Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sports Massage - ouch!

I have a recurring quads injury in my right thigh. This 'pulled muscle' injury goes back about 8 weeks now and keeps getting better and then recurring again. It recurred again last week and has bothered me a lot during the last 3 karate classes.

The activity that seems to set it off is jump kicking. Front kicks and round kicks don't seem to bother it though back hook kicks do bother it a bit. Once it is set off I literally cannot do a jump kick with my right leg, it's just too painful!

I am worried how this is going to affect me in my grading. I desperately don't want to pull out at this late stage if I can help it. Unfortunately the kicking combinations are the second section on the grading so I am worried that if it pulls again during that section it will affect my performance of all subsequent sections.

To try and avert disaster and get this pull sorted out once and for all I decided to have a sports massage today. I've never had one of these before (life's full of firsts, even at my age) but I've heard that they can produce good results.

Anyway, I have just returned from this sports massage and I can confirm that it is not for the faint hearted!
After prodding away at my thigh to see where the tightness was he recommended a deep tissue massage. Aarrghh! He was pushing his fingers so deeply into my quads muscle that I felt like he was going to go right through my leg. It was definitely a painful experience but hopefully one worth going through.

I was starting to regret telling him that I also had a bit of lower back pain and that an old injury to my left shoulder was bothering me a bit. However, I did let him massage my back and shoulder (in for a penny, in for a pound!) and this was not nearly as painful as the thigh.

The prognosis? Well, he said it may feel worse tomorrow but after that should get better. I have got to do regular stretching exercises on my thigh and must warm up thoroughly before attempting any kicks. He has advised me not to do any kicking in karate class tomorrow but after that it should be okay to try. He also recommended using a heat pad to warm up the muscle before exercise and to basically just keep moving.

He was hopeful that it would feel a lot better by next week but if it didn't he suggested going back for another massage (I'll have to summon up courage for that!).

Here's hoping it's done the trick! I'll keep you posted.


  1. Hi, Sue: You said, "I am worried how this is going to affect me in my grading."

    Try looking at this as not only a part of the test but a view into your spirit. If it does hit you in the test then look at that as a means to demonstrate to your Sensei and fellow dojo-mates how you would adjust and apply your abilities in a real live fight where such things would and do occur. You don't want to stop or even allow any outward stalls or delays.

    If it happens keep going. Don't stop to grimace, you can grimace while you keep moving. Don't do anything but adjust your body, mind and spirit to adjust technique applications to guard that weak point and to continue to dominate your imaginary opponent.

    If kumite comes up, do it, use all your other tools and keep that leg off their centerline and behind the four quadrants of protection. Remember that you have two good hands and arms. Use the good leg for support, the hurt leg for additional stabilization. Use it to bring your opponent within your distance and then attack.

    I think you are getting my drift. This is a perfect opportunity to show a part of you, your spirit and intent, that mostly remains a misty veil to those not trained to see it.

    Nuff said ;-)

    TEST: How do you act in the face of adversity; how do you act in the face of unforeseen adversity?

  2. I thought I posted this yesterday, but it didn't seem to take. Ahhh...the wonders of cyberspace :-)

    Have you thought about wearing a sleeve or wrap to train in? They work to help keep the muscle/tendon (or other injured area) warm when you can't take time off to help it heal properly. Neoprene sleeves are good, but Ace bandages work well, too. There are also some self-heating pads that stick to the affected area (Tiger Balm makes a good one) that can help keep it warm like your massage therapist suggested. They are substitutes when you can't use a heating pad before you train and stay warm up to eight hours or so...

    When I get hamstring tweaks, I usually don a sleeve and a little Tiger Balm to train. After, a little massage and some Dit da Jow work wonders. It might purely be psychologically (although I doubt it), but my injuries don't seem to linger for some reason.

    Hope you feel better soon :-)

  3. Charles, be prepared! That's my answer to your test. I feel that if I am adequately trained in karate and look after my body, treating injuries correctly as they occur than I will have the personal resources necessary to deal with any adversity. This is why I'm trying to sort out this problem with my leg now.

    I agree with you that coping with an injury during the grading is a test of the spirit. In the last dan grading in which I partnered another student, one of the guys dislocated his finger during a sparring match. He just moved over to the side of the mats, took his mit off, put his finger back in the socket and carried on with the match! I was very impressed by his determination to carry on and complete his grading. I hope that I will find the same kind of spirit in my grading.

    Felicia, the sports therapist I saw didn't think any kind of support bandage would help but I'm not so sure. I like your idea of a self-heating pad and a sleeve. I've never tried Tiger Balm but I've heard good things about it. I'm definitely going to look into this because I really feel that I want to have something with me on the day that might help. Thanks for all your tips...:-)

  4. Hi Sue

    That sounds sore! I hope you can get it back on track before your grading. It's a fine line I find between resting your injuries enough and keeping your training up enough. It's a juggling act. I'm nursing a sore quad myself this morning - one of the younger senior class gave me a dead leg in sparring then two other opponents got a kick in on it. It's paying the price of the abuse today.

    My Shihan has just this week ask the higher grades in our class (including me) to start considering whether we ultimately want to take the step to train for black belt. *GULP* Scary thoughts at just what a challenge it will be. It's a good 2 years off yet but seeing just how quickly the time has flown up to yours I can easily see that being here before I know it. Yowser. Food for thought anyway.

    I hope your leg is on the mend. Keep up the focus and good work. I'll be waiting with baited breathe to see how you get on at grading and sending lots of good grading vibes your way.


  5. Thanks Marie, the massage was definitely a case of the cure being worse than the complaint! I've finally managed to get hold of some Tiger balm so I'm rubbing that in like mad and hoping for the best (I really stink now!).

    It's great that you are committing to going for the black belt now - it's a long haul once you get to brown belt (2 years from brown to black for me) but if you're committed from an early stage then you'll just be able to take it in your stride. We've had several people decide to late that they want to go for black belt and have had so much ground to make up they stay at brown belt for 3 or 4 years!


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