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Should a Sports Massage be Painful?

Categories: Massage

Its a question I often get asked when I say I'm a Sports Massage Therapist and it can sometimes be a factor which puts people off from having them if they perceive they are going to experience an element of pain.

I know when I have a sports massage there are always element of it which aren't the most pleasant and sometimes have me wincing as pressure is applied to a sore point in my muscles.

However something to remember is that everybody is different and every therapist is different. This means that your pain threshold can differ from the next person and it isn't always a matter of trying to be tough and grinning and baring it, its looking at how to adapt in that situation and what method of treatment will be best suited for you.

when your having your massage your therapist will use a scale of 1-10. During the start of your massage you should experience pain on a 3-4 level, so some mild discomfort but very manageable and will probably feel quite nice going over that area. As the massage progresses the level of pain may also increase as the therapist starts to work deeper into the affected muscles. This could relate to a 5-6 on the scale, you may get to a 7. If you're feeling its getting above that, then speak to your therapist and they will ease off.

This the the benefit of a sports massage, the treatment is tailored completely to your needs and can be adapted at any point to you get the maximum positive effects from it.

Why can a massage be painful?

When you train, exercise or do anything that puts pressure on your muscle fibres they want to grow, get stronger and adapt to the activities you're asking them to do. However once you've finished this they need to rebuild and go back to their resting state, in the process the muscle fibres can get stuck. This can be to themselves of the fascia surrounding them, these are knots you might feel over time.

Any restriction in your movement may also lead to pain in a muscle or joint and the muscle is going back into its smooth pattern.

If you train a lot, your muscles can become very tight, especially if you're not stretching enough and this can lead to your muscles being very sensitive to touch. Even the lightest touch can feel like hot pokers moving across your skin.

How can massage help?

There are lots of different massage techniques that can help release the tension that builds up in your muscles and depending on your consultation and assessments from your therapist a variety of techniques could be implemented into your treatment plan. These techniques will help to release the 'knots' that have formed and realign your muscles fibres.

Remember different techniques can cause different levels of pain and more pressure us applied and smaller surface areas are used. Your therapist is  not there to intentionally cause you pain, even if you think they're enjoying it.

Lots of people come and have a Sports Massage once they are in pain or have injured themselves, because of this the massage is likely to be more painful as the area itself is already tender. However if you come for regular 'maintenance massages' this can help stop and prevent the build up of these knots and can help relax the body more of the time.

Sometimes you can find the pain is justified. You need to help break down the scare tissue and knots before the problem area can feel better. I know for myself its the pleasure pain build up. I know during the massage its going to be uncomfortable to afterwards the release and movement gains I have far outweigh the uncomfortable feeling when I'm having the massage.

Just remember everybody if different and if you feel pain that is too much, tell your therapist and they will alter the treatment you're having.