What it a “knot” aka that thing stuck in my shoulder?

We feel them every day. Ever time we reach up or down, bend to pick up something, a little pull or pinch. A tightness in an area of our body. A knot.

What is a knot?
A knot is actually called myofascial trigger point. It’s a muscle that had gone into a spasm either due to injury, overuse, or a sedentary lifestyle. With such activities as weight lifting, running, typing, or any type of exercise the muscle goes through a series of off and on cycles. When a knot develops the muscle remains “stuck” in that on, or tense state. It all means that something triggers a muscle and it never relaxed. Studies have shown connections to an abnormal build up of protein after a release of lactic acid. But other studies suggest that lactic acid has little do due with the development of trigger points. The most common cause of these muscle knots is a sedentary lifestyle containing short bursts of activity.

How can you heal a knot?
Potassium and calcium help to prevent muscle knots, and remaining hydrated can work wonders. Because they are caused by inflammation in the muscle, taking a NSAID drug like ibuprofen will help with the pain. Ice can sometimes help with the inflammation. If you have only a few knots, the very best way to encourage them to go away is to massage them. I often take a trigger point ball , or lacrosse ball and roll it between my knot and a wall. You’ll want to try and stay inside the “good pain range”. It should feel like your doing some good deep work, not damage. Massage over a period of days can help reduce inflammation and retrain your muscles to be able to turn on and off again. If you have numerous or very painful muscle knots, the best thing you can do is see a licensed massage therapist.

 

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