If you do a lot of sports or have an active lifestyle, you may be tempted to get a sports massage. You may have also heard that sports massages can be painful and might even lead to bruising, but is that true?
Here we’ll look at can sports massages cause bruising, as well as post-massage care. By the end, hopefully we’ve eased your mind on what you should expect from a sports massage. Let’s get started!
What is a Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a form of therapy involving manual muscle manipulation to aid individuals who engage in physically demanding lifestyles and hobbies. It addresses injuries caused by previous activities and prevents an injury from happening in the future.
This therapeutic massage focuses on maximising the benefits of specific massage techniques to support further physical activities. It combines deep tissue and Swedish massage to treat the effects of muscular strain and tightness.
Before a sports massage, patients need to undergo an initial assessment. This will allow physiotherapists to create a sports massage therapy plan that meets each individual’s particular needs.
Aside from treating injuries, a sports massage enhances athletic performance and physical function. It helps improve circulation, flexibility, and performance while reducing the chances of injuries.
However, it’s important to note that sports massage isn’t meant to be relaxing. While some people find stress relief from this type of massage, its main focus is treating and preventing injuries, not relaxation.
Is It Normal to Bruise After a Sports Massage?
There are a lot of factors needed to determine if bruising is normal after a sports massage. These include your overall health, diet, muscle tone, the use of aspirin before the session, and if you bruise easily.
When getting treatment from professionals, bruising should not be a factor, but it can happen. So it’s best to speak honestly with the massage therapist regarding any pre-existing conditions before undergoing any treatments.
You may feel some soreness after a sports massage, but bruising is rare. If there is bruising, then it’s likely due to you bruising easily, the rigorous working of a problematic area, or sometimes due to an inexperienced massage therapist.
Why are Sports Massages Sometimes Painful?
During a sports massage, a specific amount of pressure is applied to your muscles for proper treatment. However, there are times when the pressure can get uncomfortable, especially when muscles are overly tense.
When your muscles are more tense than usual, the more uncomfortable the whole massage will be. Why? Because these can’t be stretched easily, despite the pressure from your therapist’s hands. Your therapist will need to apply more intense pressure to relieve the tension from the muscles.
If you want to loosen up your muscles, you can have massages along with practising foam rolling and regular stretching. These can help you relax tense muscles for a more comfortable experience during sports massages.
Additionally, your muscles can ache for a day or two after undergoing the sports massage since they will become tender. You can also experience mild inflammation around the affected area. Some may even get bruises, but this shouldn’t always happen.
Generally, a good sports massage is something like a workout for your body. The reason is that your muscles are getting manipulated in different ways that they aren’t used to. And because blood rushes to the muscles and toxins are getting flushed out, you end up experiencing pain the next day.
Why Does Sports Massage Cause Bruising in Some People?
A contusion, more commonly known as a bruise, is a traumatic injury that causes capillaries to break. When this happens, red blood cells leak, resulting in skin discolouration in the affected area.
Stagnant blood in the form of knots can be found throughout your body, and these stick around in the tissues. Knots are lymphatic fluids that don’t make their way into your heart. As a result, they build up in one place, causing your muscles to appear inflamed.
A sports massage can break up these knots. Since pressure is applied to the affected area, the released red blood cells go near the surface of the skin. This ends up forming bruises and discolouration on your skin.
Bruising after undergoing a sports massage can be compared to the soreness you feel when getting back to exercising and slightly overdoing it. But in this case, your body is gaining the benefits of the massage internally since fresh blood can flow properly again. After some time, your muscles will get better, and you will feel more energetic and rejuvenated.
Although bruising can happen after a sports massage, it should disappear in less than a week, and fade after four to six days. While this bruising can happen, most people can have multiple sports massages without ever getting a bruise.
Treating Bruises After Sports Massage
As mentioned, Sports Massage Cause Bruising or skin discolouration. These happen because blood from damaged red blood cells collects near the surface of the skin. It’s the reason why your skin may appear reddish after a fresh massage.
Bruises can turn blue or dark purple within a few hours or days, and can be tender or painful. Usually, the pain reduces as the colour fades.
There is no special treatment for bruises caused by a massage. Fortunately, treating bruises after sports massages can be done at home. If you’re particularly sore, then you can apply ice to the area and take painkillers.
Once the pain subsides, you’ll notice the benefits of the sports massage you’ve received. But again, this level of discomfort is very rare. Most people will only need 24-48 hours to recover from the mild soreness.
Overall, the discomfort you feel after a sports massage is completely normal, and it means the whole process was effective. Although some people may get bruises after a sports massage, these should not last over a week.
If you feel any pain or discomfort during the session, you can always ask your massage therapist to stop or move on to another area. There is no reason to fear a sports massage. Instead, you’ll appreciate all the benefits and keep coming back from more sessions!