You know when you have a muscle knot. You’ve felt it before. It’s that lump of hypersensitive tissue that seems to move under your fingers when you try to massage it out. It is tender to touch, and may even radiate pain to other areas of your body when you do.
Muscle knots aren’t only from working too hard in the yard or lifting something wrong. And they’re far more important than you ever imagined. In fact, muscle knots are the cause of 75% of all pain–both chronic and acute–and factor in to almost every type of painful condition you can experience.
That statistic may surprise you, but continue reading and you’ll soon understand why muscle knots often go unrecognized. If you suffer from chronic pain–whether it’s back pain, joint pain, headaches, or even everyday stiffness–this may be one of the most important articles you’ll ever read.
Right now I want to show you how muscle knots are caused, but most importantly, how you can fix them on your own without expensive therapy… and how this quick fix could provide you near instant, continuous relief for the rest of your life!
What Are Muscle Knots, Anyway?
Muscle knots develop when a muscle is injured or over-worked over a long period of time. They start as a few muscle fibers getting “stuck” in a permanent contraction. These sometimes microscopic knots of muscle fibers are called “trigger points.”
But that’s not all. “That small patch of knotted muscle cuts off its own blood supply, which irritates it even more,” explains massage therapist Paul Ingraham. Finally, the knot begins to radiate pain to other areas of the body, called “referred pain.”
Trigger points can grow into bigger and bigger knots as the surrounding fibers follow suit. But even when they remain small they can cause pain – often in areas far removed. This makes them difficult to find until you learn their patterns.
It’s important to recognize that repetitive motions over time are as much to blame for causing trigger points as car accidents, sports injuries or improper form during exercise. The most minor of fender benders can cause a whole system of knots and referred pain to develop… while sitting at a desk all day can do it, too.
Other causes of muscle knots include:
- Illness, disease or infection
- Systemic inflammation
- Homeostatic imbalance
- Direct trauma or injury to the area
- Other trigger points
These hypersensitive spots aren’t just annoying. They can actually cause serious long-term damage–and they may even be the primary cause of your chronic pain.
Muscle Knots are More Than Just Annoying
By definition, trigger points cause muscles and tissues to tighten and shorten. If those muscle fibers remain contracted, they can cause so much pain that you instinctively alter the way you move, sit or stand to protect yourself. You’ve then altered normal patterns of movements and are putting abnormal strain on different muscles, ligaments and joints.
By then, what was once a sore shoulder or achy lower back has thrown your entire body into dysfunction in posture and motion, causing more trigger points, joint pain, muscle imbalances, and unusual wear and tear.
It’s a vicious cycle–especially if your chronic pain is in your neck, shoulders or lower back. Since these muscles are constantly swiveling, turning and supporting heavy moving parts, they’re constantly under stress. (And our bad habits of sitting for long hours, lifting improperly and jerking suddenly don’t help!)
A Foolproof 2-Step Plan to Fix Muscle Knots
Amazingly, there are over 600 specific muscle areas where trigger points typically bunch up and start wreaking havoc. But there’s good news: they’re all the same for everyone.
There is literally an anatomical map of possible trigger points and their referred pain points that fits every person.
That’s why custom, individualized (and expensive) treatments aren’t always necessary when trigger points are the cause–and remember, 75% of the time they are!
So before you bust through your deductible visiting chiropractors, acupuncturists and medical massage therapists, give this two-step plan a try:
1. Identify where your muscle knots are.
That part is pretty easy–if you can find your muscle knots by touch, you can get them released.
If you suspect you have a muscle knot, press on the area. They usually feel like a lump of tissue that moves under your fingers when you press. It can also cause a twitch. If it’s tender, stings or causes pain in another area to increase, you’ve found your trigger point and its referral.
Of course, many trigger points are microscopic in size which means you won’t feel the knot with your fingers. But when you know where to press, you can relieve pain and tightness you’re feeling far away from that site. More on that in a moment.
2. Release the knots with firm pressure, like a deep tissue massage.
This is the step that gets a little tricky. You can have your spouse work out your knots, or visit a trained myofascial massage therapist to take care of them. The former is most likely to be ineffective, and the latter gets expensive over time.
Or you can try and work them out yourself… but the problem with using your hands or other equipment is that you actually strain other muscles (creating more knots) while trying to work out the ones you’ve already got! This is particularly true with trigger points and larger muscle knots in your shoulders and back.
So how do you release your trigger points without breaking the bank (or yourself)?
There’s a straightforward system I’ve found to be incredibly effective for releasing muscle knots and have used for years. It’s called the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System.
The System helps you identify and treat your muscle knots quickly and easily. Even the tiny trigger points you might not notice if you don’t know where to look.
And using it to relieve trigger points and full blown muscle knots couldn’t be easier. In fact, it’s as easy as lying down–because that’s all you have to do to get relief! No more straining to rub your own shoulders, or wheedling your spouse into massaging your back. All you do is set up the System, lie down and enjoy as your entire net of trigger points is pressed out one by one.
There’s much more to say about trigger points and how easy it is to treat yourself with the Trigger Point Self-Treatment System.
Click here to learn more about your own personal trigger points… other symptoms they may be causing (like restless leg syndrome, carpal tunnel or sinusitis)… and how you can treat your muscle knots–on the cheap–with the powerful yet gentle Trigger Point Self-Treatment System.
Ingraham P. Save Yourself From Trigger Points and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. 2013 May 29.