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)
- 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:
- Chiropractic Movements
- 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.