Sometimes, in the immediate aftermath of a massage, the areas of your body that were worked the most may be inflamed and tender to the touch. Don’t panic. In this blog, Elements of Rockville Centre will explain whether it’s normal to feel sore after a massage, and the reasons you may be in a little bit of pain.
Is it Okay to Feel Sore after a Massage?
The short answer to this question is yes, it’s okay to feel sore after a massage. In fact, you should expect a little bit of swelling and pain due to the way in which your muscles were manipulated by the massage therapist.
If you’ve never received a massage before, you may even feel a little bit sick, like you’ve got a slight touch of the flu. Again, this is normal, so there’s no need to panic. The benefits of massage far outweigh feeling under the weather for a short period of time.
Whether or not you feel sore after massage is dependent on your body, as well as the massage pressure level used. You won’t always experience soreness, though it’s common if you do.
How do I Treat Post-Massage Soreness?
Much like the pain you feel after a rigorous workout, post-massage soreness recedes after a day or two. However, Elements of Rockville Centre recommends doing the following to mitigate it more quickly:
- Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated
- Take an ibuprofen
- Apply heat pads or icepacks (in rare instances)
- Take a warm bath with Epsom salt
- Lightly stretch the affected muscles
What if my Pain is Prolonged?
Pain that lasts for more than three days may indicate the presence of bruising or other injuries beneath the skin. Other warning signs include:
- Visible bruising (unless you’re prone to bruising in general)
- Prolonged swelling (lasting several days)
- Sharp twinges of pain (rather than dull soreness)
- Inability to use a muscle that was massaged
If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your licensed massage therapist. They’ll advise you on which steps to take next, which usually include seeing a doctor.
What Causes Pain after a Massage?
While our muscles are meant to be smooth and flexible, the everyday wear and tear of life tends to tighten and strain them. Massage therapy stretches and smooths them out, breaking up what are known as muscle knots. This process may cause tiny tears in your muscles, which are responsible for the pain.
Deep tissue massage in particular is notorious for causing quite a bit of soreness, since it focuses on the deepest layers of muscle. However, if you feel overwhelming pain during your massage, don’t hesitate to ask your massage therapist to adjust the level of pressure they’re using.
Feeling sore after a massage is certainly not a desirable outcome, but it’s a small price to pay for all of the benefits you’ll gain. As you begin to receive massage more routinely, your body will become used to it and you won’t be as sore in the future.