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IT Band Syndrome

As an L.M.T at this time of year I see many clients with multiple running over use injuries (plantar fasciitis, shin splints, patellar tendinitis, IT band syndrome, SI pain/ dysfunction). As runners increase mileage and intensity to reach performance goals it is common to create myofascial irritation leading to compensation pain patterns that inhibits bio-mechanical function. Pain in a single workout that heals with rest and change of training tends to be a simple acute strain and a normal effect of being a hard training athlete. But continued or increasing discomfort with training may lead to a substantial soft tissue injury and should be evaluated by a health care professional.

Sports specific massage therapy can be a good tool to help recover from or even prevent an over use myo-fascial pain or guarding response. Myo-fascial manipulation breaks up adhesions and areas of congestion in muscle bellies and along tendon and ligament attachments. Soft tissue work opens pathways of circulation to help with ischemia (lack of oxygenated blood) and allow drainage of chemicals of inflammation (a byproduct of muscle metabolism) and the stretching of connective tissues to decompress pressure and pain receptors in the nervous system. A skilled sports massage therapist can sculpt myo-fascia along muscle compartments to improve bio mechanical function, increase range of motion at joints, free adhesions of scar tissue and improve tracking of muscles as they contract and expand.

When I work with athletes, I evaluate posture, alignment, passive and active movement, tissue health and areas of tenderness on palpation. Even with a specific diagnosed injury I will treat the whole structure to prevent secondary compensations that form with favoring the injured area.

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Sports Massage Philosophy

by Nate Graven LMT

Benefits and Effects of Sports Massage

Primary Effects:

Improved circulation of blood, lymph, and cellular fluid
Muscular relaxation
Functional separation of muscle and connective tissue
Formation and alignment of strong mobile scar tissue
Increased mental alertness and clarity
Deactivation of trigger points and nerve irritation/ muscle guarding

Secondary Effects:

Greater energy
Greater flexibility and functional range of motion
Faster recovery
Pain reduction
Improved body awareness and proprioceptive education

Application of Bodywork in Sports:

Recovery-to enhance the athlete’s physical and mental recovery from strenuous sports activity.
Remedial-to improve a debilitating muscle/skeletal condition
Rehabilitation-to facilitate healing after a injury with bodywork modalities complementing physical therapy and medical treatments.
Maintenance-to speed recovery from workout exercises and to help the athlete maintaining optimal health
Performance Gains-proprioceptive education and myofascial alignment work for mechanical advantage.

What is ultimately gained from an effective bodywork session is not just relaxed muscles. Improved function and enhanced recovery/performance through tactile stimulation and soft tissue manipulation can have consistent therapeutic outcomes and compliment other health therapies and overall wellness.

Bodywork with myofascial organization brings the muscle/skeletal system closer to normal, optimal function and makes it more efficient in its use of energy. When the tone of the soft tissues are balanced, there is a sensation of “lightness” in the body.

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by on Feb.18, 2010, under Expert Answers, Sports Massage

Nate Graven – Utah Running Expert

Nate Graven               Licensed Massage Therapist

Sports Massage Specialist

Nate is a graduate of the Utah College of Massage Therapy (2000), where he also received advanced training and certifications in sports performance and clinical therapies. He has specific training in Structural Integration (Ida Rolf Method), Soft Tissue Release and Neuro-muscular therapy, body awareness and movement re-patterning for bio-mechanical advantage, and Isolated Stretch therapy. He attended Weber State University and currently works with Basics Sports Medicine physical therapy clinic on campus as a consultant and therapist.

He is an educator of sports massage and performance based body work modalities, developing outcome and evidence-based treatments to support athletes of all levels. He is also a researcher and is currently working with exercise physiologists and other health care professionals on the clinical benefits of myo-fascial organization thru manipulation.

Nate has professional experience in medical clinics, sports and university fitness/human performance centers, and works with teams and individual athletes (Olympic, Professional, Elite local), including being a member of the Athens 2004 Sports Massage Team at the summer Olympic games in Athens, Greece.

The local running community is the bulk of Nate’s private clientele and he has helped many athletes “P.R. on race day”, whether it is a local charity 5k or even performing pre-event work at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

He grew up in Ogden where he enjoyed playing sports in every season. He played team sports at Ben Lomond High school and continued on in competitive adult leagues. An injury while playing with a local semi-pro football team brought Nate to the therapy and support side of sports but also created an opportunity in a career he loves. Nate and his wife Lyndsay are new runners and hope to finish the Ogden Half Marathon in 2010 pain free. They live in Roy and chase their children Thea and Mason around for speed work.

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by on Jan.01, 2010, under Utah Running Experts


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