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What is a muscle knot, why does it happen and what you can do to relieve it

We all know how painful and uncomfortable muscle knots can be, and we all have a rough idea of why we get them. It could be from sleeping weird, carrying heavy bags on your shoulder, working out at the gym or a whole host of other reasons. But what are muscle knots?

Well to put it simply, muscle knots are small, bump-like areas of muscle that can be painful to the touch. These knots occur when muscle fibers tense and tighten. The medical term for muscle knots is myofascial trigger points.

Muscle knots can develop anywhere in the body at any time. It is generally a small hard lump that causes intense pain when pressed. Chronic stress on our muscles creates micro-tearing of muscle tissue, which creates scar tissue.

The places where muscle knots commonly occur include:

  • calf muscles

  • lower back

  • neck

  • shins

  • shoulders

  • trapezius

The trapezius muscle is the most common source of muscle knots in the body. This muscle makes a triangle-like shape from the neck to the middle of the back and the shoulder and knots in the trapezius muscles often occur due to stress and poor posture.

Muscle knots do not only just affect the area surrounding the knot but it can also include other symptoms that you may not think have anything to do with the knot.

These symptoms include:

  • jaw pain

  • lower back pain

  • ringing in the ears

  • tension headache

Repeated muscle trauma, or repetitive stress syndrome, is also a cause of muscle knots. This is most usually found in sports men and women e.g.: Swimmers, Baseball players, Cricketers, Footballers etc. But it is not just sports professionals that repetitive stress syndrome can affect.

The most common causes of muscle knots in non-sport professionals include:

  • Stress and tension

  • Injuries related to lifting and repetitive motion

  • Poor posture

  • Prolonged bed rest or sitting without stretching

This list is a reflection of the lifestyle most people live. There is the stress from our jobs and private lives that can be a huge contribution to the muscle knots we mostly suffer from.

Here are some recommendations on how to avoid getting muscle knots in the first place:

  • Diet and hydration

  • Take breaks

  • Exercise

  • Massage

Muscle knots can often be treated with simple home remedies, massage and stretching. However, some knots can be painful enough to interfere with everyday life and the activities an individual would like to partake in. If this is the case, you should see your doctor for treatment.

#health #massage