Sports chiropractic services

cross friction massage

Cross friction massage breaks down scar tissue and remodels the tissue into more flexible, pliable, and functional, healthy soft tissue.  

Also known as transverse friction massage, this technique is a deep tissue massage technique performed at the site of injury.

Benefits of cross friction massage:


  • Breaks down scar tissue so injuries can heal quickly with fewer long-term side effects
  • Immediate and long-term pain relief
  • Treats both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions

Conditions that respond well to cross friction massage include:


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How do you treat injury with cross friction massage?

Scar tissue is the body’s response to an acute injury or repetitive microtrauma. At the site of injury, the body forms scar tissue that covers the damaged area. Layers of scar tissue cross the area in all different directions and are unusually thick compared to healthy, normally functioning tissue. 

In almost every instance, cross friction massage leads to immediate pain relief. During the massage, the patient experiences a numbing effect from the friction. Following treatment, reassessment typically shows reduced pain and increased strength and mobility. 

Studies have shown that the application of transverse friction massage leads to immediate pain relief and a reduction in chronic pain. This technique is valuable in treating muscle, tendon, and ligamentous injuries in both acute and chronic conditions.

At Premier Sports & Spine, all cross friction massages are performed by board licensed sports chiropractic physicians who have advanced training and certification in the deep massage technique. Our experience with cross friction massage enables patients to progress faster with fewer treatments.

How does cross friction massage work?

Due to the shape and purpose of the scar tissue, patients experience reduced mobility and pain, since the tissue is not very flexible or functional. The massage breaks down the scar tissue through consistent applied pressure and friction.

This scar tissue breakdown brings additional blood flow to the area, initiating a natural healing phase called fibroblastic proliferation. Following transverse or cross friction massage, the area can functionally heal while pain and stiffness are significantly reduced.

Cross friction massage combines tissue breakdown with muscle lengthening procedures like ART and site-specific rehabilitation exercises. Successful treatment means the affected area heals with a greater percentage of normal tissue, reducing pain caused by thickened, misshapen and inflexible scar tissue. Any remaining scar tissue is in the plane of stress, making the area more functional and flexible with decreased pain and symptoms.

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