Pain after a massage?

Pain after a massage not exactly what you would want. Even though you should feel sensationally fantastic after the massage and days to follow. Most people feel more energetic, confident, relaxed, looser, more flexible, their pain goes away, etc. In rare cases also you might feel a little weird the next day. Some People are sore and this is what I will discuss in this post.

Feeling pain after a massage? Wondering is it normal to feel sore? How long will it last? is there anything you can do about it? Did the therapist hurt you? Should you go to a doctor etc?

In my experience, I only had several of times where clients felt an intense soreness after the massage.

It’s either:

  1. They were not a very active person who’s muscles got “worked out” and felt sore after like lets say an intense workout, because that what the massage initially is.
  2.  Or they were a very active person or a person that worked a physical job and had already a lot of repetitive strain and stress in their body. And they couldn’t relax during the massage. Because they were tensing up when the pressure was applied some muscles got a little bruised or stretched out of their usual tight positions. In these cases the therapist should slow down the speed and intensity of a massage strokes not to aggravate the muscles, but try to loosen them up rather over several massage sessions than just one.
  3. Or the therapist was applying a little too much pressure, that happens sometimes from therapist meaning well. It actually happen to me once on my neck. I also had a client who kept telling me to go deeper even though I felt it was too deep, I told them it wasn’t a good idea for their body structure, because they might get sore, they said they still wanted a deeper pressure and they did get sore for the next couple of days.

But the good news is those soreness sensations should go away in 24-72 hours no matter how they were acquired. Max a week.

Some people can get quite freaked out, or even upset and worried. However there is nothing to be worried about pain after a massage.

For your muscles, getting a deep-tissue massage is similar to experiencing a tough workout. They got stretched and manipulated during the session, and the massage increased blood circulation to your tight spots. The lining of our muscles is supposed to be smooth, and work fluidly.

When a certain group of muscles gets tight, strained or kinked. It becomes more rigid, and will rely on surrounding muscle areas to pitch in and help. During a massage, the therapist works to stretch, lengthen, and break up groups of muscles (commonly known as knots). Possibly causing tiny micro tears in the muscle along the way. This is a normal function of massage, and while it leads to more blood flow and healing to that area. It can also lead to that day-after tenderness.  Also, if you happen to be dehydrated on the day of your massage. Your muscle tissue will not be as pliable, and you will feel pain after a massage.


If your muscles hurt more than just general soreness, make sure to communicate this with your therapist. So next time a therapist will go slower and easier on those knots. I always say its best to gradually work out the muscles where there is an extreme level of tension in the muscles. Better over several appointments than try to accomplish everything in one appointment. Thats why if you haven’t had a massage in a while it’s good to tell your therapist that as well and see if they can accommodate with the comfortable pressure. And increase the massage intensity over time. It’s good to be aware-

Perhaps you are unknowingly tightening a group of muscles during a massage, anticipating pain. It can take some serious concentration to relax all of your muscles, and not doing so can result in varied muscle pain after a massage. I do understand its impossible most of the time just to tell your muscles not to tense up and relax. So that’s why its best to communicate with your therapist so they can go easier when you are in that position.

After your massage that same day, there are some easy, pleasant things you can do to help prevent some of the next-day soreness:

  • Be purposeful about your water intake, both before and after your appointment. Hydrated muscles are more flexible. Also, there are some strongly-held beliefs that drinking water after a massage can help to flush away the toxins released by massage. Staying hydrated is never a bad idea, and after before or after a massage session is no different.
  • Do some gentle stretching that evening, paying special attention to your trouble spots that received the most attention during your massage.
  • Take a warm bath, ideally with Epsom salts (1/2 cup to 1 cup for adults), and soak for 20-40 minutes. Epsom salts are an inexpensive and effective way to further help your body rid itself of toxins and reduce muscle inflammation. You also get the added bonus of absorbing the beneficial magnesium found in Epsom salts through your skin. You could add some lavender essential to help you even more.

If you happen to be one of those people that have gotten sore muscles after your massage treatment.

Good to know  it is a natural, normal part of the journey of health and well-being that comes with taking care of yourself by receiving massages. As your body becomes accustomed to regular massages, you’ll experience the next-day soreness less frequently or never again. If you are looking for a wonderful professional massage to start reducing your tension and pain, contact me and we will work depending on your pressure comfort.

Writer, Jolita Brilliant, Nationally Licensed Massage Therapist in Burlington, Vermont.

Brilliant Massage & Skin.


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