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Side Effects of Deep Tissue Massage

author image James Mulcahy
James Mulcahy is a New York City-based licensed massage therapist with more than 1,500 hours of training in anatomy, myology and pathology. He currently works as a freelance writer and has contributed to Huffington Post, New York Press, British Airway’s High Life, Metromix and many other publications.
Side Effects of Deep Tissue Massage
A young woman is getting a back massage. Photo Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Blend Images/Getty Images

Although the goal of a deep tissue massage is to relax the muscles in your body, vigorous work can come with a number of side effects. These side effects are usually mild, and the therapist can adjust his or her work if you experience any pain or discomfort during your session.

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When a therapist performs deep tissue work, there may be a pain response when he or she first stimulates the muscle. Your muscles may not be used to being stimulated and the pain may cause you to jerk your body part or grit your teeth. This pain subsides as the therapist warms and manipulates the tissue.


Some people experience muscle soreness after deep tissue massage. This soreness is similar to pain you might feel after a vigorous workout and should fade over time.


You may experience a headache after a deep tissue massage treatment. This side effect is rare and may be caused by positioning during the treatment rather than the deep tissue work itself.

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