Back pain can be caused by any number of factors or combination thereof, from general stress to accidental injury to disease. Some people seek relief from back pain through massage, but are unprepared for the soreness that can result from a deep tissue massage. Before anyone preforms a deep tissue massage on you it is important to know what exactly is a deep tissue massage, who is qualified to provide one, and when you should avoid getting one.
What is a deep tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage, like its name suggests, targets the various layers of muscles that connect within your body beneath the skin. It can be an intense, aggressive experience as it requires more pressure, pinching and pulling than a classic massage (also known as a Swedish massage). However, though some discomfort is to be expected during a massage session, there should be no pain. It is vital that you communicate with the professional providing the massage so that they can adjust their technique to not exceed your pain threshold as that is counterproductive to the intent of the massage.
Deep tissue massages are designed to relieve discomfort caused by chronic muscle tension. It penetrates through every level of accessible muscle to relax those knots of tension. Massage in general can help increase circulation, but deep tissue can release what is referred to as toxins stored in the soft tissues of your body, which with the increased circulation can lead to the manifestation of symptoms associated with illness, such as a cold. This is because those toxins, through normal cell waste are being dispersed more rapidly than your body is used to metabolizing in a short period of time. That is why you will often here massage therapists advising the consumption of plenty of water to help your body cleanse itself. Your kidneys are where this cleansing process largely takes place.
With these factors, the intense nature of the technique and the releasing of toxins, it is not uncommon to experience tenderness and soreness of the muscles, including those of the lower back where tension can often reside. It is important to make the distinction between pain and soreness. Pain is often what prevents you from moving in certain ways in an effort to avoid the sensation, while soreness can be easily overcome as it does not persist for an extensive amount of time and does not intensify.
Who is qualified to provide a deep tissue massage?
A deep tissue massage should only be performed by a licensed professional. It is not something that anyone should attempt without proper training in anatomy and massage techniques. In other words, this is not something to be offered as an expression of romantic affection.
When should you avoid getting a deep tissue massage?
Because deep tissue massage can aggravate some conditions you should consult with your doctor prior to seeking out the services of a massage therapist. In some cases massage therapy may be just the thing, but if you experience persistent pain following a session then you should abstain and see your doctor.
As mentioned before, some discomfort and soreness is to be expected, and typically can last up to three days; however, it should not impair your ability to carry on normal activities. The soreness can lessen with the frequency of massage therapy, which may also increase the benefits you experience. Again be sure to discuss with your doctor if massage therapy is right for you.
If you experience persistent back pain, you should seek the advice of a professional. At Randolph Orthopedics and Sports Medicine we employ skilled physicians with the experience and training to address your back pain. Call us at 336-626-2688 for more information.