We’re asked ALOT what the difference is between a Sports Massage and a Physio Assessment and sometimes people assume they need one rather than the other. Both treatments have a very valued place in our toolbox but often people are confused by which one they need and can find themselves wasting money on a service that isn’t right for them.
Let’s talk about the difference between the two and when is best for each treatment….
What does a sports massage involve?
A sports massage is a hands on treatment and a form of massage involving the manipulation of soft tissue in order to relieve tension in muscles and connective tissue.
All our sports massages are performed by qualified Chartered Physiotherapists, most of which have a background in professional sport. Prior to a massage, our therapists conduct an initial screening to make sure that sports massage is the best option. They will screen for any red flag symptoms and rule out any contraindications. They will also ask about the reasons you‘ve chosen a sports massage and what you’d like to get out of the session.
What does a sports massage help with?
Sports massage can be used to prevent soft tissue injury, reduce pain and swelling, enhance recovery, improve circulation, movement and performance.
Pre-event Sports Massage
If you have a sporting event such as a rugby match, 10km run, marathon training sessions or a triathlon coming up then sports massages can help to prepare your body by ensuring that your muscles and soft tissues are supple and ready for activity.
Post-event Sports Massage
Sports massage can help to accelerate recovery following activity enabling you to get back to training.
Maintenance Sports Massage
Some people will use sports massage to keep them fresh during training for large events but also when managing a long-term issue that has already been assessed and diagnosed. It can also help when you are working on posture improvements.
So at what point do you require a deeper investigation?
Some people think a Sports Massage is the answer to their problem, when the problem may be deeper rooted, or in a totally different location on their body. If you have neurological symptoms (like pins and needles or numbness) or we suspect that there may be an underlying cause for your aches and pains then we’d often recommend a deeper investigation with a physiotherapy assessment.
Our bodies are cleverly made up of so many different parts which are designed to work perfectly and efficiently in sync with each other. If a cog in our wheel becomes imbalanced, weak, tight, injured or dysfunctional, we run into issues, and here’s the interesting part – you may experience pain in completely different parts of your body! Weird right?
Some common examples of this are, knee issues stemming from a weakness and imbalance in the hip; neck pain linked to postural issues and shoulder weakness.
Most of us are sitting more and moving less, which can lead to muscle imbalances and weaknesses that have a knock-on effect to the way you move. When left untreated these imbalances can eventually result in pain and dysfunction. Remember that with non-traumatic injuries, pain is often the last thing to be felt and there’s usually stiffness or weakness well before pain comes on. In professional sport players are screened regularly to identify these imbalances so Physio’s can intervene before pain.
This is where a Physiotherapy Assessment comes in – because how can you move efficiently, effectively and pain free if we don’t understand what is going on in there?!
A Physio Assessment allows us to not only highlight problem areas but to get to the root cause of these problems. Our physio’s will use a variety of tests, assessments, movement analysis and a little bit of TPL magic to understand what’s causing your pain and dysfunction! Now, the TPL magic doesn’t end there, because we even have time in most of these 60-minute sessions to perform some hands-on treatment and provide your very own personalised video rehabilitation program via our online app – yes, this is all included in the price of your Assessment!
So, when you’re faced with the decision of whether you need a sports massage or physio assessment remember….
Sports Massage = recovery, loosening of soft tissue and/or maintenance for tight areas.
Physio Assessment = investigate pain, after an injury, neurological symptoms, posture correction, injury prevention, recurrent injuries or having regular sports massages but the issue is not resolving.