Muscle knots, also called trigger points, are tight, tense, contracted muscle fibers that have not been released. You can often feel the knots yourself, which feel hard and lumpy. They may be painful to the touch. They may cause ongoing pain even when you’re not engaging the affected muscle. Even worse, a knot in a muscle can refer pain to spread to other areas of the body. However, for many people, massage therapy can alleviate the knot and the resulting discomfort. Here’s everything you need to know about how muscle knots can be soothed with massage therapy.
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What Causes Muscle Knots?
Although knots can result from an injury, many other factors can lead to tense muscle fibers, including:
- Lack of exercise (sedentary lifestyle)
- Improper or poor posture
- Poor nutrition
- Lack of water (dehydration)
Muscle knots can develop anywhere in the body, where you have muscle or fascia (connective tissue). They form frequently in the legs and the postural muscles (neck, shoulder, back, and pelvis).
Although the knots may be painful and make you uncomfortable, in most cases they do not pose a threat to your health. However, occasionally knots are a symptom of a chronic pain condition such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, or myofascial pain syndrome. In other cases, knots in a muscle can cause painful symptoms seemingly unrelated to the hard bump in the muscle, such as headaches, earaches, or toothaches.
How Does Massage Therapy Help Knotted Muscles?
Massage therapy is a non-invasive treatment for muscle knots.The pressure applied to the muscle and the body promotes relaxation which can aid in relieving tension in the muscles.
An experienced massage therapist can recommend the best type of massage therapy to help resolve a knotted muscle. Common massage techniques that are effective at eliminating muscle knots include:
- Sports Massage
Athletes who develop knots often develop them in the muscles they use during training and competition. As such, a sports massage will focus on these specific muscles.
- Myofascial Release
Fascia is the connective tissue covering all muscles and organs. When this soft tissue becomes restricted, it can cause muscle tension that forms knots. Skin rolling and cross-handed massage techniques are used to release fascia.
- Trigger Point Therapy
Knots in the muscles are also called trigger points. These hard lumps refer pain to other areas of the body. Massage therapists apply pressure to these points during Trigger Point Therapy to release tension and improve muscle function.
- Swedish Massage
A Swedish massage promotes relaxation using long smooth massage strokes, along with kneading, and cross-fiber strokes to help release tension in the muscles.
Massage Therapy for Tense, Knotted Muscles
Located in Eugene, top-reviewed About Touch Massage & Acupuncture provides a variety of massage therapies and modalities to help you relax, recover from injuries, treat tense, stiff muscles, and improve your overall health and wellness. Book your massage appointment now or call 541-484-3055.