Soft Tissue Massage

Some injuries, like lower back pain, cause muscles to go into protective mode by tensing up. This reaction can make even the most basic movements difficult and painful. You may feel you can’t even participate in physical therapy, much less your favorite sport, but there’s hope.

Baptist Health’s physical therapists use a variety of hands-on techniques (manual therapy), including soft tissue massage, to help you safely get moving. Our therapists offer the latest massage therapy techniques, including instrument-assisted massage, to help you receive safe, effective care.

What is Soft Tissue Massage?

Soft tissue massage works by gently kneading, stroking or rubbing tight muscles to help them relax. After just a few minutes, you can expect to feel better and be able to move more naturally. For example, you may be able to slowly bend an injured arm or leg without using your hands or a prop to relieve the strain. Soft tissue massage is an adjunctive therapy, meaning we use it to help you get the most out of other treatments, such as physical therapy.

Soft tissue massage speeds recovery from sports injuries in two ways:

  • Relaxation response: Your nervous system has an automatic response to human touch. Your heart rate slows and you produce less stress hormones, both of which help muscles relax.
  • Mechanical response: Carefully moving injured muscles releases chemicals that improve blood flow and fluid circulation. These actions remove toxins and help you absorb excess fluid, which speeds up your body’s ability to heal itself.

Expert Soft Tissue Massage at Baptist Health

If you have a complex injury or muscles that just don’t budge, Baptist Health therapists can help you get back in the game. Our expertise and gentle touch keep your recovery moving forward.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Prompt access to care: Our physical therapists are specially trained in diagnosing and treating sports injuries. You do not need a physician referral to see us, even if you are a new patient. After performing a comprehensive evaluation, we let you know if soft tissue massage can help you. You may even be able to start treatment the same day. 
  • Getting to the source of pain: Our team’s depth of experience with sports injuries helps us uncover problems that can sometimes be easy to miss. These problems include injuries to surrounding tissue or weak muscles that make others work harder than they should. By focusing on the cause of your pain, we are better able to target treatments so you get the best possible care. 
  • Safety: We carefully consider when and how soft tissue massage may fit into your overall recovery. If the injury involves a wound or scar tissue, we first wait for the area to heal. We also apply only the necessary amount of pressure to help you achieve a good result.
  • Personalized care: We take extra steps to deliver care that best meets your medical needs and personal preferences. Some techniques, such as deep tissue massage, cause brief, intense sensations but bring longer-lasting relief. If you prefer something gentler, we can help you achieve similar results using a different technique. We may also suggest other hands-on therapies (manual therapies), such as osteopathic manipulative therapy. 

Sports Injuries We Treat with Soft Tissue Massage

Sports injuries we treat using soft tissue massage include:

  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Ligament injuries to the knee including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Lower back pain
  • Tennis elbow

Soft Tissue Massage at Baptist Health: What to Expect

Our personalized approach includes taking time to get to know you. Learning about the sports you participate in and how you became injured gives us important clues about the technique and intensity of massage that will best meet your needs.

If soft tissue massage is right for you, here’s what to expect:

  • Evaluation: We perform a comprehensive evaluation, which may include applying gentle pressure to the injured area to understand which muscles are affected. 
  • Education: We explain why we are recommending soft tissue massage and how it can help you feel better. Part of this discussion includes an explanation of which massage technique is best for the injury and what sensations you may feel during treatment.
  • Specialized care to help you have a comfortable experience: If intense pain makes it difficult to lie comfortably on the treatment table or receive even a gentle touch, we may try other treatments first. Some patients feel better with the help of dry needling. This treatment uses special needles to relax tight, overactive muscles. 
  • Massage: What happens next depends on the injury and massage technique that is best for you. We may knead or stroke muscles to help them relax. We may also use special tools to work deep layers of muscle, which helps you get the most out of each treatment.
  • Next steps: We help you get the most out of each visit by delivering other treatments right after your massage. These treatments may include physical therapy or hand therapy. In most cases, you receive all of your care from the same therapist, which helps you receive seamless care based on your unique needs.

Next Steps with MyChart

Discover MyChart, a free patient portal that combines your Baptist Health medical records into one location. Schedule appointments, review lab results, financials, and more! If you have questions, give us a call.