The Best Schedule for Injury Care

Massage for injury rehabWhen clients come in with an injury that stops them from playing their sport, they usually want to know when they will be 100%.  And they usually hope you can tell them.  They want anyone to tell them.

They know their body pretty well, and they know how severe or mild their own injury is, so the answer or words they are really hoping to hear is for someone to tell them “out loud” what they are thinking to themselves.

“Oh, this is terrible.  Just terrible.  You are out for 6 weeks or 12 weeks.  Then you’ll be right back where you were before you got hurt.”

We wish it were that easy to know the future of when and/or how fast or slow someone will get back to 100%.

But it’s not that easy.  Every human body is different.  Every injury is different.  Every athlete is different and has unique styles of discipline, rest, recovery, diet, positive self-talk, etc.

Even the exact same doctor performing the exact same ACL replacement has different outcomes.  A different muscle tone before the surgery, different muscle imbalances that probably caused the ACL tear in the first place, etc, etc.

So, when helping athletes, put yourself in their shoes.  Consider their fear of NEVER playing their sport again.  Even with a simple injury, THIS is their main concern.

This is the schedule I usually try for acute injuries: (not the plan for post-surgery)

  • First Session: 1 hour in length, massage with assessment, ice, ice massage, stretches if indicated, refer to doctor if indicated.  You are looking for the specific muscle affected, how hot/swollen it is, is it even safe for you to work on them. After isolating the problem area, assess how much pressure they can handle, how strong of a contraction if any can they make, how much stretching of the area can they handle. Ice the area, and ice massage if tolerated.
  • Next Day, Day 2: 30 minutes in length, quick massage with assessment, ice massage, stretches
  • Next Day, Day 3: 30 minutes, same as yesterday
  • Two Days later, and every 2 days for 2 weeks: 30 minutes, same treatment plan using more pressure as tolerated, adding more stretching as tolerated.  If you are also a personal trainer, add strengthening as tolerated. Start assessing why the injured area is possibly out of balance.  If injury does not improve, or keeps coming back with little activity, send them to a doctor
  • 7 & 14 days after first session: 1 hour in length (in the middle of the 30 min/every other day schedule), massage with assessment, use more pressure as tolerated, ice massage, stretches and start adding opposite areas.  Always check in with the athlete about their workout schedule and how they are feeling, are they back to regular workouts? How is the pain right after the massage? When do they feel best? Worst? What are they doing themselves to help heal? You are looking for the swelling to go down, the heat in the affected area to go away, the pain to go away with pressure and then with action of that muscle, and lastly no pain with both.
  • Next twice per week @ 30 minutes or 1 @ 60 minutes, if they are still hurting, or this is a more serious injury that will take more time, pull back to 2-30 minutes or 1 60 minute session per week, depending on their availability and yours.  Be consistent & show them their progress.

Hope this helps.

 

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

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1 hour per month is the quick answer-for the regular NON-COMPETING person. (For competing athletes in training, this article is not for you.)

For preventative healthcare in your life, have a 1 hour massage each month, IF you don’t have any nagging pains, depression issues, injuries, recent surgeries (within 1 year). Start now and your body will thank you.  Just think…how the world would change if everyone had a massage every month!!

With chronic pain, anxiety, recent injuries or surgeries & other possible ailments, having a massage 1-2 per week —-until your issue is resolved—- is the best plan of attack.  Depending on your issue, this could take 1-12 weeks, or longer.  Try to think of this as an incredible investment into your healthcare, into your longevity, health, happiness & smart living.

After the pain or anxiety stays away for more than 1 week, then start to spread out the time between massages: 10 days, then 14 days, then 21 days, and finally 28 days between massages.  Remember to stay 14 days, 14 days, etc, until there is no pain for that entire time between sessions.  You could even call your therapist & push your appointment out a few days if you don’t feel pain yet.

It is not uncommon to need a weekly massage for a few weeks within this entire process…especially for off-season marathon runners or MMA fighters between fights, or people recovering from hip/knee replacements, for example.  Don’t give up hope!! This is not a set-back, instead, it’s a shift for your healing process and a time when your body may need just a bit more support.

Truly learning how to support your body by understanding what it needs to heal is a great gift.  Once your brain and your body are on the same team and not fighting each other, many things start to click into place.

When you have 28 days between massages PAIN FREE, there is nothing better for client or therapist!!  Even the first week without pain is very exciting.  Just remember that it can take a few weeks, but if you are consistent & gentle with yourself, miracles can happen.

Start this week!  Have a massage and de-stress.  Breathe deeper.  Feel more peace. Hope.  And most of all, Love.  Yourself.