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Relief Tips for Muscle Knots And Myofascial Pain

Muscle knots can leave your body feeling tender and achy. 90% of American adults have experienced a muscle knot at some point in their lives. They can impair mobility, cause pain, and make it difficult to perform ordinary tasks.

Want to prevent muscle knots from affecting your quality of life? Keep reading to discover what you need to know about muscle knots – including proven tips for relieving muscle knots.

What is a Muscle Knot?

A muscle knot is a stiff band of muscle with a hard knob in the center. This hard knob is known as the trigger point. Muscle knots are also known as myofascial trigger points.

Typically, muscle knots appear in your back, shoulders, and neck. However, they can appear virtually anywhere on your body.

Sometimes, the pain from a muscle knot pops up spontaneously, making it an active muscle knot. In other cases, the muscle knot is only painful when pressed, making it a latent muscle knot.

With both active and latent muscle knots, the pain can radiate beyond the trigger point into the surrounding muscles.

What Causes Muscle Knots?

Muscle knots are complicated. They can be caused by a number of different things. More research is being done on muscle knots every year, although we still have a lot to learn.

Many muscle knots are caused by the triggers you would expect, including overuse, heavy lifting, or repetitive activities that strain a certain muscle group.

Some of the most common causes of muscle knots include:

  • Psychological stress
  • Bad posture
  • Poor ergonomics (like an improperly setup workstation)
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Bad sleep quality or sleep disturbances
  • Joint problems

Muscles are designed to be used. They’re designed to contract and relax. However, the activities above can impede the natural ability for muscles to lengthen and shorten.

Sitting at a computer desk all day with little movement, for example, is particularly tough on your muscles. The muscle fibers begin to stick to each other, forming a knot.

Or, bad posture can also cause muscle knots. Bad posture puts stress on your muscles. Over a long enough period of time, this stress leads to the formation of scar tissue.

Certain groups are at a particularly high risk of developing muscle knots. Risk factors of muscle knots include aging, disease, and stress. People with fibromyalgia are also much more likely to develop muscle knots.

Symptoms of Muscle Knots

You may have a muscle knot and not even know it. Your muscle knot may be latent, which means you don’t feel it until someone presses the affected region – say, during a massage.

Pain is the primary symptom of a muscle knot.

Other common symptoms include a swollen, tense, bumpy, or achy feeling in the affected area.

How to Treat a Muscle Knot

A medical professional – like a chiropractor – will diagnose your muscle knot before deciding on the course of treatment. The chiropractor might check the area for a taut band of muscle, for example, or a tender nodule, applying physical pressure to the patient to verify the presence of the muscle knot.

Then, treatment can begin. Muscle knot treatment typically consists of:

  • Stretching
  • Chiropractic Movements
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Massage Therapy
  • Trigger Point Therapy
  • Ultrasound Therapy

The goal of these treatments is to release the trigger point to reduce pain and increase mobility. A chiropractor might utilize one treatment – or several – with the goal of breaking up the knotted tissue and calming inflamed nerves.

Preventing Muscle Knots

One of the best ways to treat muscle knots is to avoid getting them in the first place. Some of the strategies you can use to reduce your risk of muscle knots include:

Improve your posture while standing and sitting. Keep your head level and straight when sitting. Sit in a relaxed position with your shoulders back and down. Avoid slouching.

Use proper lifting technique or avoid lifting heavy items entirely.

Stay hydrated with water and electrolytes, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

If you sit for long periods of the day, then take regular stretch breaks to prevent muscle tightness. Get up every 30 minutes to stretch, letting your muscles expand and contract to avoid muscle knots.

At-Home Treatments for Muscle Knots

Professionals can treat muscle knots more effectively than anyone. However, certain at-home treatments may provide basic relief, including:

  • Find the knot with your fingers, then gently massage the spot to loosen the area
  • Press down firmly on the knot and make small circles
  • Use a tennis ball or foam roller to apply pressure to the knot if it’s in a hard-to-reach place (like your back)
Renew Chiropractic Specializes in Muscle Knot Treatment

Get relief from your muscle knots with Renew Chiropractic. Schedule an appointment today to discover relief from pain, stiffness, and other unwanted muscle knot symptoms.

Backpack Tips: How to Choose and Wear the Right Backpack

Many Americans develop back or neck problems because of a bad or improperly-worn backpack.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent backpack-related body pain. Today, we’re explaining some of the best tips for choosing, using, and wearing the right backpack.

Weight Matters

Students carry up to 30 pounds of weight in their backpacks – even at a young age. That’s a problem: one study published in Spine in 2010 found that children’s spines were compressed when carrying heavy loads.

Another study published in BioMed Research International in 2015 found that backpacks heavier than 10% of a child’s body weight could cause the child’s back to lean one way or another.

Other studies have shown that incorrect backpack usage at any age can lead to posture problems and stiffness.

At the very least, a heavy backpack can leave children in pain. For these reasons and others, the American Occupational Therapy Association started “National School Backpack Awareness Day”, during which they educate students on the tips and strategies they can use to avoid backpack-related discomfort.

The 10% rule is important. If a 16-year old student weighs 140 pounds, for example, then his backpack should only weigh 14 pounds.

What to Look for in a Backpack

Some of the key features to look for when shopping for a backpack include:

Waist Strap: A waist strap distributes the weight of the backpack across your back more evenly.

Padded Back: A padded back makes the backpack comfier to wear, but it also protects your back against jagged or oddly-shaped objects in the bag.

Wide Shoulder Straps: Wider shoulder straps distribute the weight across the back more evenly. Narrow shoulder straps put too much weight on a small area, and this weight on your neck and shoulders can affect circulation.

Padded Shoulder Straps: Padded shoulder straps reduce the load on your neck and shoulders.

Compartments: Compartments make it easy to organize your backpack and keep it neat. You can distribute the weight evenly and avoid having oddly-shaped objects against your back.

Reasonable Size: You should wear a backpack proportional to your size. A child’s backpack, for example, shouldn’t be the same size as an adult’s backpack. The length of the backpack is particularly important for children, and a child should not wear a backpack designed for an adult torso.

Of course, none of these features matter if you don’t use them. Your backpack might have a great waist strap that distributes the weight more evenly, but if you never take the time to tighten the strap, then you’re not getting the benefits.

Tips for Wearing a Backpack Correctly

After picking the right backpack, you need to wear it correctly. Some of the best tips for wearing a backpack include:

  • The bottom of the backpack should sit at around waist level
  • Wear both shoulder straps at all times
  • Ensure the items and weight in the backpack are distributed evenly
  • Ensure you can walk normally with the backpack on without slouching or breathing heavily
  • Use the waist strap to spread the weight evenly across your back
  • Adjust the shoulder straps so the backpack is high on your back and the shoulder straps are comfortable on your shoulders
  • Readjust straps as needed for different clothes; backpacks could sit differently depending on the thickness of the fabric
  • Your backpack straps should be tight enough so that your backpack doesn’t sway as you walk; swaying can lead to chafing
Final Word

When you purchase the right backpack and wear it correctly, you reduce the risk of pain and discomfort at any age.
Use the tips above to ensure your backpack is helping you – not hurting you.