Sore After a Massage? Why It Happens and What To Do

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Most of us schedule a massage to get relaxation, relief from tight muscles, or assistance with pain, or injury. However, as part of the healing process, you may feel some degree of muscle discomfort or stiffness afterward. 

Just as you may feel sore after exercise, a massage can stimulate areas of your body that you haven’t used lately. Tight areas of our body don’t always cause pain.  A massage can address these stiff areas of your body. Certain types of massage, such as deep tissue, are more likely to cause post-treatment soreness. If you are sensitive to pressure, have a lot of pain or tension, or simply want to avoid feeling sore afterward, schedule a therapeutic massage (notify your Winnipeg Massage Therapist you would like light pressure) relaxation massage that uses a light, gentle pressure.

It’s quite normal to feel tender after a massage. After stimulating muscles that you may not typically use, you might experience delayed onset muscle soreness. This is a bodily response to the inflammation as your body heals. This can happen if your muscles aren’t used to massage. In the same way that your body gets used to exercise, your muscles need time to get accustomed to being manipulated in certain ways.

You may experience inflammation and soreness in areas that need healing. If you have neck pain after a massage, for example, it can be a sign that you carry a lot of tension in that area. This is quite common with those who have seated jobs that involve prolonged time at a computer.

If you haven’t had a massage recently or if it’s your first one, it’s more likely that you will feel sore afterward. Your body will create muscle memory if you have frequent massages, so aim to be regular with your sessions when possible. Most patients attend massage therapy anywhere from every 4 weeks to 3 months. This is depending on your level of pain, workplace demands, physical activity level, hobbies etc. 

Typically, any soreness will subside within 1-2 days. In the interim, there are several ways to relieve soreness. 

Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water before and after your massage. Also, avoid alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated drinks. 

Stretch after your massage. This helps reduce muscle tension, increase flexibility, and improve circulation.

Heat your body afterward to promote relaxation. Take a hot shower, use a hot tub if you have, or a heating pad (recommended time on a heating pad is 15mins). 

If you can, factor in time to rest after your massage. Elevate your feet and legs with pillows.

Ice on any painful areas for 15 minutes at a time a few times per day. This reduces inflammation and alleviates soreness. 

It’s important to establish open communication with your Massage therapist. Before your appointment, talk to them about any concerns you have regarding your body and discuss the pressure you prefer. 

Your therapist will check in during the massage, but if you feel uncomfortable or want them to try a different pressure, let them know right away. Everyone is very different in preferences of pressure. 

Let your therapist know if there are any places you want them to use a different type of pressure on or avoid altogether. Voice your intentions for the massage. A massage to relieve deep muscle knots will be quite different from a massage to stimulate relaxation. Also, let your therapist know if you have any medical concerns or injuries.

If you experience soreness after a massage, rest assured that it’s a normal occurrence. Continue to improve your well-being and reduce soreness by taking care of yourself and utilizing these helpful tips. 

Try your best to schedule Massage Therapy treatments on a regular basis to maximize the benefits and minimize the discomfort. If you have any questions about any of the services we offer, don’t hesitate to contact our Winnipeg physiotherapy clinic.

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