I’ve come to the realization that injuries are preventable if you actually take care of yourself.
The nagging pain in my calves has continued despite foam rolling, cupping, and dry-needling. I’ve been told it was due to my flat feet, misalignment of my hips, not stretching, over running, etc. Whatever the cause of the problem has been, it has caused my calves to over compensate and become insanely tight to the point of stiffness and constriction. The cupping and dry-needling provided temporary relief; however, the problem continued to be an issue until my chiropractor finally suggested that I go and have my legs massaged.
I scheduled a sport massage for my legs with Carter Sport Therapy and was greeted by Dianna Christmas, LMT. Upon arrival, she had me fill out a questionnaire regarding my problem areas, level of pain, and the standard medical questions regarding my health. I was then taken to a semi-private room to change into shorts and walk around the room, so she could determine my level of mobility.
She performed a massage or manipulation that included their Myofascial Integration Technique (MIT), which is a deep, penetrating manipulation designed to restructure the muscle and soft tissue by creating space in the body allowing for an easier and freer range of motion and promoting relief of many chronic painful conditions. After the massage, she had me walk around to see if my flexibility and mobility had improved. My legs actually felt lighter and I could immediately feel the difference in my calf.
She then showed me Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) techniques that would prevent my muscle tightness from reoccurring. These active-assisted stretch techniques were used to increase tissue-joint movement and improve physiological function, increase range of motion in joints, create more fluid movement, and unbind tight and/or taut muscles.
The benefits to massage include, but are not limited to:
- increased blood flow
- reduced muscle tension and neurological excitability
- increased sense of well-being
- increased muscle compliance resulting in increased range of joint motion
- decreased passive stiffness
- decreased active stiffness
- enhanced performance
- reduced risk of injury
- enhanced recovery
- decreased pain and fatigue
Conclusion: If you want to maintain peak performance and prevent injury, I highly recommend taking care of yourself with regular maintenance. Make it a habit to stretch before and after exercise. Don’t be afraid to have a professional massage those knots and tight muscles, so other muscles won’t have to overcompensate. I also highly recommend finding a practice that specializes in athletic performance, postural issues, injury recovery, injury prevention and flexibility enrichment like what Carter Sport Therapy offers.
Fredericson, M. & Wolf, C. Sports Med (2005) 35: 451. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200535050-00006
Nunes, G. S., Bender, P. U., Menezes, F. S., Yamashitafuji, I., Vargas, V. Z., & Wageck, B. (2016). Massage therapy decreases pain and perceived fatigue after long-distance Ironman triathlon: A randomised trial. Journal of Physiotherapy, 62(2), 83-87. doi:10.1016/j.jphys.2016.02.009
Urbaniak, M., Milańczyk, A., Smoter, M., Zarzycki, A., Mroczek, D., & Kawczyński, A. (2015). The effect of deep tissue massage therapy on delayed onset muscle soreness of the lower extremity in karatekas – a preliminary study. Journal of Combat Sports and Martial Arts, 6(1), 7-13. doi:10.5604/20815735.1174225
Weerapong, P., Hume, P.A. & Kolt, G.S. Sports Med (2005) 35: 235. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200535030-00004
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