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What Are Muscle Knots (And Can Massage Help You Feel Better)?

by | Jun 29, 2022 | Natural Health

what are muscle knots

They crunch. They rattle. They roll. They seize up after a hard workout or when you sit at your desk all day.

And no matter how hard you try to relax, they never seem to go away.

You’ve heard them called “knots” in your muscles, but is that an accurate description? Do your muscles actually get tangled, twisted, or knotted? Exactly what are muscle knots, anyway?

Keep reading as we explain what those pesky knots are, why they form, and — most importantly — how you can find relief from muscular pain.

What Are Muscle Knots?

First, let’s address the most obvious question: Do those little bumps in your muscles mean they’re actually knotted?

No. The medical term for muscle knots is myofascial trigger points, but there are no literal knots in your muscle fibers.

What it does mean is that, for a variety of reasons, certain parts of your muscle become hypersensitive. The muscle tightens and contracts even when you’re not actively using it, forming that little nodule that feels like a knot.

As a result, you experience either direct pain on the knot or referred pain to nearby muscles (or both). For example, muscle knots in the shoulder can contribute to headaches, jaw pain, or tingling in your arm. You may also notice a limited range of motion in the affected area.

You can develop muscle knots almost anywhere in your body, but the most common areas are the back, neck, shoulders, glutes, and calves.

Why Do We Get Knots in Our Muscles?

Muscle knots can develop for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Overusing or injuring the muscle
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Poor posture (i.e., sitting at a desk all day)
  • Emotional stress or trauma
  • Dehydration or poor eating habits

Interestingly, muscle knots don’t show up on medical scans. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes trigger points to develop. The most common theories are reduced blood flow or nerve irritation caused by muscle spasms.

Ironically, this can occur from either too much or too little activity. Athletes may develop muscle knots after a hard training session, while students or office workers can develop them from sitting too much.

Can Massage Get Rid of Knots?

Firm pressure, like the kind you experience during a deep tissue massage, may encourage your muscles to relax. A therapist who’s trained in trigger point therapy can also use targeted massage techniques to “calm” those hypersensitive spots.

Of course, one or two massages can’t undo years of sports injuries or poor posture. However, regular massages will help to manage your aches and pains and restore normal muscle function.

When combined with other healthy lifestyle choices — regular exercise, a nutritious diet, daily stretching, and a good self-care regimen — massage is one more weapon in your arsenal to help you combat those annoying muscle knots.

Get Relief From Muscle Pain at Simply Massage

So then, what are muscle knots?

Simply put, they’re tense, sensitive muscle fibers that can (quite literally) be a pain in the butt. The good news is that your muscles aren’t actually knotted or damaged, so you don’t have to worry about that.

Still, it’s natural to want relief from painful muscle spasms, especially when they’re interfering with your ability to work or play. The skilled therapists at Simply Massage know specific techniques to calm those “trigger points” and help your muscles to relax.

Don’t sit there in pain any longer. Call us at 970-748-1600 or book your session online today.