Wellness Wednesday - Responding to Pain when Getting a Massage

I'm a big fan of this next installment of Wellness Wednesday, because I truly think that pain is an often misunderstood topic.  Angie takes it a step further and educates us about pain when getting a massage. - Dave

“No pain No Gain” A phrase you tend to relate to working out, or often times in the massage room. Many people believe that in order to get rid of pain and discomfort you need to cause pain and discomfort. In some cases this is hard to avoid but it is not the only way. Many massage techniques are gentle or may not feel like the therapist is doing a lot but it still can make a big change in the muscle or area of discomfort. So the question is, how do we know what will help us get better?

First we need to understand our perception of pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong, but we can also have different types of pain. One is soreness, similar to the feeling after a hard workout or after racking the leaves if we have not done it in a while. Another is tenderness; this is often times where your therapist finds “the good spots” where all the knots are or where the discomfort might be stemming from. Last but not least is the sharp or stabbing pains, this type is often times when our bodies are telling us we have a problem here and it needs to get checked out by a doctor. Soreness and tenderness are “pains” that can be made better by releasing the muscle and tissue in the area; time is also a precious element here, if you get off the table and do not feel instant results, give it a little time, our bodies are trying to adjust to this new found length in our muscles that the therapist was able to get and our bodies are learning to relax again.

As for the deep elbow drives into those tender spots, those knots do need to dissolve in order to relieve some of that pain and pressure, but speak up to your therapist if it is too unbearable. If the pain is too much, you need to share this with the therapist. In this instance your body will start defending it self from the pain, and the therapist will not be able to get into the affected spot because everything else around it is now tight from defending the painful spot.

It is common to experience soreness right after or a day after the massage, do not be alarmed this soreness is just the tension releasing and the muscles adjusting. Give it a day or two, drink plenty of water to rehydrate and re-nourish the area, the water will also help flush out all the lactic acid and toxins that was released. If anything becomes beyond soreness and more of a stabbing feeling, follow up with your therapist.

Therapists are trained to be able to get to those hard to reach Knots but we are also trained in doing it differently and finding different techniques that may better help you. We will find the best approach for you and your pain, and get you back to doing the things you love, in a way that can be affective and also relaxing.


Angie Gonzalez, LMT