I am feeling very sore after my massage – is this normal or should I worry?
- Tuesday, 03 May 2022
In most cases this is a normal reaction to a deep tissue treatment, but it is essential to manage post treatment soreness so that it doesn’t escalate into a bigger problem. In other cases, it may be an indication that the next treatment needs to be adapted.
Deep tissue treatments are designed to evoke physical changes in your body. People attend remedial massage to address symptoms of pain, muscle tension, or restricted mobility. Symptoms will only exist where the condition of the muscles is dysfunctional. A course of approximately three sessions will resolve the painful symptom and reveal the cause. These sessions require deep massage pressure to challenge tissue restrictions to coax a new order and allow healing.
In addressing the painful symptom through massage treatment, the tissues get stretched, squashed, separated, and combed. It’s understandable that these tissues may feel a little sore as they heal from the micro traumas that occur. These micro traumas don’t always hurt until an inflammation healing cycle kicks in – this can usually be the following day. This discomfort can be likened to delayed onset muscle soreness that people feel after challenging exercise.
Even people who receive deep tissue treatments regularly can experience soreness in the day(s) following the massage. However, such an individual would be familiar with their body’s response and their soreness would probably adhere to a pattern or timescale that they can expect.
Great care must be taken to manage this post-massage soreness. The soreness itself is harmless. But our response to it can be very damaging. Muscle guarding is the phenomenon of tensing up or protecting a sore muscle. You probably won’t know that you do it. It’s like how we raise our shoulders to our ears when a chilly wind shivers our body.
Muscle guarding is both a therapist’s and massage client’s worst post-treatment enemy. An already sore muscle that is contracted and overworked will become grouchy and may quickly spasm into a cycle of pain worse than felt before the massage. Therapists normally get the blame!
The antidote to combat muscle guarding is to take a light painkiller when you feel the onset of such soreness. It tells your brain that there is no soreness and subsequently you continue to move normally which warms up the tissue. This avoids a subconscious muscle guarding action and saves you an unnecessary pain cycle.
Other reasons why people feel sore in the days after their massage are:
- Overuse: You feel so good after your massage that you go on a long hike or decide to weed the garden and wham!... it’s too much too soon for your muscles.
- Musculature Compensation: Your muscles act like the strings that control a puppet. Pulling one string downwards raises a limb. Similarly, when one group of muscles relaxes, the bio-mechanical load can transfer to an opposing group causing them to feel overworked, or in pain. A course of remedial treatments aims to pacify muscular imbalances to establish function through movement and joint harmony.
- Too deep too fast: It is possible that your therapist challenged your tissues too much. Often, they want immediate results for you, but maybe applied too fast a stroke in too deep a layer causing it to feel bruised. This is why we schedule 4-7 days between appointments in the relief and correction phase to allow tissues to recover. On your next visit share your story of discomfort so that they can learn how your body responds and adapt their treatment style to give you a greater satisfactory result.
Thank you for your trust in using our service.
Agata and team.
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