures within the human body, including muscle. This soft tissue can become restricted due to psychogenic disease, overuse, trauma, infectious agents, or inactivity, often resulting in pain, muscle tension, and corresponding diminished blood flow. Although fascia and its corresponding muscle are the main targets of myofascial release, other tissue may be affected as well, including other connective tissue.
As in most tissue, irritation of fascia or muscle causes local inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in fibrosis, or thickening of the connective tissue, and this thickening causes pain and irritation, resulting in reflexive muscle tension that causes more inflammation. In this way, the cycle creates a positive feedback loop and can result in ischemia and somatic dysfunction even in the absence of the original offending agent. Myofascial techniques aim to break this cycle through a variety of methods acting on multiple stages of the cycle.
In medical literature, the term myofascial was historically used by Janet G. Travell, M.D. in the 1940s referring to musculoskeletal pain syndromes and trigger points. In 1976 Dr. Travell began using the term “Myofascial Trigger Point” and in 1983 published the reference “Myofascial Pain & Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual”. There is no evidence she actually used what is now termed “myofascial release”. Some practitioners use the term “Myofascial Therapy” or “Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy” referring to the treatment of trigger points, usually in a medical-clinical sense. The phrase has also been loosely used for different manual therapy techniques, including soft tissue manipulation work such as connective tissue massage, soft tissue mobilization, foam rolling, structural integration, and strain-counter strain techniques. However, in current medical terminology, myofascial release refers mainly to the soft tissue manipulation techniques described below.
Myofascial techniques generally fall under the two main categories of passive (patient stays completely relaxed) or active (patient provides resistance as necessary), with direct and indirect techniques used in each.
Direct myofascial release
The direct myofascial release (or deep tissue work) method works through engaging the myofascial tissue restrictive barrier, the tissue is loaded with a constant force until tissue release occurs. Practitioners use knuckles, elbows, or other tools to slowly stretch the restricted fascia by applying a few kilograms-force or tens of newtons. Direct myofascial release seeks for changes in the myofascial structures by stretching, elongation of fascia, or mobilizing adhesive tissues. The practitioner moves slowly through the layers of the fascia until the deep tissues are reached.
Robert Ward, D.O. suggested that the intermolecular forces direct method came from the osteopathy school in the 1920s by William Neidner, at which point it was called “fascial twist”. German physiotherapist Elizabeth Dicke developed Connective Tissue Massage (Bindegewebsmassage) in the 1920s, which involved superficial stretching of the myofascial. Dr. Ida Rolf developed structural integration, in the 1950s, a holistic system of soft tissue manipulation and movement education based on yoga, osteopathic manipulation, and the movement schools of the early part of the twentieth century, with the goal of balancing the body by stretching the skin in oscillatory patterns. She discovered that she could improve a patient’s body posture and structure by bringing the myofascial system back toward its normal pattern. Since Rolf’s death in 1979, various structural integration schools have adopted and evolved her theory and methods.
Dr. Rolf reduced her practice to a maxim: “Put the tissue where it should be and then ask for movement.”
Michael Stanborough summarized his style of direct myofascial release technique as follows:
- Land on the surface of the body with the appropriate ‘tool’ (knuckles, or forearm, etc.).
- Sink into the soft tissue.
- Contact the first barrier/restricted layer.
- Put in a ‘line of tension’.
- Engage the fascia by taking up the slack in the tissue.
- Finally, move or drag the fascia across the surface while staying in touch with the underlying layers.
- Exit gracefully.
Different practitioners bring their own sensibility, style, level of maturity, and awareness to their work with clients which can have a significant effect on the client’s experience.
Indirect myofascial release
The indirect method involves a gentle stretch, with only a few grams of pressure, which allows the fascia to ‘unwind’ itself. The dysfunctional tissues are guided along the path of least resistance until free movement is achieved. The gentle traction applied to the restricted fascia will result in heat and increased blood flow in the area. This allows the body’s inherent ability for self-correction to return, thus eliminating pain and restoring the optimum performance of the body.
The indirect technique originated in osteopathy schools and is also popular in physiotherapy. According to Robert C. Ward, myofascial release originated from the concept by Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathic medicine in the late 19th century. The concepts and techniques were subsequently developed by his successor.[vague] Robert Ward further suggested that the term Myofascial Release as a technique was coined in 1981 when it was used as a course title at Michigan State University. It was popularized and taught to physical therapists, massage therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians by John F. Barnes, PT, LMT, NCTMB through his Myofascial release seminar series.
Carol Manheim PT summarized the principles of myofascial release:
- Fascia covers all organs of the body, muscle and fascia cannot be separated.
- All muscle stretching is myofascial stretching.
- Myofascial stretching in one area of the body can be felt in and will affect the other body areas.
- Release of myofascial restrictions can affect other body organs through a release of tension in the whole fascia system.
- Myofascial release techniques work even though the exact mechanism is not yet fully understood.
The indirect myofascial release technique, according to John Barnes, is as follows:
- Lightly contact the fascia with relaxed hands.
- Slowly stretch the fascia until reaching a barrier/restriction.
- Maintain a light pressure to stretch the barrier for approximately 3–5 minutes.
- Prior to release, the therapist will feel a therapeutic pulse (e.g., heat).
- As the barrier releases, the hand will feel the motion and softening of the tissue.
- The key is sustained pressure over time.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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