Sports Massage: How you can make yourself flexible

Sports massage is excellent, you should get one at some point in your life.

There you go, that’s it, article over, right?

There’s a chance that you’re sceptical about what it is and you don’t trust me.

Totally understand you. There’s nothing wrong with crossing your arms and narrowing your eyes. That goes double for taking medical advice some guy on the internet.

What if you’re in pain when you don’t have to be?

Would you mind reading on because you might get some value from what I have to tell you.

On my back

First a bit about me, I’m a big tall guy (6’4). Gravity is out to get me. There is a slouch that I’m having to consciously fight against. I have to slouch to hear people sometimes. It’s odd that leaning over into someone is okay. The better option, widening your legs so you can keep your back straight, gets funny looks from people.

Anyway, back pain is an inevitability when you’re a lanky guy like myself. Matters weren’t helped when I injured myself while training. Something in my back went. Something that should not be pinched was getting pinched. I was in utter agony. Walking was pain. Sitting was a bigger pain. Transitioning between the two was even worse.

I was in a lot of pain.

Now being a guy when it comes to our own health we don’t like to bother anyone. We assume that we’re wimps and you just have to walk it off.

A month went by, and the pain was still the same. I booked in with the physio at the Queen’s PEC.

After a few sessions, the pain subsided I was able to go upstairs without crying. I felt like I had been given a new body. It opened me up to new experiences. Having electrical paddles attached to my back. Then I would ask to get the voltage cranked as high as it could go. The pain got so intense that it gave way to a relaxing pleasure that had me dozing off on several occasions.

Don’t even start me on dry needling. The physio would find the epicentre of the muscle spasms. They would then locate where they stem from and drive a needle in there. You’re a balloon with too much air, and the needles would deflate you to a reasonable level.

Now you’re probably thinking, what the hell has this got to do with sports massage.

Hold on, we’re getting to that.

Sports massage

The pain went away, but that didn’t mean the injury had. If I did a lot of running and jumping the submarine of pain would breach every now and then to remind me that it was there.

There was one particular time when it came back with a vengeance out of nowhere. This was right before a friends wedding. Now the physio at Queen’s is good. She is so good that it takes about two weeks to get an appointment.

I needed something now.

A neighbour did sports massage. I didn’t want to go because back then I was snobby about alternative treatments, but I was desperate.

I went, he worked me over. It was intense, but again the pain gave way to euphoria. It was that disbelief of not feeling like I was in the same body. The pain was from another lifetime.

Now, to be clear, the pain was not gone completely. It was done to a level where I could sit at go through the speeches at the wedding without screaming.

My scepticism was gone.

What is sports massage?

The best way to describe it is that you are bubble wrap. It is the person doing the sports massage job to pop all the bubbles.

You’ll be more mobile afterwards.

The pain can get intense, but I look at it this way: A bit more pain now, with a reduction after is better than constant pain forever.

You don’t realise how stiff and rigid you are until after someone has smoothed you out. As you get older you need to stay supple, stay fluid.

I look at someone like my granny. She is almost crippled with arthritis, and there is a part of me that wonders would a sports massage do her good.

It’s a catch 22 though, do I want to suggest subjugating her to pain at this stage of her life?



I would advise you to try a sports massage at some stage of your life. I’m not going to try and convince you to get one.

You should take steps to keep yourself supple.

I have to remind myself every now and then too. Even now I feel the rigidity of age creeping into my bones and joints. The tide of time will drown me eventually, but I must take steps where I can to keep the current at bay.

Remember that the reed that moves with the water of the river will grow long. The branch that does not bend will break under the force of water.

Do you want to be a reed or a branch?

PS If you live in Belfast, Northern Ireland here are the guys I go to.

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