If you are among the 10 million people who saw a doctor in recent years for a knee injury, you know how much pain an injury of this type can cause, and how much it can interfere with daily activities. Knee injuries are common among sports players, and can also occur as the result of a car accident, an accidental fall, or a misstep during everyday activities. Knee pain can be related to a particular muscle or a joint, osteoarthritis, or may simply be part of the body’s response to aging.
Knee injuries can range from fractures to dislocation, ACL and ligament injuries, to tendon and meniscal tears. A diagnosis from your doctor will determine if massage therapy is beneficial for your particular injury; depending on how severe the injury is, massage may help to reduce stress on the soft tissues and relieve the damage quickly. In other cases, surgery or other forms of treatment may be necessary.
Massage has been in existence for thousands of years as a form of therapy to relieve muscle pain, relax the body, and relieve stress. Various forms exist and are practiced all around the world.
Types of Therapy
Massage therapy is just one of a variety of ways to treat knee pain and injuries. Swedish massage, with its long strokes and gentle kneading, can be very beneficial in reducing pain at the injury site. Myofascial massage (or “foam roller”) and trigger point therapy, which uses stretching and forms of kneading to release tension, can also be effective. Shiatsu massage, a Japanese technique of massage, utilizes pressure to the muscles and joints and may be helpful in relieving knee pain related to arthritis.
When you meet with your therapist, an evaluation will be performed so that the cause of pain can be determined. Your massage therapist may use a hot compress prior to your massage in order to loosen and relax the muscles. He or she may also employ gentle pressure in order to increase blood flow and loosen tense muscles.
Massage Therapy as an Alternative
A 2013 study showed that alternative therapies for knee injuries can be just as good for common injuries as knee surgeries. One individual interviewed for this particular story by USA Today reported that after a tear in his knee sent him to physical therapy, a combination of strength exercises and massage led to healing after one month, and he was able to avoid surgery. Although this may not be true for all cases, there is evidence to suggest that massage can play a positive role in healing and recovery.
Not everyone will benefit from a regimen of massage therapy when it comes to knee injuries, knee pain, or forms of arthritis. The best option for healing should be decided by your physician, and will depend on the severity and source of your injury.
As always, any type of massage therapy should only be performed by a qualified, reputable therapist. Ask around for referrals, check licensing requirements for your state, and communicate clearly with your massage therapist if you experience greater pain during or after your session.