What is Orthopedic Massage?
Last year I discovered the wonders of orthopedic massage. I spent several months last winter dealing with pain in my hip and leg. Basically, I had sciatica problems and a very sore piriformis muscle. The sciatica pain is caused by the nerve being pinched for some reason and causes pain to radiate across the back and down the leg. The piriformis muscle is a muscle deep in your buttock and apparently can become inflamed. When it does, it hurts. Let’s just leave it at that.
Earlier, when I was training hard on my running, my trainer suggested that I go see a local orthopedic massage. I went and it was heaven. Joanne was able to make those very sore muscles feel so much better. I also discovered that her clientele is almost exclusively athletes. She works with runners, from 5K to ultra marathoners. It’s not uncommon to hear a discussion about her services at my Saturday morning boot camp.
When the sciatica and piriformis flared up, she helped a lot by helping me get back into alignment and doing some stretches to reduce the pain. This was not a pleasant, feel-good massage. It hurt but by the time she finished, I felt better.
She also gave me some exercises to do and introduced me to the wonders of the lacrosse ball in muscle rehab.
So, what is orthopedic massage? It’s a massage that works on relieving soft tissue issues. You don’t have to have problems for this type of massage to be of benefit. It can help you recover from training and muscle fatigue. When you have a problem, the massage therapist should help figure out what’s wrong and be able to relieve the pain through massage and stretches.
Basically, orthopedic massage can help improve your range of motion, make it easier to move, and recover from injury. Think of it as part of your preventive health care.
How do you find someone who does orthopedic massage? Check with your local gym and chiropractor for referrals. Ask fellow athletes. Make sure the massage therapist is certified and confirm that they’re trained in orthopedic massage. You might look for this or for someone who does sports massage. It might be similar. Be sure to discuss what your problems are, where your sore spots are, and see what they say.
You’re not looking for a Swedish massage or the hot stones spa massage. Those are relaxing but they won’t really help your body recover.
When should you get an orthopedic massage? If you’ve never had this before, don’t do it right before your race or competition. Instead, do it afterwards. Your muscles might be sore from this massage for at least a day. I don’t mean to suggest that you’ll be in pain but it’s better to have this done either during your training or after the big event.
If you can find a good orthopedic massage therapist, stick with him or her. It really does make a big difference in your performance and recovery. I now see my orthopedic massage therapist as often as I can. She’s a busy woman with lots of clients. I feel so much better after a massage.