What are Muscle Knots and How Do You Treat Them?
Now, this is not a new term for most of you reading this article. Once in a while, a friend might sigh, “Oh, I feel like I am all knotted up today!” Another one, an athlete from a long day of training, may also complain of this condition.
From workplaces and gyms to cyber cafés, this term is overly used. However, when most people experience a muscle knot, the first thing would be to rush to Google and type, “physical therapy near me” to seek help. But what is the gist of this condition?
In this article, we are going to explore all that, debunking every little detail and towards the end, offering expert advice from top physical therapists globally. So, stay put and keep your eyes peeled.
Also termed as trigger points, they refer to those kinks you experience in your back, and the tight, ropy strands felt in the neck. In most cases, these bump-like areas are too painful even to touch.
The medical jargon for this condition is myofascial trigger points (don’t bother about its pronunciation). I know you are interested to see how this condition comes about, scroll down to find out.
What Causes Trigger Points?
To understand this better, let us first explore the muscle tissue. Inside the human body are muscle fibers that run in all different directions—the muscles layer on each other from head to toe.
Let me pause for a moment and raise a question, what do you think enables you to bend, swing a golf club, dance to that favorite music, or swing? The muscles! Now you see why they are an essential part of the body anatomy, right?
Nevertheless, the more we perform an activity, sit in a poor posture, or involve ourselves in strenuous tasks, the more our muscles wear out. It means that various muscle fibers now begin to stick to each other and hence, become adhered to the other. The result of this is a hard – lumpy feeling, the myofascial trigger points.
How can one, therefore, identify that what they are feeling is indeed trigger points?
Here is how.
1. Feeling Inner Elbow Pain
As we have discussed earlier, muscles run to every part of our body. It, therefore, dictates that our elbows also have flesh and can be used to help us identify the likelihood of trigger points. For those who are fond of the gym, elbow pain from lifting weights can be an indicator.
Whenever you experience such pain, it should be a warning to you that something is not right. Elbow pains will result from repetitive stress on the tendons, which paves the way for the degeneration of the muscle tissue.
A malformation of the new collagen will lead to reduced muscle strength. Continuous stress on the muscles will cause scar tissues to form in the tendon, and this might increase the pain felt in the elbow.
Another indicator of this condition is this:
2. Back Pains during Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, backaches are common. When one is in the pregnancy period, the body automatically starts to prepare for labor. It does this by softening and stretching the ligaments naturally. When this happens, your lower pelvis and back joints are victims of strain. The result of this is upper back pain in pregnancy.
The pain results from weak stomach (abdominal) muscles and the inability of the muscles to support your back better. It is worth noting that such distress can range from mild to painful, which will require the assistance of an obstetric physiotherapist.
And lastly on the symptoms we have:
3. The state of Unsteadiness
This symptom will most manifest itself when one tries to walk, stand, or go up or down steps. You will feel like your head is floating in the air or disconnected from your body.
Unsteadiness results primarily from the knots formed on the back of the neck. It can be a result of long hours of sitting, sleeping, or muscular dystrophy.
Most people will experience this state when they try to you look behind, gaze up, or try to reach for an object placed over their heads.
Other symptoms of the knots in the muscle include:
- A feeling of heaviness
- Difficulty in sleeping
Before we wrap up, we’ll discuss some elaborate preventive and treatment measures when one experiences a knot in the back.
Preventive and Treatment Mechanisms
The process of unlocking the contraction which causes the knots can be done in the following ways:
1. Take a break from strenuous activities that can be causing the knots or triggering your pain or discomfort.
2. Performing aerobics which helps alleviate the lumps that may be forming in the muscles.
3. Taking plenty of water frequently to help keep the body hydrated. You should cut on sugary foods that dehydrate the body.
4. Having a massage therapy on the affected area has also proven to be one of the most effective ways of dealing with this pain
5. Incorporating the use of heat and cold therapy, which helps to ease pain and reduce inflammations caused by the knots.
6. You can also opt for the dry-needling pain-relieving technique.
7. If you are an athlete and you get a knot on the field, a “spray-and-stretch” cooling spray would do the magic for you.
8. For pregnant ladies, exercising in a box position will go a long way in keeping your back straight, thus lowering back pains.
9. Refrain from lifting heavy objects too often, which causes the wearing of the muscles.
10. Flat shoes can also help distribute your weight, thus reducing the risk of developing knots in the muscles.
It is no doubt that trigger points have affected every one of us in one way or the other. The symptoms range from elbow pain from lifting heavy objects to simple headaches and nausea.
Don’t worry, though. You can manage the condition through physiotherapy. You can talk to Prime Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Services for management. Book an appointment today to talk to one of our professional therapists.