Stomach Pain After Massage
Lifestyle

Stomach Pain After Massage: All You Need to Know

If you’ve ever experienced stomach pain after massage, you’re not alone. This unexplained discomfort can leave you wondering what went wrong and if it’s a common occurrence. In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of stomach pain post-massage, why it happens, and what you can do to alleviate the discomfort. So, grab a cup of tea and let’s get to the bottom of this mysterious phenomenon

Table of Contents

Stomach Pain After Massage Treatment

 

Stomach Pain After Massage

Possible Causes of Stomach Pain After a Massage

Excessive Pressure on Abdominal Muscles

One possible cause of stomach pain after a massage is the excessive pressure applied to the abdominal muscles during the session. Massage therapists may mistakenly apply too much pressure or use techniques that are not suitable for the sensitive abdominal area. This can lead to discomfort and pain in the stomach region.

Digestive System Sensitivity

Some individuals may have a sensitive digestive system, which can make them more prone to experiencing stomach pain after a massage. The stimulation of the abdominal area during a massage can trigger a reaction in the digestive system, causing discomfort and pain.

Muscle Soreness and Spasms

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of muscles, which can cause muscle soreness and spasms in some cases. If the abdominal muscles are affected during the massage, it can result in stomach pain. The sore muscles and spasms can create discomfort and lead to pain in the stomach area.

Inadequate Hydration

Dehydration can be another factor contributing to stomach pain after a massage. During a massage, the body releases toxins and waste products, which need to be flushed out through proper hydration. If you are not adequately hydrated before and after a massage, it can lead to abdominal pain and discomfort.

Digestive Disorder Aggravation

Individuals with preexisting digestive disorders may experience aggravated symptoms after a massage. The manipulation of the abdominal area during the session can potentially exacerbate the condition, leading to stomach pain. It is important to inform your massage therapist about any underlying digestive issues before the session to avoid potential complications.

Preexisting Conditions

People with certain preexisting conditions, such as ulcers or gastritis, may be more susceptible to experiencing stomach pain after a massage. These conditions can make the stomach more sensitive, and the manipulation of the abdominal area during the massage can trigger discomfort and pain.

Nerve Compression

In some cases, nerve compression during a massage can cause stomach pain. Pressure on the nerves in the abdominal region can lead to referred pain, where the pain is felt in the stomach, even though the cause is elsewhere. The compression of nerves can occur due to improper technique or excessive pressure applied during the massage.

Inflammation

Massage therapy involves the manipulation and stimulation of muscles, which can lead to increased blood flow and inflammation in some individuals. Inflammation in the abdominal area can cause stomach pain and discomfort, particularly if there is an underlying inflammatory condition or sensitivity.

Allergic Reaction

Although rare, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to massage oils or lotions used during a session. If you are allergic to any ingredients in the products used, it may manifest as stomach pain or discomfort. It is important to communicate any allergies or sensitivities to your massage therapist beforehand to avoid any potential adverse reactions.

Gastrointestinal Tract Disturbance

The manipulation of the abdominal area during a massage can sometimes disturb the gastrointestinal tract, leading to stomach pain. The stimulation of the digestive organs and intestines can cause discomfort and potentially result in symptoms such as cramping, bloating, and abdominal tenderness.

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Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Pain After a Massage

Cramping

One of the common signs of stomach pain after a massage is cramping. Cramping can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by a tightening sensation in the abdominal area. The intensity and duration of the cramps may vary depending on the individual and the underlying cause.

Bloating

Bloating refers to the feeling of fullness, tightness, or swelling in the abdomen. It is a common symptom that can occur after a massage, particularly if excessive pressure was applied to the abdominal area. Bloating can be accompanied by discomfort and pain.

Nausea

Nausea is a sensation of unease or queasiness in the stomach that may be accompanied by an urge to vomit. It can occur as a result of various factors, including the stimulation of the digestive system during a massage. Nausea after a massage can range from mild to severe and can be accompanied by other digestive symptoms.

Vomiting

Vomiting refers to the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth. While less common, it is possible to experience vomiting after a massage, particularly if there is severe stomach pain or persistent nausea. Vomiting can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue and should be addressed promptly.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea refers to the frequent and loose bowel movements. It can occur as a reaction to the stimulation and manipulation of the abdominal area during a massage. Diarrhea after a massage can be accompanied by other digestive symptoms such as cramping and bloating.

Loss of Appetite

Stomach pain after a massage may also result in a loss of appetite. The discomfort and pain in the abdominal area can diminish the desire to eat or cause feelings of discomfort after eating. If the loss of appetite persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention.

