After a long day of work or exercise, we have all encountered feeling tension around our shoulders or found the pain coming from a particular ‘lump’ in the muscle. These lumps, known as muscle knots, are a result of entangled muscle fibers that are bunched together and unable to relax. The tissue becomes hypoxic, or oxygen deprived. Preceding the actual knot is an adhesion. An adhesion is fibrous tissue that develops from a small tear in the muscle, tendon or ligament.
Knots and adhesions develop in three ways:
1) Acute injury or trauma.
2) Overuse or repetitive motion injury. i.e. typing or mousing at the desk
3) Constant Pressure / Tension for extended periods of time. i.e. poor posture
Normally, muscles are able to function best when they are well nourished and have proper blood circulation. As we get stressed or overworked, certain muscle fibers cluster together and form a knot. While these knots are initially harmless, they can eventually become painful. This pain is referred to as a myofascial trigger point. It often takes up to 3 months before a knot actually develops. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of these knots and prevent them from coming back.
1) Massage: One of the most common ways to relieve aches from knots is to massage the knot out with your hands or to use a foam roller. A foam roller is a long, firm cylinder that can be used to massage the knots with the pressure of your own body weight. Using the foam roller is an inexpensive yet highly effective method to reduce the tension in your body.
2) Active Release Technique: Like massage, ART breaks up knots and adhesions. It is done with direct tension and very specific movements.
3) Technica Gavilan: This is a soft tissue technique that utilizes instruments to increase the rate of blood flow to and from damaged connective tissues and muscle fibers to aid in restoration.
4) Proper Nutrition: Low potassium levels contribute to the formation of muscle knots or tension. Because bananas have a high source of potassium, including them in your diet will be an excellent way to prevent muscle cramps or adhesions. Other potassium rich foods include: avocados, dried apricots, pistachios and fish.
5) Heat: Applying heat to the affected muscle can help loosen and release the knot.
6) Exercise and stretching: Stretching is an excellent way to relieve muscle tension. It’s a good habit to stretch every day, especially before and after a workout.
It is inevitable that you will experience periodic muscle knots. Through adequate treatment, proper diet, and exercise, you can help get rid of the knots naturally. If you have knots in your muscles from stress, work, poor posture or from working out, make an appointment
with local message therapist or chiropractor who specializes in sport injuries or is certified in ART, Graston, Technica Galvan.
In good health,