I DID WHAT? And now I need surgery and rehab?
By Shery Vogt-Lamancusa, Owner of HeartPrints Massage and Wellness
Let’s face it exercise sucks… but we do it because we are goal orientated, driven and don’t want to grow old without a fight! So, how many of you have twisted, torn or multilated your body? While training for a specific event or even worse injured yourself during the event?
In the years of being in practice I have performed rehab massages for many athletes; some only needed light work which only required a few sessions while others required months of work. I like to begin working with injuries at the same time physical therapy is started. Massage and PT work hand in hand because the majority of injuries are soft tissue tears/strains or sprains with on the rare occasion it is ligament tears or even worse cartilage tears. My job is to keep the scar tissue to a minimum, so my focus will be on creating the massage to fit what your injury is.
Massage reduces spasm, pain, and swelling. Massage can also prevent the formation of excess scar tissue or reduce excess scar tissue and adhesions (stuck together tissue) that weaken muscles and make you prone to another injury.
According to Ruth Werner, author of A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology: “Skillful, knowledgeable massage can make the difference between a one-time muscle strain that takes a few weeks to resolve and a painful, limiting, chronically recurring condition… By applying skills to the proper formation of scar tissue, the reduction of edema, the limiting of adhesions, and the improvement of circulation and mobility, massage can turn an irritating muscle tear into a trivial event.”
When you injure muscle or other soft-tissue, small tears occur in the tissue fibers. To heal the tears, your body immediately begins to form scar tissue at the injured site. However, this scar tissue doesn’t necessarily form parallel to the fibers of the injured tissue, potentially leading to excess scar tissue that is weak and prone to further injury. Also, because scar tissue isn’t elastic, it can restrict movement of surrounding fibers, again setting you up for further injury.
Rehab massage for injury requires a regular schedule, at least once a week. In some cases, you will see much faster results with a twice-a-week schedule. For how long? It depends on the nature and extent of the injury, how old it is, and your ability to heal. It also depends on your willingness, when appropriate, to ice the injury, exercise or stretch the injured area if appropriate, or identify and get rid of the cause of ongoing injury. This massage isn’t necessarily relaxing and can leave you feeling sore for a day or two. However, it’s not necessary to be in a lot of pain after the massage—that’s too much work—always let your massage therapist know how you felt after your last massage.
After taking a scar tissue class with Jamie Elswick I have learned that sometimes using less pressure will create more healing, she approaches injuries with the idea of not to pull and strain the injury more but to apply the right amount of pressure for the client to feel it but not hurt from it. In some cases just releasing the fascia allows the injury to heal at a better rate. And SERIOUSLY your physical therapist (if you have one) is designed to beat you up and stretch you out.. Come see me so I can heal you with loving hands!
I also understand that not all injuries require physical therapy, still getting massages to assist in the healing process of the injury will cut the time down. It all depends on what your goals are. How long you stop running or lifting weights to allow the muscles to heal. Ice, Rest, Elevation and Compression will get you back in track before you know it.