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Massage for Sports Injury Recovery

Turn on any professional sporting event and you’re likely to see a massage table set up on the sidelines and athletes receiving therapeutic massage during the game. This leaves many to assume sports massage is only available to or beneficial for elite athletes.


It might surprise to you know sports massage is beneficial for anyone who has suffered a sports-related injury, whether you play on a team or injured yourself during a solo workout. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, “Sports massage can be used to improve athletic performance, speed recovery, and can be utilized by all individuals who participate in any athletic and/or exercise program to help improve conditioning and maintain peak performance.”



Regardless of your injury, sports massage can provide significant relief from trauma symptoms and help speed recovery. To prove just how restorative massage can be, we’ve gathered a list of common sports-related injuries and the ways in which sports massage can help.


  1. Hamstring Injuries – Straining the hamstring muscles often occurs when athletes accelerate quickly or twist/turn suddenly. Massage techniques can be used to stretch and loosen the tight muscle while stimulating blood flow.


  1. Neck Injuries – Neck injury can happen for a variety of reasons including high velocity contact with another athlete, causing a whiplash, or wrenching of the neck muscles. There are several different types of massage a sports therapist may use depending on the patient’s symptoms including deep tissue, myofascial, and Swedish massage as well as trigger-point therapy.


  1. Broken Bones – Fractures can happen anywhere—on the field, at the gym, or while biking or jogging. Sports massage plays an important role in recovering from a broken bone by reducing stiffness and restoring range of motion. Massage techniques may also be used to reduce both pain and swelling in the injured area.


  1. Pain & Inflammation – While less severe than the aforementioned conditions, pain and inflammation can prevent you from enjoying the maximum benefits of your workouts and negatively affect your performance. Recently, researchers made a fascinating discovery—that sports massage affects the body on a cellular level, promoting the growth of new mitochondria in skeletal muscles. Mitochondria work to repair muscles and suppress pain, thereby reducing discomfort and inflammation.


  1. Psychological Tension – People often minimize or dismiss altogether the effect our mental state has on athletic performance. In addition to the physical stress athletes are under, their ability to focus and/or engage in tactical maneuvering during competition can take a toll on mental health. Sports massage can reduce an athlete’s stress and tension by reducing cortisol levels in the body and increase relaxation and a sense of wellbeing by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels.


Sports massage plays an important role in the health, wellness, and healing of injured athletes. Consider making sport-oriented massage part of your regular fitness routine—we think you’ll find massage to be a key piece in your overall wellness puzzle.


Additional References

Massage Envy

Day Break Massage & Wellness

Very Well Health

Elements Massage

Women’s Health Magazine

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