Are Deep Tissue Massages Supposed to Hurt?

Deep tissue massages can hurt, but that pain may not necessarily be considered “bad.” The purpose of a deep tissue massage is to work on all of the body’s soft tissues, especially the fascia, a layer of tissue that covers the muscles. A massage therapist might add more pressure than a normal massage to work these tissues and can help with sports injuries, back pain, and muscle tension. This extra pressure can cause pain and discomfort, but you can let your massage therapist know if it’s too much pain for you.

deep tissue massage on shoulders

What Can Deep Tissue Massages Help With?

Deep tissue massages are similar to other types of massages, but a massage therapist might add additional pressure to work with the fascia to help a variety of problems. A deep tissue massage can help with:

  • Lower or Upper Back Pain
  • Mobility
  • Sports Injuries
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Posture Problems
  • Sports Injuries
  • Muscle Tension

What Can You Do if Your Massage Hurts?

While a deep tissue massage is likely to cause some pain, it’s still important to know what to do if it hurts too much. When receiving a deep tissue massage, do these things:

  • Evaluate the pain. Many massages are described as creating a “good pain” where there’s an ache, but it still feels “good.” This kind of pain is normal for a massage. However, if you only feel pain and no relief, it may be possible that the massage therapist is using too much pressure.
  • Ask the massage therapist to use less pressure. While pressure is necessary to work out muscle tension, too much pressure can cause more tension rather than relieving it. If the pain is too much, work with your massage therapist to find the right pressure for you.
  • Find someone new. A good massage therapist will listen and work with you to provide the best massage for you. While some pain and discomfort is common, if the pain is too much and the massage therapist doesn’t listen, find someone new the next time you need a massage. You can and should decide how much pain you can take.

therapist giving deep tissue massage

What Should You Do After Getting a Deep Tissue Massage?

A deep tissue massage can leave you sore and aching, much like how your body feels after a hard workout. Prepare to be sore, but you don’t have to be miserable. Here are different ways you can relieve the aches and pains of a deep tissue massage:

  • Drink plenty of water. Much like a workout, a massage works your muscles in different ways. While it’s unproven if water prevents soreness, it’s still a good idea to drink water before and after a massage.
  • Take a warm bath. No matter what made you sore, a warm bath is a great way to relax and soothe aches and pains from a good massage.
  • Soak in epsom salt. Epsom salt combined with a warm bath can also help relax your muscles and calm any post-massage aches. Want the ultimate relaxing experience? Choose an epsom salt with fragrances to soothe both your mind and body.

If you want something similar to a deep tissue massage, check out our massage clinic to receive a Swedish massage. A Swedish massage is a great way to relieve tense muscles without the intensity of a deep tissue massage. Schedule your appointment now! All student clinic work is supervised by a NYS licensed massage therapist.


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