Abdominal Tenderness

Abdominal tenderness refers to the sensitivity or pain when pressure is applied to the abdomen. After a massage, the abdominal area may become tender due to the manipulation and stimulation of the muscles. The tenderness can range from mild to severe, depending on the individual’s sensitivity and the intensity of the massage.

Management and Treatment of Stomach Pain After a Massage

Rest and Relaxation

Resting and allowing your body to recover after a massage can help alleviate stomach pain. Avoid any strenuous activities or exercises that may further strain the abdominal muscles. Take the time to relax and give your body the chance to heal.

Over-the-Counter Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help relieve stomach pain after a massage. However, it is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens.

Heat or Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold therapy to the affected area can help alleviate stomach pain. A warm compress or hot water bottle can help relax the abdominal muscles, while a cold pack can provide numbing and reduce inflammation. Choose the temperature therapy that provides the most relief for you.

Hydration

Ensuring proper hydration is essential in managing stomach pain after a massage. Drink plenty of water before and after the session to help flush out toxins and facilitate the body’s natural healing process. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Gentle Abdominal Massage

A gentle self-massage of the abdominal area can help relieve stomach pain and discomfort. Use gentle circular motions with your fingertips and apply light pressure. Be mindful of your comfort and stop if the pain or discomfort worsens.

Avoiding Trigger Foods

In some cases, certain foods can aggravate stomach pain after a massage. Pay attention to your diet and avoid foods that are known to trigger digestive issues or cause discomfort. This may include spicy foods, fatty foods, or foods that are known to cause bloating.

Professional Consultation

If the stomach pain persists or worsens after a massage, it is advisable to seek a professional consultation. A healthcare provider or massage therapist can assess your symptoms, determine the underlying cause, and provide appropriate guidance and treatment.

Lifestyle Modifications

Making certain lifestyle modifications can help prevent or manage stomach pain after a massage. This may include adopting a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management techniques, and ensuring proper hydration. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle can contribute to overall well-being and minimize the risk of experiencing stomach pain.

Alternative Therapies

In some cases, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or herbal remedies may be beneficial in managing stomach pain after a massage. However, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before trying any alternative therapies to ensure their safety and efficacy.

Follow-Up Appointments

If you regularly experience stomach pain after massages, it may be helpful to schedule follow-up appointments with your massage therapist. This allows them to monitor your progress, adjust their techniques, and provide personalized recommendations to minimize or prevent stomach pain in future sessions.

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Prevention of Stomach Pain After a Massage

Communication with Massage Therapist

Open and honest communication with your massage therapist is crucial in preventing stomach pain after a massage. Inform them about any preexisting conditions, sensitivities, or concerns you may have. This allows them to adapt their techniques and avoid any potential triggers.

Informing About Preexisting Conditions

If you have any preexisting digestive disorders or conditions, it is important to inform your massage therapist before the session begins. They can then modify their techniques or avoid certain areas to minimize the risk of exacerbating your symptoms.

Avoiding Heavy Meals Before a Massage

Eating a heavy meal before a massage can increase the likelihood of experiencing stomach pain. It is recommended to eat a light meal or snack at least one to two hours before the session to ensure optimal digestion and reduce the risk of discomfort.

Staying Hydrated

Proper hydration before and after a massage is essential in preventing stomach pain. Drink an adequate amount of water to help flush out toxins and ensure the body can effectively recover from the session. Avoid diuretics such as alcohol or caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.

Choosing an Experienced and Qualified Massage Therapist

Selecting an experienced and qualified massage therapist is essential in preventing stomach pain after a massage. Research and choose a therapist with good reviews, appropriate certifications, and a thorough understanding of the techniques and precautions specific to the abdominal area.

Proper Breathing Techniques during Massage

Practicing proper breathing techniques during a massage can help minimize the risk of stomach pain. Deep, slow breaths can promote relaxation and prevent the muscles from tensing up, reducing the likelihood of pain or discomfort.

Gradual Increase in Pressure and Intensity

If you are new to massage therapy or have a sensitive stomach, it is advisable to start with lighter pressure and gradually increase the intensity over time. This allows your body to adapt and become more comfortable with the techniques, reducing the risk of stomach pain.

Avoiding Massages during Digestive Disorders

If you are currently experiencing a flare-up of a digestive disorder or condition, it is best to avoid getting a massage until the symptoms subside. Massage therapy during an active flare-up may aggravate the condition and result in increased stomach pain.

Assessing Allergies or Sensitivities

Before a massage, it is important to assess any allergies or sensitivities you may have to massage oils, lotions, or other products used during the session. Communicate any allergies or sensitivities to your therapist, and consider requesting hypoallergenic products if necessary.

