Sometimes it hurts when your muscles are being massaged. The reason for this is usually that your muscles are on the ‘tight’ side.
Muscles are supposed to be balanced. That means that they are all working together and none are ‘too strong.’ They are all ‘just right.’
But sometimes that’s not the case.
Sometimes muscles on one side of your body are a little tight and they pull on other muscles. The tight, short muscles can be tender to the touch even though they don’t usually bother you.
Or, at least, you didn’t know that they were bothering you.
The muscles that get pulled on get tight, too, but it is a different type of tight. It is called taut.
When something is taut, that means that something is pulling on it and it cannot relax.
The goal of massage is to relax your muscles and help get them back into balance. But sometimes a massage therapist only works on the muscles that are complaining the most. Those are usually the taut muscles.
That tends to be a very unsatisfying massage. Why?
Because the muscles that are causing the problem–the shorter, tighter ones which are usually in the front of the body–are not relaxing. They just keep pulling and pulling even more.
Massaging muscles which are taut (weak and overstretched, too) can be very uncomfortable.
On the other hand, if the massage therapist understands HOW bodies work and WHY you have uncomfortable or painful symptoms, then all is good.
That educated, skilled therapist will spend time relaxing the short, tight muscles (not just the taut ones.) That might cause some discomfort but you will say, “Yes, that hurts but it is GOOD pain.”
Can you imagine such a thing? Good pain?
But it’s true. When your muscles are being treated in a way that will help them relax your body says: “Yes! This is the right thing!” even though it is causing discomfort.
So, when your muscles are tight, there can be pain when you are massaged. But the discomfort may feel like good or appropriate pain OR it may feel non-productive and not appropriate.
If it feels ‘wrong’ do not hesitate to tell your therapist. We appreciate feedback that helps us to do a better job and not to ‘hurt’ you needlessly during a therapeutic massage session.
If you feel that your massage therapist needs to understand how your body works a bit better, maybe this article will help. Please feel free to share it.
Your therapist may not be doing a favor for you when it hurts to have a massage.