Muscle knots are hard, sensitive areas of muscles that tighten and contract, even when the muscle is at rest. These tense muscle fibers can cause pain in other parts of the body when touched. If left untreated, a muscle knot can cause increased pain over time. This can lead to the development of poor habits, such as poor posture, which can cause even more severe conditions.
What Causes Knots in Your Muscles?
Muscle knots are spots of muscle and fascial tissue that are more irritable than usual, and are often referred to as myofascial trigger points. Pain experts categorize trigger points into two different categories, latent and active. Latent trigger points don’t cause any pain when left alone, but pressing down on the spot can cause a dull ache or tender pain, like a soft bruise. Active trigger points produce intense pain regardless of present pressure, similar to chronic pain.
Any area of the body that has muscle or fascial tissue can contain trigger points. The most common area of trigger points are the low back, calves, neck, shoulder, shins and IT band area.
There are several reasons why muscle knots can develop, some are:
- Poor posture due to a sedentary lifestyle
- Injuries from repetitive motions or heavy lifting
- Direct injuries such as blunt force trauma, muscle tears, strain, or breaking
- Unaddressed mental health concerns that cause overwhelming amounts of mental or emotional stress
How to Treat a Muscle Knot
For most people, muscle knots are simply uncomfortable and often loosen up with some light massage, stretching, and a more active lifestyle. For some, a muscle knot can cause enough pain to interfere with daily activities. While muscle knots are common, they are not completely harmless. If a muscle knot is severe enough to cause intense pain, the knot may be tearing at microfibers of muscle tissue. With time, this tearing can cause scarring, causing the tissue to lose its elasticity. There are several options for treating muscle knots ranging from stretching and physical therapy, to more involved treatments such as electrostimulation, pulsed ultrasound, and low-level laser therapy.
Pain Specialty Group can help find the pain treatment best for you. It is not uncommon for pain from muscle knots to be associated with other conditions. Schedule an appointment here at Pain Specialty Group to learn more about how to treat your pain.