Bruising? Swelling? Itchy skin? Has this happened to you after a physio appointment? Check out what each of these things mean, and which ones you should worry about.

The ultimate goal of any physiotherapy appointment is to help you feel better in the long term. In some cases, there might be some discomfort or other side effects that develop soon after treatment, before you start to feel the improvements. Some of these symptoms are normal, common and expected, while others are not, and may need to be investigated further.

Read on to see if you should be worried about these symptoms:



Depending on what treatment you had done, post-treatment soreness for up to a day is what we consider normal. Post-treatment soreness may feel like:

– The same pain you came in with, but a little more intense than it was.
– A different pain than you came in with.
This should settle down within 24 hours of treatment, when you should start to feel better. During this time, you may be able to apply heat or ice to help reduce symptoms. Make sure you ask your physiotherapist for specific advice for your situation. In some cases, this soreness may last 2-3 days, although your physiotherapist will reduce the intensity of your future treatments to avoid this.


    Minor bruising develops when damage occurs to the underlying muscle and connective tissue, which leads to bleeding under the skin. This blood spreads out under the skin, leaving dark marks through the skin. 

    Bruises can develop after a Deep Tissue Massage, which we often use during our treatments. To reach the deep layers of tissues, your physiotherapist will need to apply firm pressure, which can cause this minor bruising in the overlying tissue. Not all deep tissue massages result in bruising, and some people are more susceptible to bruising than others.

    We can also offer alternative types of massage that are not as intense, and are less likely to cause bruising.

    Dry needling can also result in bruising, as the needles penetrate into the muscle, where blood vessels are located. Damage to a small blood vessel can happen during Dry Needling, and often results in a small, circular, very dark bruise. This will heal over 5-7 days, and is not a cause for concern.

    If you develop significant bruising after a massage or Dry Needling, make sure you let your physiotherapist know, so they can give you specific advice for your situation.

    Bruising tends to occur more easily as you age, or in conditions that cause clotting problems. Certain medications can also make your skin more likely to bruise. Please see your doctor or ask your physiotherapist immediately if you’re concerned.



      Some clients find they develop a headache after treatment. This can be because of:
      – Altered blood flow in your body after the treatment
      – Dehydration, or lowered blood sugar levels

      To avoid a post-treatment headache, make sure you drink lots of water before and after your treatment, to stay well hydrated. You might also find eating a light snack soon before your treatment might help too.



        Redness on the skin after treatment is often a sign of increased blood flow in the area. This is generally considered a good thing, as the blood flow can assist in healing, and warmth of the increased blood flow assists in keeping the muscles relaxed. Redness should fade within 1-2 hours of your treatment.

        When is post-treatment redness bad?

        – If you have an acute injury (that means you’ve injured yourself in the past 7 days), we focus on trying to minimise this redness and blood flow, to help minimise swelling and pain. Treatment should not cause an increase in redness during this acute period.

        – Redness can also develop because of a reaction to a product. See the next point: Skin Irritation



          In this age many people have sensitivities, allergies and intolerances. We use natural, organic, hypoallergenic products, oils and tapes where possible, and provide alternatives when needed. If you find your skin is irritated, red, itchy or sore after a treatment, clean the area immediately with soap and water, remove any strapping tape, and contact the clinic if you’re concerned. Make sure you tell us about any skin irritation you develop, so we can avoid using that product in future.



            We wish everyone could feel better immediately! In many injuries, there is a short period of discomfort after your treatment, before you notice those positive changes. If you find you feel better straight away after a physiotherapy appointment, be grateful that your body responds so well. It gives you the chance to get started on your exercises straight away!

              If you’re just not sure what you’re experiencing after a treatment or why, call 8376 8816 or email us so we can discuss all the options with you.

              Every person is different, and every person needs individualised treatment, to get the best out of their body.

              Can the physiotherapists at Aspire help to get you back to feeling better? Access a treatment time now.