Why Am I Sore After A Massage?
Have you ever woke up the next morning after seeing your massage therapist and wondered why you feel sorer than before your visit to the clinic? Have you ever woke up after a massage feeling as if you ran a marathon in your sleep or fought a battle in your dreams and did not win?
Before you curse your therapist and decide to never go back for another treatment, know that it is perfectly normal to have post-treatment soreness after a deep-tissue massage and it is possible for this soreness to last anywhere from 24-72 hours following.
Receiving a deep-tissue massage can be similar to a vigorous work-out in the sense that they both have similar effects on the bodies tissues.
One reason for post-treatment soreness may be the release of metabolic waste and toxins from the tissues during the massage, as the therapist works to release trigger points, also commonly referred to as “knots”.
A myofascial trigger point is usually defined as a focal area of tenderness or a hyperirritable spot in the skeletal muscle and its surrounding fascia. To the touch, trigger points are palpable nodules (aka “knots”) in a taut band of muscle fibers.
Some evidence show that a trigger point can be a patch of polluted tissue: an area of waste metabolites and toxins due to the muscle’s chronic contraction, causing an ischemia, depriving the muscle of nutrients and oxygen rich blood.
Myofascial trigger points commonly form in the muscles and surrounding fascia due to trauma, injury or repetitive strain. Some indirect causes of myofascial trigger points are stress, poor posture, poor nutrition, repetitive use and lack of movement.
These contracted “knots” cause pain and tightness, which may limit joint range of motion and decrease strength because of the limited ability for the muscle fibers to lengthen and contract.
Techniques commonly used to release trigger points are sustained compression and deep-stroking along the taut band. These techniques may elicit local tenderness, referred pain or a local twitch response.
When a trigger point is released it is common for the local tenderness and referred pain to be relieved, but also for the metabolic waste build up and toxins to correspondingly be released. These metabolic wastes and toxins can be closely comparable to the metabolic wastes and toxins your body produces during a work-out, causing that post-treatment or post-exercise soreness.
How Can I Aid Post-Treatment Soreness?
Here are a few simple things you can do after your treatment:
Be committed to your water intake, both BEFORE and AFTER your appointment. If you happen to be dehydrated on the day of your massage, your tissue will not be as pliable, and this may lead to increased soreness afterwards. Also, it is strongly believed that increasing your water intake after a massage can help to flush away the toxins released after a massage.
Do some gentle stretching, most importantly that evening and two days subsequent your appointment. Focus on the trouble spots that received the most attention during your massage. Motion is lotion for your tissues!
Take a warm Epsom salt bath (1-2 cups) and soak. Fully submerge the trouble spots that received the most attention during your massage for a minimum of 15 minutes. Epsom salt in a warm bath is an affordable and relaxing way to further help your body rid itself of toxins. You also get the benefit of absorbing magnesium, found in Epsom salt, through your skin.
If the soreness you are experiencing after your appointment lasts longer than 72 hours or is experienced as pain rather than discomfort, communicate with your massage therapist. Perhaps your tissues were worked too hard, or too fast, or you are tightening your muscles during your treatment in the anticipation of pain. No pain, no gain is an old mentality and does not always serve you in a massage therapy session, but that is another blog topic!
While post-treatment soreness is not always enjoyed, it may be a regular part of a deep-tissue treatment, however, as your body becomes accustomed to regular massages you may begin to experience post-treatment soreness less frequently or for a lesser period of time post-treatment.