Can Deep Tissue Massage Make Things Worse?

Strong, deep tissue massage can cause problems, rather than help. It can even be disastrous for patients with chronic pain, as intense massage can lead to what is known as a “sensory injury”. Resolving knots with deep pressure is often painful. Most people who love deep tissue massages enjoy the feeling that it “hurts a lot”, but that pain is actually the body telling you that it doesn't like what it feels.

If done correctly, a massage can help with stress, migraines, and even serious illnesses such as Parkinson's and sickle cell disease. However, a bad massage can injure nerves, cause muscle spasm and inflammation, and damage the tissues that surround the muscles. This can lead to specific areas looking and feeling bruised and sensitive. Your body will create muscle memory if you have frequent massages, so try to be regular with your sessions whenever possible.

Pain isn't the only bad thing that can occur during or after a massage; experiment with different types, pressure therapists and massage therapists to find the one that best suits your goals and needs. If you have neck pain after a massage, it may be a sign that you have a lot of tension in that area. A special type of massage known as reflexology is often used to treat nerve pain by focusing on specific points on the legs, which reduces tension and nerve pain. It's perfectly normal to have some sore and stiff muscles and to feel a little bruised the day after enjoying this type of massage.

If you're very sensitive, have a lot of pain or tension, or just want to avoid feeling sore afterwards, opt for a massage with gentle, light pressure. See your doctor if you have neck or back pain after a massage or on an ongoing basis, especially if you're not sure what's causing it. Apply a muscle-relaxing or anti-inflammatory ointment to affected areas; rub these topical treatments deep into the skin while giving yourself a mini massage.

Florence Baird
Florence Baird

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