As a Physio, we are often asked what are muscle knots or trigger spots, why we get them and how to get rid of them?

What are Muscle Knots?

The muscle knots are called trigger points.  They are areas within a muscle that don’t fully relax and the muscle fibres in the knot stay in a contracted or shortened state.  When the trigger spots are pressed firmly, they are normally acutely painful on the spot and commonly radiate out to specific areas in the body.  The ones in your shoulder can refer up your neck or down you arm.  The ones in your bottom muscles, can refer all the way down the leg and resemble “Sciatica”.  When you massage a muscle with trigger spots, you can feel a  band of tightness that has a point  that is painful when pressed.

What Causes Knots in Muscles?

The most common causes of trigger spots are:

  • Trauma to the muscle
  • Repetitive work or overload (desk job or athletes)
  • Poor posture with specific activity which can reduce the blood flow to parts of the muscle which are held in a bad position
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Immobilisation of an area such as being in a cast for a broken bone
  • Neurological Conditions such as stroke
  • Trauma to the nerve that supplies the muscle
  • Other factors such as being cold, exposure to a draft, fatigue

The knots in the muscle can cause the muscle to tighten and be the prime cause of common problems such as tension headaches. If you want to learn more about muscle trigger spots that can refer to cause headaches click here.

How to get rid of knots in muscles?

  • Rest from an activity if you can feel your muscles tightening and try to stretch the area
  • Cold packs or heat packs can help
  • Massage the muscle of use a massage ball to apply pressure directly to the point.  You need to take some care here though or you will end up feeling bruised and sore.
  • Seek treatment from a physio or Sports Massage therapist.  Therapists use a variety of techniques to relieve the tension in the knotty muscle such a local trigger point pressure, dry needling and myofacial release. These techniques need to be followed up with stretches and exercises to get sufficient long term relief.

If you think you need treatment to relieve pain from trigger spots we are here to help.  Call 847 2043 or book online now.

by Physiotherapist, Sandy Woolman