You probably already heard someone saying „I have a huge knot in my back.”
What does that actually mean? And what type of massage is the best if you want to get rid of knots? Let’s figure out if what you felt is a knot or just a tight muscle.
Chronic stress on our muscles can create a micro-tearing of muscle tissue which often results in scar tissue. When we injure ourselves, when we’re dehydrated or we’re spending a lot of time in front of the computer we can lose our mobility and flexibility. The muscle fibers start to stick to each other, they become adhered and that hard, lumpy feeling is called a trigger point or ‘a knot’.
What’s not a knot? Poke around in your upper back region. You’ll notice an uneven landscape – there are lumps, squidgy parts, ridges, areas that overlap, and unusual muscles. That’s normal and its part of our anatomy. Our muscles may be tight but they’re not necessarily knots.
How can you know if you have a knot?
Knots are nodules of tension – small, bump-like areas of muscles that can be painful to the touch. They occur when muscle fibers or the bands of tissue called fascia underneath them tense and tighten. Doctors classify trigger points as active or latent. If they’re active, they’re only painful if someone presses them. The pain usually spreads from the trigger point to the nearby muscles. The latent trigger points can cause pain and affect the range of motion without the touch.
Places, where muscle knots occur, include calf muscles, lower back, neck, shins, and shoulders. You might also feel jaw pain, lower back pain, ringing in the ears, and tension headaches.
What type of massage is best for knots?
A deep tissue massage works well for most people. However, this is not the type of massage to start first with. If you’ve never gone to see a massage therapist, some of the techniques might feel uncomfortable. Keep in mind that if you choose a deep tissue massage, the therapist has to unknot the muscle fibers and target those areas with pressure to get the job done.
Is the massage enough?
No therapist can remove all knots after just one massage session. You’ll probably need a few treatments. And you might feel achy the next day but those are just the toxins coming out through tissues. Make sure you drink a lot of water after the treatment.
Your therapist might also suggest a yoga class or swimming because these activities can increase suppleness and reduce tightness in the muscles.
Prevent the knots from happening in the first place
Let’s see what we can do to avoid getting those painful knots. First of all, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. If you’re spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer or staring down at a cell phone, get up once in a while (every hour) and walk around.
Try improving your posture by straightening out your back, turning your neck from side to side, and uncross the legs. Keeping your monitor in an eye-height might also help.
We are built to perform and our muscles are designed to be challenged – save their health with regular exercise. It’s also important to focus on relaxation because a life filled with stress and lack of sleep really impact our overall health.