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  • Writer's pictureLisa "Koz", LMT

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

Muscle "knots" happen to many people and we don't think much about them until they become an issue. These areas of muscle that are stuck in a continuous firing cycle can be painful, radiate, and can create issues related to trying to "baby" that area to keep the pain down.

There are plenty of things that can create these muscle "knots";

  • Dehydration

  • Poor diet

  • Sedentary lifestyle/periods

  • Misuse/overuse or Injury to the muscle

  • Poor posture

  • Stress and anxiety

The good news is there are plenty of things that you can do to help these "knots" resolve. Obviously this isn't an exhaustive list but it gives you a start;

  • I can't help but point out the obvious that as a massage therapist we have plenty of techniques to help you to deal with and get relief from muscle "knots" and trigger points!

  • Exercise, get those muscles moving and stretching, if the muscles are in your shoulders, do jumping jacks, etc.. Aerobic exercise can potentially help relieve those that are present and prevent more from happening by increasing oxygenation to the tissues and muscles.

  • Using a tennis ball or "trigger point cane" type device to help put pressure on the area that contains the "knot". What this does is create ischemia to the area to help stop the continuous cycle and let the muscle "reset". You can have someone help you or use a wall with the tennis ball and just put continuous pressure until the muscle relaxes and the pain decreases. If the pain radiates sometimes means you are on a true "trigger point" and pressure generally works very well with those types of "knots"

  • HYDRATION, staying hydrated is just an overall good habit to be in for overall support of MANY systems. The muscular system can be very sensitive to chemical imbalances caused by dehydration. Staying hydrated can help to keep this issue from happening as often and can potentially help it relieve faster as you do the other suggestions listed here.

  • Hot and cold, alternating between the two can help to relieve excessive inflammation and then flood the area with good fresh blood flow as you engage the heat aspect of the two. Cold for 10-15 minutes can help to constrict the blood vessels, decrease excess inflammation and ease pain in the process. Take a break for 15-20 minutes and then you can add heat to help relax the muscle and bring fresh circulation to the area to help it to heal and repair. A warm bath with Epsom salts can also help.

  • There are plenty of essential oils that can be added to most of these regimens to help support muscular health, natural and healthy inflammation levels, support pain receptors while calming and soothing tissues, muscles and mind. If you are curious which essential oils I recommend, feel free to contact me and we can chat as to what would work best for you and your situation.

  • Sleep and rest are HUGE for muscle repair and regeneration. Letting your body heal by giving it plenty of rest is a good practice. Along with that is HOW you sleep. Many people with upper back, neck and head muscular issues can bring part of that issue to HOW they sleep. How high or low is your pillow? Is your neck inline or always at an angle. Sleeping on your back allows for easier ability to keep in alignment, if you are a side or stomach sleeper, do you frequently find yourself waking up sore or stiff? You may want to start looking here to help prevent more "knots" in the future.

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