Avoiding Unusual or Extreme Positions during a Massage

Certain positions during a massage, particularly ones that place excessive pressure or strain on the abdominal area, can increase the risk of stomach pain. Communicate any discomfort or concerns to your massage therapist, and they will adjust their techniques and positions accordingly.

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Abdominal Pain After Massage

Abdominal pain after massage is a common side effect that some people may experience. This discomfort can range from mild to severe and can last for a few hours to a few days. The pain may be felt in different areas of the abdomen, such as the upper or lower abdomen, and may be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, bloating, or diarrhea.

Stomach Pain After Massage

There are several reasons why abdominal pain may occur after a massage. One possible cause is the pressure applied during the massage. If the massage therapist applies too much pressure to the abdomen, it can cause discomfort and pain. Another possible cause is the release of toxins from the muscles. Massage can stimulate the lymphatic system, which can help to remove toxins from the body. However, if too many toxins are released at once, it can cause abdominal pain and other symptoms.

Stomach Pain After Massage

Some people may experience stomach pain after a massage. This can be a concerning and uncomfortable experience. The possible causes of stomach pain after a massage and what you can do to alleviate the pain.

Upper Stomach Pain After Massage

Upper stomach pain after a massage can be caused by a variety of factors. One possible cause is that the massage therapist may have applied too much pressure to the abdominal area. This can cause discomfort and soreness in the upper stomach region. Another possible cause is that the massage may have stimulated the digestive system, causing gas or bloating.

Lower Stomach Pain After Massage

One possible cause of lower stomach pain is that the massage therapist may have applied too much pressure to the lower back or pelvic area. This can cause discomfort and soreness in the lower stomach region. Another possible cause is that the massage may have stimulated the bladder or urinary tract, causing discomfort or pain.

What Happens to Your Body After a Massage

After a massage, the body undergoes several physiological and psychological changes. Here are some of the most common things that happen to the body after a massage:

1. Improved Blood Circulation

Massage therapy can help improve blood circulation in the body. This is because massage strokes help to move blood through congested areas of the body, which in turn helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and other tissues. 

2. Reduced Muscle Tension

Massage therapy can help to reduce muscle tension and stiffness. This is because massage strokes help to stretch and loosen muscles, which can help to increase flexibility and range of motion. It can also help to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers.

3. Increased Relaxation

Massage therapy can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress. This is because massage strokes help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” response. This can help to decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol levels, which are all indicators of stress.

4. Improved Digestion

Massage therapy can help to improve digestion by stimulating the digestive system. This is because massage strokes help to increase peristalsis, which is the movement of food through the digestive tract. It can also help to reduce bloating and gas, which can lead to discomfort and pain.

5. Soreness or Pain

It is not uncommon for some people to experience soreness or pain after a massage. This is because massage strokes can cause micro-tears in the muscles, which can lead to inflammation and soreness. However, this soreness should subside within a day or two, and the individual should feel better than before the massage.

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Stomach Pain and Diarrhea After Massage

It is not uncommon for individuals to experience stomach pain and diarrhea after a massage. While this may seem like an unusual side effect, there are several reasons why it may occur.

One reason is that massage can stimulate the body to release toxins. This can cause gastrointestinal upset, leading to stomach pain and diarrhea. The oils used during a massage can also be a factor. If an individual is allergic to these oils or has particularly sensitive skin, it can cause intestinal upset and diarrhea.

How Long Does Diarrhea Last After Massage?

Diarrhea after a massage is not a common occurrence, but it can happen. The duration of experiencing diarrhea after a massage will vary depending on what type of massage you had and how intense it was.

The diarrhea should subside within a few days as your body flushes out the toxins that were released during the session. However, in rare cases, clients have had diarrhea for up to a week following a deep tissue massage.

What Toxins Are Released After Massage?

There is some debate among experts about what toxins are released after a massage. Some claim that massage therapy can help to remove lactic acid and other metabolic waste products from the muscles, while others argue that the concept of “toxins” is too vague and ill-defined to be useful.

One clear thing is that massage therapy can cause temporary inflammation in the muscles, which can lead to discomfort and pain. This inflammation is a natural part of the healing process and is caused by the release of cytokines, which are signaling molecules that help to regulate the immune response.

Bloated Stomach After Massage

It is not uncommon to experience bloating or discomfort in the stomach after a massage. This can be due to several reasons, including the release of trapped gas, the stimulation of the digestive system, or the relaxation of the abdominal muscles.

Stomach Pain After Massage

Bloated stomach after massage is the release of trapped gas. The pressure and movements used during the massage can help to release gas that has become trapped in the digestive system. While this is a normal bodily function, it can cause discomfort and bloating in some people.

Another possible cause is the stimulation of the digestive system. Massage can help to increase blood flow and stimulate the digestive organs, which can lead to increased activity in the digestive system. This can cause bloating and discomfort, especially if the person has recently eaten a large meal.

