When we go and have remedial treatment for a painful musculo-skeletal injury or condition there is sometimes discomfort in the following few days afterwards, this can happen whether it is from a massage, from spinal manipulation or assisted stretching. Generally this is more likely to happen if it is your first treatment or the first you have had for a long while and usually it is nothing to worry about.
One of the reasons that post treatment discomfort occurs is that you might have left getting treatment way longer than you should have which has caused greater resistance to the normal movement in your body, comparing this to a nut that has partially rusted on to a bolt is not entirely wide of the mark.
Another cause of post treatment pain is seeing a therapist who is completely new to you, it can take a little while for the new practitioner to work out what your tolerances are, it is not just a simple case of big strong guys getting big and strong treatments and smaller lighter clients getting soft treatment. Over the years I have been surprised on many occasions by small petite women asking for and responding well to very firm massage. Likewise I have also treated some big men who have surprisingly low pain thresholds.
The nature of the physical problem ofcourse matters alot. A fresh injury for instance that has localised redness and swelling is often best treated indirectly and around the actual trauma site, atleast to start with anyway. A more familiar recurring sore lower back or neck problem that you experience a “good pain” from when pressed on the other hand, is usually treated directly from the outset.
It is important that you tell the practitioner if he or she is taking you too firmly, usually a practitioner can tell by the way your body reacts to being touched if they are going too hard or not but if they don’t it is no use waiting till the end of the treatment and then complain to the practitioner about it. Worse still saying nothing to the therapist and then telling everybody how rough they were afterwards is not fair on either you or the therapist. Don’t be shy, how you feel matters so tell us.
If you are concerned about how you feel afterwards you can always phone your therapist or send an email and ask them if what you are experiencing is normal or not. It is not usually a good idea to go prodding and poking it yourself if you don’t think it feels right.
Finally it is a good idea to reflect on the event/s that occurred in between your visit to your practitioner and the pain you felt afterwards because if you decided to run around the block because you felt a bit better after having your lower back massaged it might be your fault, treatment cannot replace common sense. If you really want to know if and when it is safe to try a particular activity again just ask.