5 Stages of Rehabilitation

At Tampa Bay Sports & Medical Massage, we fix broken people so you can run faster, jump higher, and perform better.  We’ve worked with numerous athletes ranging from professional to amateur to weekend warrior who have been injured and require structured rehabilitation.  We say “structured” because that is what is required for athletes to return to play as quickly and safely as possible while also reducing the risk of re-injury.  Any good rehab strategy should be designed to meet the unique needs of each individual. Keep reading to learn the different stages of rehabilitation with massage therapy

Initial Phase of Rehabilitation: Release tight muscles. 

When starting a massage therapy regimen, we need to first focus on protection & mobilization. This phase is generally your first 4 to 6 weeks of therapy.   

The goals include limitation of tissue damage, pain relief, control of the inflammatory response to injury, and protection of the affected area.  At this stage of rehabilitation, it is important to avoid pain and swelling as it can further aggravate the injured area and prevent the body from repairing itself.   

Massage Pro Tip: RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) the day or two after your massage to help keep any swelling to a minimum.  

Phase of Rehabilitation #2: Improve flexibility. 

This phase lasts anywhere from five to ten weeks and is where your massage therapist will focus on improving your flexibility and strength. During this phase of rehabilitation, the body begins to repair the damaged tissue with new tissue, however, the resiliency of the new tissue is low.  

Repair of the weakened injury takes time and the right amount of restorative stress is applied.  We’ll customize the therapy used to regain flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and coordination.   

Advanced Stage of Rehabilitation: Correct biomechanics.  

The third phase of rehabilitation is where we focus on recovery, reconditioning, and restoring range-of-motion. It typically begins at 21 days and can continue for 6 to 12 months depending on your injury. At this phase, the body can begin to remodel and strengthen the new tissue, allowing athletes to return to full activity.   

It marks the start of the conditioning process required to return to sport and presents the opportunity to identify and correct risk factors that could lead to re-injury.  Functional training is typically used at this phase and includes rehabilitation and reconditioning specific exercises.  

At this phase, the body can begin to remodel and strengthen the new tissue, allowing athletes to return to full activity.   

Phase of Rehabilitation #4: Increase strength.

For athletes undergoing sports massage, this is where you can expect to return to your sport and move into a maintenance massage program. In this phase of rehabilitation, we focus heavily on prevention of re-injury.  

At Tampa Bay Sports & Medical Massage, it is always our goal to help injured or ill athletes to safely return to sport.  We’ll emphasize functional progressions during your sessions, i.e. when the motions are finally efficient enough for the needs of the sport.   

Final Phase of Rehabilitation: Increase endurance. 

The fifth and final phase of rehabilitation is making sure the athlete has complete functional recovery.  Monitoring aids in this process as it can provide important intuitive information to design training programs, prevent re-injury and ultimately enhance the athlete’s future sports performance.   

Rehab Sports Injury with Massage

Are you suffering from an injury?  Want to recover from an old one? Tampa Bay Sports and Medical Massage can help! Our licensed massage therapists can help you through the stages of rehabilitation so you can play golf, set a new PR, go for a bike ride or do whatever other activity you love. For more information on our massage services or to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced massage therapists in South Tampa, please call us today at (813) 667-0988.