What Are Muscle Knots?
You've heard the saying, heck, you've probably said it before yourself. But what is it really?
Knots are areas of tense tissues. Have you ever determined the texture of a steak by touching your thumb to either of your fingers? The thumb and index finger "feel" like a rare steak while the thumb and pinky finger "feel" like a well-done steak. Well, I use this method to determine the tension within muscle tissue as well.
A "well-done" muscle is indicative of a knot, or rather, increased tension in the muscle or connective tissues like fascia. These knots, or, more technically named, myofascial trigger points, usually fall in to one of two categories: active and latent.
Active knots are trigger points that produce pain in the body, either local or referred pain, while latent knots do not cause pain unless pressure is applied. Both are quite common and I'm always being told "you're finding knots in places I didn't even know!" from my clients!
These knots can be found anywhere in the body where there is skeletal muscle or fascia but some more common areas are: 1. the neck and shoulders; 2. the mid back and between the shoulder blades; 3. the lower back and the top of the gluteal muscles; 4. the IT band; 5. the shins and calves; and 6. the bottoms of the feet.
There are several factors that could lead to knots which include, but are not limited to, 1. overuse or repetitive motions; 2. poor posture when standing, sitting or sleeping; 3. mental and emotional stress; and 4. direct injury such as a fracture or sprain.
If you think you may have a knot or two in your body, what can you do about it? Well, you could seek treatment from a massage therapist or physiotherapist, or your friendly neighbourhood manual osteopath.
If in treatment I find a point of tension in your body I will use a variety of techniques to decrease the tension. Some of these techniques include soft tissue therapy, muscle energy technique, active release treatment, identifying and releasing fascial restrictions, joint mobilizations, and cupping therapy. We will also identify and correct any pelvic misalignments and compensation patterns, as well as identify and correct any postural issues.
Are you suffering from a muscle knot? Osteopathy is a great option to help relieve the pain that comes with it!