Sports injuries are an exercise buff's nightmare and an all-too-common one at that. Even casual joggers and gym-goers will likely have experienced the pain of a torn muscle or sprain that put them out of commission for weeks or even months. The repetitive movements and exertion that make a workout burn calories and build strength are also the qualities that can put muscles out of action through overuse.
Once strained, the only way to completely cure a muscle is to rest it up. Of course, this means changing or stopping the exercise routine that caused the injury -- a huge frustration. To avoid this problem, take preventative measures or speed up recovery with a remedial massage.
Prevention is better than cure
The best way to deal with sports injuries is to avoid them altogether. One way to do this is to keep up a sustained level of fitness rather than having peaks of activity. Instead of just running on weekends or playing tennis in the summer, do regular exercise. This will prepare the body for bursts of activity rather than suddenly forcing it to undergo unfamiliar movements.
Stretching is another key form of sports injury prevention. It should follow a warm-up routine that consists of joint rotations and aerobic activity to prepare the muscles. Stretches themselves should be static at first, followed by dynamic stretches to work muscles up to their maximum range of motion.
Help your muscles mend
Massage isn't just a relaxing way to pamper yourself. Remedial massage -- very different from the relaxation massage you get at a spa -- is a tested therapeutic technique for combatting ailments and aches in soft tissue. Unlike a relaxation massage, which loosens up the body all over with flowing strokes, a remedial massage targets the problem areas. A trained therapist assesses the spots that need working on. The massage may be deep or shallow, but in either case it aims to stretch the affected muscles. It assists in tissue regeneration, bringing injured muscles back up to working order faster.
Once your muscles have recovered, it's important not to leap back into the same exercise routine where you left off. Deconditioning, the loss of strength in muscles, happens fast. After a couple of weeks, resting up muscles will not be as strong as before. Drop the length and intensity of exercise and gradually work back up to the level of fitness you were at before to prevent re-injuring yourself.