You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
Muscle Knots: What Are They?
Muscle knots are sensitive, hard muscle areas that contract and tighten even when they are at rest. The muscle fibers are tense and causes pain within other bodily parts especially when they are touched. Muscle knots are also called trigger points.
Muscle knots form due to a variety of reasons. They might be caused by poor posture, by a sedentary lifestyle, or by injuring and overusing the muscles. Other factors that might contribute to muscle knots include unhealthy diets, dehydration, anxiety, and stress.
Trigger points can occur at any section of the body. However, they usually appear in the neck, back, and shoulders. They are common in gluteal muscles as well.
They can result to pain and aches within muscles and joints. And when muscle knots are touched, a person might feel something that’s tense, swollen, or bumpy. Even when you’re relaxes, muscle knots feel contracted and tight and they’re usually sensitive to one’s touch. The area affected might also become swollen or inflamed.
Muscle knots can lead to a variety of symptoms. And these symptoms might even affect other areas of the body. These include earaches, toothaches, and headaches. If you have muscle knots you might also experience depression, anxiety, stress, and difficulty sleeping.
How Do You Treat Muscle Knots?
Treatment for muscle knots require a long period of time. In order to eliminate the knots, you have to break up your knotted tissue and soothe your inflamed nerves. Here are some suggestions to help you get rid of these tense muscles:
Hot And Cold Therapy
You can combine both heat and cold in order to experience pain relief and calm inflammation caused by muscle knots.
Cold temperatures are used to reduce swelling because the blood vessels are constricted. You can try cold compress and apply it for 10 minutes. After which, remove it for about 15 minutes. Repeat the steps over again until you feel relief.
Heat, on the other hand, causes stiff muscles to relax and loosen up. It also promotes pain relief. Heat also helps to improve blood circulation which hastens up the healing process. In order to apply heat therapy, you can try a heating pad or even soak yourself in a warm bath.
It is best to alternate in between hot and cold treatments. Or, you can choose which one is best for you depending on your results. It is advised to use hot and cold therapy along with other methods of therapy.
Obviously, if you suffer from muscle knots, you should take the time to rest. Don’t do any activities that might be contributing to the knots. You should also stop activities that cause discomfort or pain.
As much as possible, you should dedicate a lot of time to relaxation. This includes sleeping for longer hours. It might also include laying down in comfortable positions and might involve the use of pillow for support.
To relieve yourself of muscle knots, you can try aerobic exercise. If knots are within your neck and shoulders, you can do swimming, jumping jacks, and other arm exercises that involve the muscles within these areas. Exercise can help to stretch the muscles and improve blood circulation. With increased blood flow, toxins are eliminated as well.
To relax and soften muscle knots, you can use muscle rubs. Massage muscle rubs onto areas with muscle knots 2x a day for relief. In hard-to-reach areas, you can have another person apply the muscle rubs for you.
It is best to use a formula that has capsaicin, menthol, or camphor. However, before applying the muscle rub, you should first perform a patch test. To do this, you simply apply very small amounts to your forearm. You should wait for at least 24 hours to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions to it.
Perform gentle stretches that elongate muscles and reduce tension. However, don’t overstretch or force yourself in positions that might cause you to feel pain. It is recommended that you hold your stretches for about 30 seconds or more. Release slowly to avoid injury.
If your case is serious, it is suggested that you try physical therapy. The therapists might help you determine the root cause of the muscle knots. They will also give you the best possible treatments customized to your needs. In addition, the physical therapist will teach you various techniques to help prevent or reduce pain in case you experience it.
Pressure Release Of Trigger Points
This is done through the application of pressure within areas of trigger points. Professional practitioners will apply the pressure on the knots until it breaks up, softens, and releases. After completion of a session, you will be advised to do a set of movements at home. These movements will allow you to retrain the muscles.
Massage Therapy And Muscle Knots
To treat your knots, you can also opt for massage therapy. The said technique helps to improve blood circulation which results to loosening of the muscles and improving of your muscle function. Thus, stiffness and pain is relieved.
You do have to remember that a single session won’t do much for your muscle knots. You most likely need frequent therapy sessions. Once you begin to notice results, you can space out more of your massage sessions.
There are various types of massage that are good for muscle knots. The specific type of massage that will be best for you depends on your preferences and the severity of your condition. You might have to try different types before you actually choose one that you prefer.
There are cases wherein you can massage your muscle knots yourself. Simply find where the muscle knot is located and utilize your fingers to massage it gently.
When massaging, try your best to focus on relieving tension and loosening up the muscle fibers. Press your fingers firmly onto the muscle knot and perform small circles. If you have knots on your back, you can use a tennis ball and roll back and forth on the wall or on the floor. You can also utilize foam rollers if you wish to do so.
This massage technique is suitable if you have built-up tension within your body. It can be good for those who are sensitive towards touch as well. Swedish massages utilize kneading, circular movements, and long strokes to relax the patient. In addition, tapping and vibration might also be used on the client.
Deep Tissue Massage
This massage technique utilizes forceful strokes to liberate built-up tension within muscles. The main focus of deep tissue massage include the person’s connective tissues and deep muscle layers. This technique is commonly used to treat muscle damage caused by injuries.
This is used especially for athletes. The purpose of a sports massage is to prevent injuries. Treatment of muscle damage and injuries are also some benefits you can derive from sports massages.
When Do You Need Help?
When muscle knots are left untreated, it can lead to chronic, uncomfortable pain. It can also result to other types of health issues. If you have various measures to relieve your pain and it still persists, then it’s best to check with a medical professional. If you are experiencing extreme pain, you have to consult with a doctor. This is true especially if the pain is affecting your daily activities.
There is a possibility wherein what appears to be a muscle knot is actually something else like that of a swollen lymph node. Usually swollen lymph nodes are accompanied by symptoms such as cough, colds, and infections.
It is best to check with a physician, osteopath, or physical therapist if you wish to ensure that a muscle knot is actually what it appears to be. These medical professionals might be able to find the underlying cause of the pain.
Preventing Muscle Knots From Forming
There are several methods you can implement to prevent muscle knots from forming. These include the following:
- Getting a lot of rest.
- Exercising regularly.
- Practicing good posture. You should avoid slouching when you are sitting.
- When exercising, don’t skip warm-ups and cool-downs. In addition, avoid over-exerting yourself. Do not lift weights that are too heavy and do not run too fast. Injuries can cause muscle knots.
- Avoid sitting for a lengthy period of time. Get up at least once an hour.
- Stretch throughout your day. It helps prevent muscles from tightening.
- Implement a healthy diet. Take in foods that are high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, drink lots of water daily. Avoid processed foods and eat fresh foods instead.
- Try getting massage therapy regularly. This will keep your body, including your muscles, relaxed and healthy.
Muscle knots cannot be avoided. However, you can implement prevention measures in order to avoid formation of knots within your body. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, try massage therapy. Various techniques can be used to loosen your muscle knots and release your body of toxins.