Children are almost always getting injured. Falling off of a bicycle, skateboard, childhood fights, getting accidentally bumped and the list can go on. As children we heal rather quickly and often do not think any more about those injuries. However, as I learned in massage therapy school the injuries to soft tissues and bones often have long-term effects as we age unless we treat these tissues with therapeutic massage, heat, cold, heat and cold therapy and re-structuring type exercises within a short time of the injury.
For instance, when falling we realign our pelvis in an unnatural position as muscles pull and torque leading to low back pain and tight contracted muscle and fascia tissue. While healing the muscle fibers form undetected scar tissues in its attempt to heal itself. As children we heal and just go on playing not paying much attention to the tenderness.
Unfortunately as we grow this misalignment grows with us and the tension slowly pulls on the bony landmarks where tendons attach to the joints. As our body grows, scar tissue also enlarge. The scar tissue formed at the time of injury forms in a clump and does not follow the natural grain of the muscle fibers which creates tight and stiff muscles as we grow. Over time as the muscles and bones grow there is an unnatural pull and torque on joints and connective tissue such as tendons, ligaments and fascia.
As an adult we may notice unexplained tenderness or pain. We get use to the tenderness, limited range of motion, or lump. More often than not this is a vulnerable area that is easily re-injured. These injuries may be subtle or major.
Staying active keeps our mind off of this area and soon it is “out of sight out of mind”. We are also busy working these muscles and keeping them warmed up until we sit too long or wake up with unexplained stiffness or joint pain. Over time we realize that we don’t have the same range of motion that we did when we were young. Maybe our knees don’t bend the way they use to or our low back talks to us as we lift even light objects.
We tend to unconsciously compensate for the limited range of motion by getting assistance from an opposing muscle group or limb. We simply get use to not using a body part the way it is intended as we change our habits to compensate. This becomes our new normal.
What we do not realize is that the areas that are compensating are experiencing gradual trauma and damage as well as we over use or misuse other muscles and joints. This can and often leads to debilitating pain, limited use of both areas of the body and a trip to the doctor for pain pills or muscle relaxants.
Therapeutic massage especially deep tissue structural realignment techniques are the perfect answer to soft tissue damage. Releasing knots and loosening up fascia and muscle fibers alleviates the unnatural pull on joints and opposing muscle groups. Re-patterning exercises continue the benefits of deep tissue massage and structural realignment.
It is important to retrain muscles that have been tight and contracted sometimes for months and years. Cranial Sacral Therapy is a gentle modality that works well with therapeutic massage. “Applied knowledge is power”. There are times that our body simply needs some therapeutic touch to regain normalcy.