Injury Prevention, Rehabilitation and Performance Improvement
Research has shown that muscular pain is more common now than it was 40 years ago. A main problem in society today is that of muscular imbalances, which means that certain muscles are overactive and tight and others which are under active and weak. This effects movement function and can ultimately lead to injury.
Whether a person plays a sport, is physically active or not, it is important to address muscular imbalance if the person wants to avoid possible injury, and instead wants to improve function and health. Even if a person is recovering from injury, we may help the client recover from the injury, however if the imbalance which maybe contributed to the injury is not resolved then the injury may occur again.
Sports/Remedial massage is highly effective for wide ranges of people, both active and inactive. However, sports massage without addressing postural and muscular considerations limits its effectiveness.
This is why Corrective Exercise assessment/design, in conjunction with sports massage will magnify the results the client experiences. There are very few specialists who offer this alongside sports massage, however I am trained and skilled in this key capability.
When a client sees me for sports massage, for whatever reason, the corrective exercise concepts, ideas and practical methods I also use can greatly add value to the client as:
The client gets to understand the reason why certain areas are tight, weak, out of balance,causing pain or tightness.
The human movement system (how the body functions as a whole in terms of the nervous system, muscular system and joint control) enables the client to understand his/her body and potentially avoid future pain.
Recovery from injury is much faster when corrective exercise rehabilitation strategies are taken into account.
Pain, muscular imbalance and muscular dysfunction can be due to inconsistencies/imbalances/compensations within the human movement system. The identification of these can facilitate the results achieved by sports massage. This is because the tight/overactive muscles which need to be massaged/stretched have been identified by corrective exercise assessment techniques.
A client may come to massage for maintenance or improved health. By looking at posture and identifying key tight/weak areas, then the client has a much greater chance of functioning healthier.
What is Corrective Exercise.
Corrective exercise is the systematic process used to identify musculoskeletal dysfunction, develop a plan of action, and implement an integrative corrective exercise strategy.
Identifying the problem using an integrated postural assessment process.
Solving the problem by corrective program design.
Implement the solution via exercise instruction.
Clients may come to me for Corrective Exercise for various reasons, including neck pain, shoulder pain, hip pain, or lower back pain as examples. Or they may have postural issues, muscular imbalances, or are recovering and rehabilitating after an injury.
The Corrective Exercise strategic plan that is devised for the client, based on a comprehensive postural assessment, consists of 4 phases:
Inhibitory techniques involve using sports massage and other advanced massage techniques in releasing tension or decreasing the activity of neuromyofascial tissues in the body.
Sports massage stretching techniques are used to increase the extensibility, length and range of motion of neuromyofascial tissues in the body.
Muscles which are weak are isolated and activated using specific exercises.
One the weak muscles are activated they are then integrated with other muscles in an integrated form and functional movement.
The following is an example of a client who came to me with lower back pain.
Debra is a 33 years old, a dancer, and has been experiencing increasing levels of back pain during the past 3-4 weeks while the amount of dance training was increasing and she was doing many rehearsals for an upcoming show.
During Debra’s Corrective Exercise Assessment it was clear that the front of her thighs (quadriceps and hip flexors) were short and tight, most likely due to increasing loads on them during the past few weeks. It was also clear that her back (Latissimus Dorsi) was also tight. Also, as her rehearsal volume increased she was spending less time training and conditioning her core, which had subsequently become slightly weaker.. What all of this meant was that the angle of her hip had shifted, pointing downwards slightly and therefore causing discomfort in her lower back.
The basic Corrective exercise strategy adopted here was:
Sports Massage work on Quadriceps and back to relieve tightness
Sports Massage stretches for Quadriceps and Back to lengthen contracted tissues
Specific isolated strengthening exercises for stomach. In this case the stability swiss ball crunch exercise was used
Functional movement pattern to integrate. The exercise used here to integrate movement was lunge with dumbbell press using light weight.
I provided Debra with a modified version of the above that she could do by herself 3 times per week, and usually before her rehearsals, Debra reported 4 weeks later that she was experiencing no pain in her lower back at all. She found the corrective exercise strategy I gave her so valuable that she uses it as a warm up for all of her exercises and dance training sessions.
I have integrated Corrective Exercise concepts into my Sports Massage sessions many times with great success. It is so important to look at the person in a ‘complete’ way, whatever the issue, because the human movement system functions as a whole unit, where one area effects the next, and the rest. I am delighted that in many cases some clients have been able to cancel an operation and avoid further discomfort as a result.