As Therapists we often hear clients us the term "Muscle knot", They may say things such as "I have a huge knot in my back muscles" or "I'm so knotted up!" But what does this actually mean? Can a muscle actually get tied into knots? The honest answer is, No Not at all.
Let me explain a little about muscular tissue. Muscle fibres run in a variety of directions within the body and are layered upon each other starting from the top of the head to the soles of the feet. This is a good thing and is very protective, it is also the reason we can bend over, dance, twist or play sports. Out muscles were designed to be pliable, strong and challenged. However, when we sit on a Laptop or computer all day and in the same position and if we injure ourselves or get chronically dehydrated, we can lose our mobility and flexibility. This can result in the various muscle fibres sticking to each other and becoming adhered. This new hard lumpy feeling is a muscle "Knot".
Muscle "Knots" are incredibly common but does not mean they are normal or harmless. Chronic stress on the muscular system creates micro-tearing of muscle tissue, which results in scar tissue being formed. Unfortunately, if left untreated, the muscle tissue will continue to lose elasticity and cause postural stress that is harder to reverse. Don't worry though, as there are lots of things you can do to treat and prevent muscle knots.
Prevention is better than cure! How to avoid getting muscle knots:
Diet and hydration - Drink adequate amounts of fluid during the day, water ideally and eat a healthy wholesome diet. Foods such as alcohol, sugary, caffeinated drinks, processed and fast foods all play a part in dehydrating the body. If you are careful about what you consume you are less likely to succumb to the bodily effects of muscle injury.
Take regular breaks - If you are one of those individuals who spends a lot of their day sitting in front of a computer or staring down at a phone or tablet rest assured you are not alone and it is a modern day issue. However, our bodies were not designed to be in these positions for long periods of time and cannot handle it. Therefore, every hour whilst at work, get up and walk around. Go outside and grab some fresh air for 5 minutes and stretch. Even whilst seated at your desk, straighten your back, turn your neck from side to side, uncross your legs, and move as much as you can.
Massage - As a society and gauging my clients views on Massage, I've come to realise that massage is no longer viewed as some occasional luxurious treat saved for the upper echelons in society or vacations and spa breaks. But that Massage Therapy is beneficial to all and should be part of a regular self-help and self-care routine as a means of keeping your muscles healthy, pliable and oxygenated.
Lifestyle - A life filled with stress and lack of sleep is a perfect combination for injury. Slow down, get more sleep, and breathe. Even as little as 15 minutes per day of focused relaxation or meditation can make a world of difference.
Treatment - How to treat muscle knots already present:
Rest - If you're in pain, it is your bodies way of alerting you to take it easy. Maybe at this point you could take a few days away from the computer or a few days away from the spin classes or gym workouts and just take a well-needed break from whatever is contributing to or causing the pain.
Massage - Massage therapy is not only a great preventative but a good clinical massage therapist can help to alleviate the muscle pain, break up the adhesions, and recommend self-care that you can do on your own.
Stretching - Gentle movements by going through your full range of motion can be very helpful. Do not push stretches too hard without discussing first with a physiotherapist, massage therapist or personal trainer. You can over-stretch and just and just because a muscle is hurting, it doesn't mean it needs to be elongated. Sometimes the opposite is true. However, gentle, full-body movement is usually a good idea as long as it is pain-free.
So, move around. go to bed a little earlier, drink more water and get a massage. Book here by calling: 07984525731 Your body will thank you for it!