Anyone who golfs on a fairly regular basis or lives with one of these weekend warriors knows that there are countless gadgets, gimmicks, tools, and toys that are designed to improve your golf game. To many that it is easily a multi-million dollar industry. Consider that for every one of these fix your game quick items, there is another gadget designed to ease the pain you suffer from golf related pain and injuries. For golfer’s elbow alone for example, the remedies range from the price of a dozen golf balls all the way through the price of the latest driver guaranteed to keep your ball in the fairway.
The most common golf related injuries are back and neck pain, rotator cuff injury, golfer’s elbow, knee pain and ligament damage, and tendinitis in the wrists. The causes of each are as varied as the injuries themselves. The common causes of these injuries are: poor swing mechanics, lack of stretching and proper preparation, over-swinging the club, rotational stress on the spine from over-rotating on the swing, incorrect grip and setup, and many more. The best treatment and recovery for many of these ailments, especially neck and back pain (which is most common), is massage therapy.
In this article I want to discuss the procedure for treating your massage client who is suffering from back and neck pain specifically as it relates to the treatment of sports injuries. First and foremost, you must inspect your client for the following contra-indicators: sunburn, open sores, contusions, acute pain or injury, skin rashes or conditions, fractures, hematomas, fever or infections. If you observe any of these, you will need to reschedule this treatment. To perform this specific treatment of the golfer’s neck, back and shoulder massage you will need Prossage oil, and Biofreeze pain relieving gel.
Sports Massage Recovery and Treatment
Golfer’s Neck, Back and Shoulder Massage Treatment Steps:
1. Add three to four drops of Prossage oil to the palm of your hand. Rub palms together briskly.
2. Apply gliding strokes to the tissue of the client’s back following their body’s natural contours. Apply hands to upper traps of both shoulders, anchoring the tissue with pressure. Glide hands down the para-spinal muscles to the sacrum. Repeat this motion three times.
3. With loose fists, use gliding strokes with the backs of your fingers to move down the para-spinal muscles from upper traps to the sacrum. Repeat three times.
4. Apply palm strokes down para-spinal muscles and out the iliac crest. Repeat three times.
5. Using the fleshy part of your elbows, start vertically by applying increasing pressure to the client’s traps on top of the shoulders. Then lift the traps backwards down the back, and simultaneously turn your elbows horizontally after passing the scapula. Continue down the back to the iliac crest. Repeat three times. Be cautious to avoid the spinous process while using your elbows during this step.
6. Use effleurage strokes to finish massaging back.
7. Have your client move to a supine position. Move to the head of the table.
8. Slide hands underneath client to mid thoracic area and apply gliding strokes from mid thoracic to occipital ridge using the Prossage oil, repeating three times.
9. Use stripping strokes from distal to proximal along the para-spinal muscles from occipital ridge down to base of neck. Repeat on both sides of the neck three times.
10. Apply direct pressure along para-spinal muscles of the neck from base to occipital bone. Again, repeat on both sides three times.
11. Apply range of motion stretches to the neck.
12. Wipe off excess oil and then apply the Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel to the tender areas.
This specialized massage protocol should be used to relieve soreness in your client’s arms, shoulders, back, and neck. The Prossage massage oil is effective for the deep tissue portion of the treatment, and the Biofreeze gel assists in the relief of sore and inflamed muscles and joints, greatly reducing the pain and discomfort associated with your client’s hobby.
Adding sports massage and recovery treatment, especially related to the particular maladies afflicting golfers to your repertoire, will reap benefits for both you and your client. For your client, they will experience reduced muscle tension, an increased range of motion, improved soft tissue function, less muscle stiffness and fatigue, and overall enhanced performance, all of which could/ should lead to lower scores on the links. And that is where your benefit as the massage therapist comes in. As I said at the beginning: the sale of golf gadgets, gizmos, and quick fixes is a multi-million dollar industry for one simple reason – the elusive promise of lower scores. When your massage therapy delivers on that promise, you will have a repeat client for life, and possibly the other members of their foursome.