Strains and Sprains
How does massage therapy help a strain or sprain?
First I’d like to remind you that a strain is a muscle injury that partially or completely tore the muscle and this can occur anywhere within the muscle and its tendinous attachment, or ‘musculotendinous unit’, as it’s called. A strain can result from overuse, repeated minor trauma, too violent a contraction, a sudden jarring movement or excessive forceful stretches. Registered massage therapists are specialized in treatment for muscle, or soft tissue, conditions. Depending if you have a mild, moderate or severe strain, the treatment would be specific to the type of injury you sustained and aims to first reduce inflammation, increase drainage and relieve the pain. Remembering to use a cold pack at the time of injury, greatly helps to flush the area, reduce swelling and speed healing. Therapy then progresses to appropriate levels of muscle use, stretching exercises when the muscle is ready, and strengthening it back to normal function.
A sprain, is a joint injury. The bones have momentarily come out of alignment from whatever trauma or force, causing joint structures like ligaments, joint capsules or tendons to be torn. A sprain and a dislocation are similar in injury, but differ mainly in the degree of injury. Whether your sprain is mild, moderate or severe also dictates the type of treatment. The long term goal is again to restore as closely as possible to the condition prior to the injury, restoring range of motion and elimination of any restrictive adhesions.
When to use hot and when to use cold….
R = Rest
Simple but very powerful, remembering to use the “R.I.C.E. rule” for most soft tissue injury does much to reduce swelling and pain. It decreases recovery time caused by the inflammatory response of swelling and all the limitations that go along with swelling. A wrapped ice bag is the most effective initial therapy for many injuries and can be held to the site with an elastic bandage. Avoid frostbite with a layer of fabric between the ice and the skin. Ice therapy varies with the injury and its severity. Most injuries respond within 24 to 48 hours to a cold-flush therapy used three to four times daily for 10-minute applications. When the cold is removed from the area, the in-rush of blood to warm the tissue causes a flushing of wastes out of the injured area. Cold may not sound very inviting, but once you’ve seen the results it’s well worth going past that initial reaction. It’s useful in shorter 3 to 5-minute versions for repetitive strain after you’ve stretched the muscle. Remember not to use cold therapy on any areas that have poor circulation, nor for respiratory conditions or on those having cold hypersensitivity, and cardiac disorders. Ice has a numbing, anesthetic effect and use of the muscle after its application should be limited until the tissue returns to normal temperature.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and immersion in a warm bath, sauna or steam room can stimulate the excretion of toxins from our body though the skin. This is the reason why your massage therapist is always suggesting you take an epsom bath after having a massage. The magnesium sulphate in epsom salts is further said to draw lactic acid waste products from the tissue, as well as having a purifying quality. Inducing perspiration is useful in treating acute diseases and many chronic health problems. As a sedative, water is very efficient, nontoxic, and soothing. A warm bath is best to relax the entire body, but a hot compress on a tight muscle can do much to relieve the cramping tightness and bring blood flow back to the area.
natural therapies to relieve stress or pain
© Virginia Hanspiker 2003-2012