Why You Get Sore After A Massage (And Tips To Help)
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Do you ever feel really sore the day after a massage? That’s actually pretty common. While most people feel great after an hour on the massage table, sore muscles are also just as common. This blog post will explore the reasons why you get sore and what to do if it happens after your next massage.
Remember — pain after a massage is usually normal, especially if your massage therapist used a lot of pressure or it was a deep tissue massage. However, if you are concerned, always speak with your massage therapist about your issues and be sure to provide feedback throughout the treatment.
Why Do I Get Sore After A Massage?
There is a common misconception that pain during and after the massage is important and necessary to achieve results. Pain after a massage does not mean the massage was extra effective. A massage can work perfectly fine even if there is no soreness during or after. The discomfort itself is related to the amount of pressure used in your massage and the type of massage you receive. A lot of pressure during a deep tissue massage often means you will have sore muscles the following day.
Pain is also more common if you are new to massage. If you regularly seek treatment from a trained RMT, your muscles are more familiar with the techniques used and will often become accustomed to them. That means less soreness over time after your treatment session.
Microscopic Tears in the Muscles
A microscopic tear is pain caused by a delayed onset of muscle soreness. This happens when very tiny tears occur within the muscle fibres when they are worked hard during exercise. These tears are so small that they're called “micro-tears” because you can’t even see them.
Think of massage as exercise for your muscles. If you recently received a massage treatment for tight muscles or your therapist used a lot of pressure to work them out, you might have received a microscopic tear. Just like for people who exercise frequently, this is fairly common. Your muscles will get stronger and heal over time. While not all pain is caused by these tears, it might explain it for some.
After Massage Tips To Help With Pain
Feedback is SO important during and after your massage. I encourage it with all my clients. Not only does communication help the treatment be more effective, but it also helps us achieve your health goals quicker.
If you feel more pain than you are comfortable with during or after your massage, it is critical you share that information with me or any other therapist you use for treatment.
But if you do feel pain after a massage and want to lessen or manage it, try these helpful tips.
Do Your Home Stretches
I cannot stress this enough — treatment continues after your appointment ends. That means keeping the areas that received treatment moving and stretched. Gentle stretching will keep the blood moving and your muscles loose which will help with the pain afterward. Do not overdo it, though. Your muscles also need time to relax and heal. Gentle movement is key.
Drink Lots Of Water
Water keeps your muscles energized and electrolyte levels in balance. Water also keeps your joints lubricated and protected. All of these things contribute to fast muscle recovery and lessened pain symptoms over time.
Remember: Your muscles are made out of water. They need water to work at their most optimal. Remember how massage is like a workout for your muscles? You would never workout with water, right? So you should think of your post-massage routine in the same way. Load up with liquids to help your recovery.
Get Some Rest
Your body needs time to repair your muscles after a particularly intense massage. The best thing you can do is get some rest and a night of proper sleep. While getting a massage at any point during the day is fine, it always feels nice to leave treatment and go home to continue relaxing. It is always easier to fall asleep after an hour on the table relaxing and nourishing your body.
Try Some Self-Care Techniques
Taking a bath with Epsom salts will keep the inflammation at bay and the pain down. A cold compress also feels nice when applied to any areas where you notice swelling or soreness. Lotion and essential oils can also be a nice way to unwind the body.
Time To Book Your Next Appointment?
Massage therapy is one of the best ways to relax and destress after a long week at work. But there are so many other life-changing benefits like chronic pain relief, improved circulation, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, improving your immune system and helping lessen the suffering from so many painful diseases.
A little pain after a massage is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. If you are worried about anything pre or post-massage, feel free to reach out to me at any time. I am here to help you realize the health and happiness that comes with a body nourished and cared for.