Most of us are used to requesting treatment for our bodies only after getting an injury.
But this is not the best way to take care of our bodies. The injury is often caused by the accumulation, over time, of stress or micro-traumas of our musculoskeletal system.
In fact, one of the most common muscle issues, knots, are present in the muscles at the beginning with a small volume formation. After weeks and months of continuous stress and overloading, they increase their volume leading to muscle pain, muscle strain, muscle or tendons inflammation, and muscle tear.
So we should seek the help of a specialized sports therapist before the muscle injury when our body starts to send us signals of muscle stress such as soreness after the training that persists a few days later.
Once the injury has occurred, after the healing phase, scar tissue formation may occur, making the muscle tissue weaker and less flexible.
Scar Tissue occurs when there is a medium, big muscle tear or strain. The presence of scar tissue is a condition that can increase the risk of re-injury as it creates a muscle’s weak point.
Scar tissue is formed mainly by collagen, a non-elastic tissue that decreases muscle power and flexibility. So after the injury scar tissue substitutes muscle fibers, creating a non-elastic structure of the muscle. This structure reduces the power and flexibility of the muscle in that particular area of formation.
Scar tissue formation can be avoided or reduced if the muscle injury has been treated properly in the early phase of the injury.
You could leave the injury heals by itself but the chances of high scar tissue formation increase a lot.
Even if we can partially cure scar tissue with tailored sports therapy such as Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM ), it is better to try to avoid muscle tears and injuries!
The photo below shows the healing process of muscle fibers after a muscle tear or muscle strain.
During the training period, is very important to check your muscle condition. Even if you don’t have any particular muscle pain or issue, It is good practice to do a sports treatment like a sports massage, to check and treat small stiffness and knots that don’t cause any symptoms too.
You can’t imagine how many people are surprised when I find knots and little muscle issues that they never thought to have during routine sports therapy!
During the accumulation phase of muscles’ knots and stiffness ( training period ), we can act on them to block the process and avoid the onset of the actual injury ( muscle strains, tendon inflammations, muscle tears ).
So thanks to the periodic treatment of the musculoskeletal system we can keep our body always in an optimal condition and more effective in carrying out sporting practices and daily life.
If you don’t have time or you can’t afford a regular sports massage, the best way to prevent muscle injury and muscle stiffness is to do more stretching I consider the best workout to improve the muscles’ flexibility and joints’ mobility.
The image below shows a thickened Achilles after a rupture due to the accumulation of scar tissue, calcifications, and adhesions alongside the tendon.
The key factor for an effective preventive sports therapy is to treat not only the trigger points ( where the athlete has pain or feels stiffness ) but to find and treat the little muscle issues that don’t manifest their symptoms yet and the athlete was not aware of.
The periodicity of the treatments is very variable and subjective.
There is no regularity in treatments valid for all as it depends on many factors of daily life such as:
-Type of Job.
– Type of physical activity or sport.
– Weekly training hours.
– Amateur/recreational or professional training.
– Musculoskeletal conditions.
Based on all these factors, generally speaking, we can have prevention plans that start from 2 Treatments a week until 1 treatment every 6-8 weeks.
For example, for runners who want to take on a marathon, it is important to organize a treatment program that extends during the training period and immediately after the competition.
Here I am going to give you an example of a marathon treatment plan we adopt in our sports clinic in London for our runners, both professionals, and amateurs, designed to prevent sports injury.
Our Marathon treatments plan consists of 4 sports therapy treatments such as a sports massage during a time of about 6-8 weeks:
So the concept that summarizes the whole post and that I repeat always to my athletes is “Don’t wait for the pain but anticipate it”!
With this concept in mind, you can save money ( after an injury you need many treatments to cure it ) and you can increase the quality and performance of your muscles!