Physical exertion and participation in sports come with the risk of injury. Even without injury, your body still requires time to recover from this exertion. Recovery is an essential aspect of sports and exercise. It gives the body time to heal itself; in addition, including time for recovery can improve your performance and help decrease your risk of injury.
During exertion, tiny tears can occur in the muscles. These minuscule tears can cause muscle aches. As your body responds and repairs these tears, inflammation may occur. Not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is your body’s natural reaction to damage and the healing process beginning. This healing process is where the gains and improved fitness come into play.
Sports Recovery Physical Therapy Methods
Choosing a method of recovery may depend on the activity you were performing and the time allowed between activities. Physical therapy methods of recovery can include:
- Hydrotherapy — Hydrotherapy can offer recovery or a low-impact workout. The pressure from the jets in the hot tub can help relieve muscle tension or pain. It can also be used as a conditioning tool for athletes, allowing them to push hard on workouts to build muscle without worrying about injuries.
- Sports massage — A sports massage is a manual therapy technique using soft tissue mobilization in problematic areas. Sports massages can help with scar tissue breakdown, reducing inflammation, relieving muscle tension, and reducing pain.
- Compression — Compression therapy can be with compression clothing or a compression device. It can help with muscle fatigue and soreness by helping to improve circulation and the flow of the lymphatic system.
- Dry needling — Dry needling is a physical therapy technique that can help release trigger points in the soft tissue. A certified physical therapist places thin needles into the trigger points on the body. This can help boost the body’s healing process and relieve pain.
- Cupping — Cupping is a physical therapy technique using cups to create suction on the skin. Creating a suction allows for tissue separation, which can help reduce inflammation, boost circulation and relax muscles.
Other Important Aspects of Recovery
In addition to physical therapy modalities for recovery, it is essential to ensure that you are allowing your body to recover in the best possible way. It is vital to keep your body hydrated and replace any fluids you lose due to physical exertion. You should also keep your body adequately fueled with food to keep your muscles in good condition. Carbohydrates help keep your energy up, and protein helps build and repair muscle. Another important part of recovery following physical activity is making sure you get adequate sleep every night. A sufficient amount of sleep allows your mind and body to rest and repair.