Have you ever had muscle knots before?
We’re willing to bet that you have.
It’s that moment when you feel an acute pain somewhere in your muscles, usually out of nowhere, that can sometimes feel like the sharp tip of a knife is digging right into you.
The worst part about them is that if left alone, this pain can sometimes linger for weeks or months on end.
They also can end up causing other seemingly unrelated issues, like an increase in headaches from muscle knots in your neck/shoulders.
With the amount of grief that you can experience from muscle knots it’s really important to know what they actually are, where they come from, and what to do about them.
What Exactly Are Muscle Knots?
The official term for muscle knots is myofascial trigger points or MTPS for short.
What that means is that the muscular tissue in that particular area is irritated, inflamed, and all bunched up—leading to decreased blood flow and pain in that area.
They’re called muscle knots because when you press down on the area, it literally feels like there is a little bump or knot inside of your muscle.
While they can range in size, usually from a dime to a quarter in circumference, you will definitely know exactly where the pain is coming from by simply pressing your fingers down on the spot that’s hurting and finding that bump.
Where Do Muscle Knots Come From?
The thing is, nobody is exactly sure where muscle knots come from. But over the years we’ve noticed that there are 4 primary things that people do that cause muscle knots.
1. Poor posture
Now-a-days, many people sit down too much. People sit in front of a computer at work, sit in front of a TV at home, and sit down in a car or bus or train in-between the two.
All of this sitting is terrible for your body in general but when you add slouching to the mix it leads to all sorts of problems.
Slouching causes undue stress on your shoulders and neck muscles, while also bending your spine, leading to muscular imbalances and knots all over your back.
2. Overuse of muscles
It’s important to live an active lifestyle and train your body regularly.
But training the same muscle groups too often leads to a lot of muscular tension and aggravation that can lead to muscle knots. It’s important to train often, but it’s also important to rest and let your body recover properly.
It's also extremely important to develop and incorporate a proper stretching routine to help ease tension out of your muscles.
Getting injured sucks. It goes without saying that if you really hurt a muscle group, by straining or tearing it, you can count on muscle knots forming there due to the injury as well.
Also, it’s important to recognize that often when you injure yourself you will start to overuse other muscles to make up for the injured section. This overuse then leads to the development of muscle knots in your healthy areas.
When you’re stressed out or anxious, you are going to be involuntarily tensed up all of the time. If your emotions are wound up like a spring, then your body is going to be all wound up too.
All of this mental stress then causes real physical stress and problems throughout your body, such as muscle knots, which cause you a lot of pain and more stress.
What Can You Do About Muscle Knots?
While muscle knots are annoying and awful to deal with, the good news is that they are largely self-treatable.
The most important thing is to first figure out what you think is causing your muscle knots to appear in the first place.
Are you stressed out? Are you overusing your muscles? Do you have bad posture?
Once you figure out the cause, by working on eliminating that cause it will help you a lot down the road with preventing this from happening in the future.
But if you already have muscle knots, how do you get rid of them?
The best way to get rid of muscle knots is through massage.
You can either go to a professional masseuse (this can get quite expensive though), have a significant other do it for you (you need one of those first), or just do it yourself.
The three best things to help you get rid of muscle knots by yourself are tennis balls, lacrosse balls, and foam rollers.
For using tennis or lacrosse balls, it’s really quite simple.
Lay down on the floor and position the ball in the area that is causing you pain. Then gradually apply body weight and pressure to the area while rolling the ball around.
You’ll know when you’re massaging the right area. Trust us on that.
With a foam roller, it’s basically the same thing, it is just used for larger areas. While lacrosse balls are great for your shoulders, foam rollers are great for your legs and lower back.
Simply massage your muscle knots a few times a day until they loosen up and disappear. This can take a few days or sometimes a few weeks depending on the severity of the muscle knot.
If you have any tips for things that have worked for fixing muscle knots for yourself, leave a comment and let us know!
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