Post-massage soreness

Symptoms get worse after massage?

Do you ever experience muscle soreness after a massage?
Are you worried that post-massage soreness is a sign of injury?

Statistics show that there is a certain possibility of injury that could happen during a massage. 60% of Asians, 30% Europeans, 7.5% Americans and 2.5% Australians are reported to have adverse events due to massage. Interestingly, more than half of them are female and 35% of all cases have lasting injury.

This article tells you what symptoms are normal and what are post massage adverse events.

Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

Symptoms that you should eye on after massage

Sensory injury

Tissue over-stimulation make the muscles and soft tissues more sensitive to pain. The symptoms below can be aggravated by repeatedly pressing and kneading on the same spot.


It is normal to feel sore after massage. However, you should be careful if the symptom last more than 3 days. It may be a sign of tissue injury.

|Neck pain

This is a sign of neck muscle over-stimulation, be sure to tell your therapist about it.


Headache can sometimes combine with dizziness and nausea. The symptoms happen when the tension of neck muscles or fascias are changed in a short amount of time. Stop your massage therapy and search for medical help when it gets severe.

Photo by Carolina Heza on Unsplash


Feeling a little tired after massage is relaxing, you can even have a good night sleep. In certain circumstances, however, tiredness or fatigue is something we wish not to happen. Athletes, especially about to compete within a couple hours, should be treated carefully.

Researches concluded that sports massage right before track and field competition can decrease athletes’ performance. The reason to that is massage makes the muscles and tendons soft, decreasing the ability to store energy for sprinting. Running and push off speed can be influenced after massage, thus it is important to control massage timing and force.

There is a misunderstanding that it is more effective to press harder on the spot. It can cause sensory injury, tissue inflammation or unwanted fatigue.
All you need is adequate “pressure”.

Adverse events worse than pain

There are past cases of bony fractures, disc herniation and joint dislocation related with massage therapy. In addition, vertebral artery dissection and deep vein thrombosis are also documented as serious adverse events. Although in most cases the patient made a full recovery, they spend a well amount of time and money.

The main idea of this article is to point out symptoms that are related to massage, some are just natural responses but some should be taken care of.

Before receiving massage therapy, be sure to consult your therapist or physician.

Please like and share this article if you find it useful!


Moran RN, Hauth JM, Rabena R. The effect of massage on acceleration and sprint performance in track & field athletes. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018;30:1–5.

Fletcher IM. The effects of precompetition massage on the kinematic parameters of 20-m sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(5):1179–83.

Davis HL, Alabed S, Ainsley Chico TJ. Effect of sports massage on performance and recovery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 20207;6(1):e000614.

Yin P, Gao N, Wu J, Litscher G, Xu S. Adverse events of massage therapy in pain-related conditions: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:480956.

Saha FJ, Schumann S, Cramer H, Hohmann C, Choi KE, Rolke R, et el,. The Effects of Cupping Massage in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain — A Randomised Controlled Trial. Complement Med Res. 2017;24(1):26–32.




物理治療師 女性運動與姿勢矯正 physiotherapist, MS, CES

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杜婉瑜 Diane

杜婉瑜 Diane

物理治療師 女性運動與姿勢矯正 physiotherapist, MS, CES

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