Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Muscle knots are those kinks in your back and the tight, ropy strands in your neck. Also known as trigger points, they are areas where your muscles have tensed up and refused to let go, hyper-irritable spots in muscle or fascial tissue (connective tissue) known as myofascial trigger points.
A trigger point is a muscle spasm — a signal from the brain saying, I’m not sure what to do, so I’m going to freak out and be tight! If left the muscle pain can radiate and spread to other areas. You may feel pain in other muscles which are not the site of the trigger point.
Trigger points form as a result of repetitive activity. That might be something like swinging a tennis racket over and over, or – for many of us – hunching over our desks and pounding the keyboard day in and day out. The body can endure a lot of stress, but we weren’t designed to do the same activity over and over, every day. Those tight spots are cries for help
Knots are comprised of tense muscle fibres. Trigger points typically fall into one of two categories:
Active: These active trigger points produce intense pain in the body
Latent/hidden: You don't feel pain from these latent/dormant trigger points unless you press on them, resulting in tenderness or a dull aching sensation
Myofascial trigger points can develop anywhere in the body where there is muscle or fascia.
There are several factors that can lead to painful trigger points, including:
Injuries from overuse, heavy lifting or repetitive motions
Poor posture, which often results from a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise
Tension from mental and emotional stress
Direct injury such as a break, strain, tear, twist or strain
Prolonged sitting or bed rest
So what can you do about them? Come and see me! Or your nearest clinical massage therapist. Techniques I use to release these trigger points are
Trigger point therapy
Deep Tissue Massage