Sports Massage or Sports Maintenance? Don’t wait for niggles to turn into injuries!

All too often we leave things to the last minute or even until it’s too late and it’s the same with those little niggles we feel while training. We often find people coming to us with niggles that have been ignored or put to the back of their minds, which have then led to an injury that could have quite easily been avoided if they had taken better care of themselves and booked a sports maintenance therapy session.

You feel a niggle while you are training - be it in your leg, shoulder, back, wherever - but, instead of getting booked in with a therapist to have it looked at and treated, you wait to see if it gets worse first before seeking treatment. Sound familiar? Only too often we hear these statements either around the gym or when talking to friends and family…

“It’s been niggling for a couple of weeks and then it just went when I was doing…”

“It was quite painful last week, but it feels ok today, so I’ll see if it flares up again…”

But why do we do this? We wouldn’t start driving, realise our car is making a funny noise, see that we have a flat tyre and think ‘I’ll see if it gets worse before I get it fixed’. So, why do we have that mentality when it comes to our bodies?

Is it because our cars get us to work and, therefore, we need them more than we need to be able to move pain-free? Is it because we think that we can fix our leg just by resting it? While the second point may be partially true, we should still be taking an even greater level of care over our bodies than we do over our possessions – remember it’s the ONLY one we get, so we need to look after it!

Going back to our car analogy, if you’re a conscientious car owner and your car is due a service you book it in for one, to ensure it’s looked after and running ok. This is considered routine maintenance, as we need a car to go about our daily duties. It is this mindset and approach that we need to adopt and embrace to take care of our own bodies.

What can we do to help ourselves?

As soon as you feel a niggle when training, book yourself in to see a therapist for a sports maintenance session using either soft tissue therapy or a sports massage. A lot of people think that soft tissue therapy or sports massage is just a means to getting rid of pain - it isn’t! It’s a great preventative measure and can also help to reduce and avoid injury altogether.

To quote Mel Cash (Founder of the London School of Sports Massage and author of several leading texts on the subject): “Sports Massage offers a great way of recovering from training and competitions as well as helping prevent injury. Most of us who compete in sport incur the physical and psychological stresses of a job and family life as well. Often, what appears to be a sports injury actually has more to do with underlying postural and occupational factors.”

What is soft tissue therapy?

Soft tissue therapy helps alleviate the soft tissue discomfort associated with every day and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions. It aims to treat all minor and chronic injuries using sports massage and other more advanced techniques. It considers individual lifestyle factors and aims to identify the underlying causes of injury and provide remedial exercises and advice.

What is sports massage?

Sports massage is a form of massage involving the manipulation of soft tissue on someone who is engaged in regular physical activity. Sports massage is designed to assist in correcting problems and imbalances in soft tissue that are caused from repetitive and strenuous physical activity and trauma.

The benefits of soft tissue therapy and sports massage include:

  • Long-term improvements in physical wellbeing

  • Enhanced recovery

  • Prevention of injury

  • Improved posture and function

With regular sports maintenance treatments through soft tissue therapy or sports massages, we can help to avoid the build-up of muscle tension, improve the recovery time of micro trauma in the muscles caused by exercise and incorrect movement patterns which, in turn, will help keep you injury (& pain) free!

Even if you don’t feel as though you have an injury or detect any tightness in your muscles, we can guarantee you that there will be - just from the daily stresses that we put our bodies through and this is the sign that there is an injury waiting to happen.


Ian Jenkin

Coach & Sports Therapist 


Smart Performance