Kids, like adults, get injured doing the things they love. We often think that kids are ‘resilient’ or will ‘bounce back’ but this line of thinking can do more harm than good. Think for a moment of your own or a loved one’s knee injury, bad back, or sore shoulder. Commonly, many of those aches and pains can be traced back to an injury sustained earlier in life from things such as:
Falls in gymnastics, cheer, or dance
Repetitive use injuries from throwing or swimming
Missteps on the basketball court or soccer field
Strained muscles from track or over-reaching in volleyball
Do those sound familiar? It is estimated by the American Academy of Pediatrics that nearly a third of childhood injuries are sports related. These injuries can follow us into adulthood if not addressed properly at the time of the trauma.
In the event that one of your young stars is already suffering from an injury, massage can be beneficial in facilitating a speedy recovery. Massage not only addresses the injury directly, but it also helps with compensation patterns that can follow an injury or trauma. The massage therapist will often work as a member of the healthcare team to ensure everyone moves toward the common goal of getting your athlete back in the game.
In addition to treating an injury, massage therapy can be used to help prevent them from occurring. A massage therapist specializes in the soft tissues of the body: muscles, tendons, and the connective tissue called fascia. It is important to keep these structures in good health in order to:
Decrease muscle tension
Increase range of motion
Increase power and performance
Decrease the chance of re-injury
Minimize fatigue after an event
The trained hands of a massage therapist can help find knots or tender areas and help treat those regions before a larger problem arises. Kids (and adults) do not always want to admit when they are in pain or may not even know that a structure is tender until it is palpated.
Having regular massages can give a greater sense of body awareness to your young athlete which helps teach them to become self-advocates for prevention and treatment as situations arise throughout their lives. When young athletes are healthy and feeling great they can continue to do the things they love and that makes everyone happy.
Carol M. Baumhardt, LMT has been a massage therapist since 2007. She holds licenses in both Ohio and Wisconsin and she specializes in chronic pain from repetitive use injuries.
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