If you regularly engage in a sports activity of any kind, you've probably encountered an injury. From sprains and strains through to muscular tears, soft tissue injuries can see you disengage from your activity of choice. If you're experiencing pain and you don't want to over-rely on painkillers, it's worth considering massage therapy. It tackles pain from sports injuries by reducing inflammation, and you may find the way it achieves this quite interesting.
Massage may reduce inflammatory cytokines
According to one study, massage can reduce the number of inflammatory cytokines that are produced when muscular inflammation takes place. Most importantly, it tackles the ones that both promote inflammation and pain at the same time. Reducing the number of cytokines present could, therefore, act on one source of the pain you're experiencing. In order to ensure you make the pain better rather than worse, always choose a masseuse who's skilled at treating sports injuries. Their experience and knowledge of anatomy will allow you to experience the full benefits of massage without feeling too much discomfort.
Your sports injuries will benefit from lower cortisol levels
It's no secret that massage can induce a sense of relaxation. When you attend regular appointments, you may find that you benefit from lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone your adrenal glands release when you're feeling stressed. This stress doesn't have to come from your sports injury, but cortisol's presence could make it worse anyway. When you experience higher-than-usual levels, your immune system doesn't function as well as it should. This could then slow down your recovery time. Additionally, it can raise your body's inflammatory markers. As such, when you have less of it, your inflammation may not be as pronounced.
An improved range of motion could result in less inflammation
When you experience an injury of any kind, your body's protective measures kick in. Pain and stiffness are two of these measures, and their aim is to reduce the amount of time you spend moving the affected area. Unfortunately, this is only beneficial during the immediate recovery period for some injuries. A reduction in range of motion can eventually become habitual, which may make inflammation worse. If you find that massage helps you feel less stiff and your range of motion improves as a result, you could find that the inflammation gets better too. With the right approach, you can break away from the vicious cycle of stiffness causing more inflammation and vice-versa.