The relaxation of the abdominal muscles during massage can also contribute to bloating. When the muscles in the abdomen are relaxed, it can allow the intestines to expand and fill with gas, which can cause bloating and discomfort.

How Long Will I Feel Sick After Massage?

Experiencing stomach pain after a massage is not uncommon. It is one of the most common side effects of a massage, and it can be caused by several factors. The duration of the sickness can vary depending on the causes or can take a few days

How to Relieve Pain After Massage

Experiencing soreness or tightness in muscles is normal after a massage, especially if it has been a while since your last massage or you’ve never had one before. Here are some tips to help relieve pain after a massage:

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water before and after your massage is important. Avoid alcoholic, sugary, and caffeinated drinks, and opt for healthy options such as coconut water, fresh juice, or herbal tea. Staying hydrated can help flush out toxins released during the massage and prevent dehydration.

2. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

Taking a warm bath or shower can help relax your muscles and ease the pain after a massage. You can also add Epsom salts to the water to help soothe sore muscles. Just make sure the water is not too hot, as it can increase inflammation and make the pain worse.

3. Rest and Relax

Your body needs time to recover from the massage, so take it easy for the rest of the day. Avoid strenuous activities, and give your body time to rest and heal. You can also try some gentle stretching or yoga to help release tension in your muscles.

4. Use Hot or Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation after a massage. You can use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or warm towel for heat therapy, or an ice pack or cold compress for cold therapy. Just make sure to wrap the hot or cold object in a towel to protect your skin.

5. Take Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

If the pain is severe, you may need to take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosage and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

6. Schedule a Follow-Up Massage

If the pain persists or gets worse, you may want to schedule a follow-up massage with your therapist. They can help identify any underlying issues and adjust their technique to better suit your needs

When to Seek Medical Attention

Severely Intense or Prolonged Pain

If the stomach pain after a massage is severely intense or prolonged, it is advisable to seek immediate medical attention. Severe pain can be a sign of a more serious underlying issue that requires prompt evaluation and treatment.

Persistent Symptoms

If the stomach pain persists for more than a day or two after a massage, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Persistent symptoms may indicate an underlying condition that requires medical attention and further investigation.

Severe Nausea or Vomiting

If the stomach pain is accompanied by severe nausea or persistent vomiting, it is crucial to seek medical attention. These symptoms can be indicators of a more serious gastrointestinal issue that needs to be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Signs of Infection

If you notice any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, warmth, or the presence of pus at the massage site, it is essential to seek medical attention. These can be signs of an infection that requires medical treatment.

Unexplained Weight Loss

If you experience unexplained weight loss after a massage, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. Sudden or significant weight loss without any changes in diet or exercise can be a symptom of an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

Changes in Bowel Movements

If you notice significant changes in your bowel movements, such as persistent diarrhea or bloody stools, it is crucial to seek medical attention. These changes may be indicative of an underlying gastrointestinal issue that requires evaluation and treatment.

Blood in Stool

The presence of blood in the stool after a massage is a concerning symptom that should not be ignored. It is essential to seek immediate medical attention, as it may be a sign of a severe condition such as gastrointestinal bleeding.

Conclusion

Stomach pain after a massage can be caused by a variety of factors, including excessive pressure on abdominal muscles, digestive system sensitivity, muscle soreness, dehydration, and aggravation of preexisting conditions. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of stomach pain after a massage, such as cramping, bloating, nausea, and abdominal tenderness. Management and treatment options include rest and relaxation, over-the-counter medications, heat or cold therapy, hydration, gentle abdominal massage, avoiding trigger foods, and seeking professional consultation. Prevention strategies involve effective communication with the massage therapist, informing about preexisting conditions, avoiding heavy meals before a massage, staying hydrated, choosing an experienced and qualified therapist, proper breathing techniques, gradual increases in pressure and intensity, and avoiding massages during digestive disorders. Seek medical attention for severe or persistent pain, severe nausea or vomiting, signs of infection, unexplained weight loss, changes in bowel movements, or the presence of blood in the stool. By understanding the possible causes, signs, and management of stomach pain after a massage, individuals can make informed decisions and take appropriate measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable massage experience.

Michelle Thompson

Michelle Thompson is a lifestyle consultant and registered dietitian specializing in intuitive eating. She holds an MA Economics from University of Alberta with over 10 years of cooking and lifestyle experience. Michelle co-founded FoodNx and Lifestyle IMT where she coaches people on healthy diet and lifestyle as well as being published author/editor with numerous publications as well as hosting multiple podcasts related to both dieting and intuitive eating.
Michelle has traveled around the globe sharing her expertise.

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