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Massage Therapy Can Help Teen Sports Injuries

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I have been attending some of Sandpoint High School’s ladies soccer games and have noticed many of the players on both teams wearing knee braces.  I recognize soccer as a rough sport, but the number of knee supports caught me a little off guard.

Then I heard one parent speaking with another remark after her daughter experienced a hard fall, “Yes, that is the surgery we are trying to avoid!”  Whew!!  What a price to pay to play a game – the potential of a lifelong injury site and later pain of arthritis, lost cartilage, and potentially more surgeries.

Of course, proper preparation for any sports activity becomes a critical component of training.  Warming up, stretching, and conditioning muscles and joints for specialized performance must not be overlooked or simplified.

Just as important to training and practice is the right diet.  Bones, connective tissues, muscles, organs, and the brain all need a variety of nutrients to perform.  The excessive demands of sports require even more nutrients of the best quality; not just carb loading, but the full array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes in whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables.  This is especially true for teens who are still growing and developing.  Dark leafy greens, both in salads and steamed are great for increasing magnesium stores that aid in muscle relaxation.  Snacks including seeds and nuts, some dried fruits (unsulfured is best), berries, veggie sticks, and fruit wedges with natural peanut or nut butters provide lots of protein and antioxidants that assist in reducing inflammatory responses due to injuries and increase healing time.  Drinking lots of fresh filtered water and herbal teas help flush toxins from the body and green tea provides an additional boost of antioxidants.

Massage therapy provides many positive benefits to our young athletes during training, prior to, and following games to ensure the release of lactic acid buildup in tissues and to release muscle tensions, spasms, and pain.  Massage therapy is just as effective in addressing pain regions such as legs, arms, shoulders, or backs as is a whole body massage.  I recommend massage as a regular component for our athletic teens participating in school sports.  Massage will help our teens remain strong and healthy during their school sports and assist in preventing lifelong injuries.

Krystle Shapiro is the founding member of The Sandpoint Wellness Council and a licensed massage therapist. She can be reached at Touchstone Massage Therapies at 208/290-6760.  Also visit all articles by Krystle and the council members at sandpointwellnesscouncil.com.

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