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What is a muscle knot, why does it happen and what you can do to relieve it

Updated: Aug 11, 2020

They are stiff bands of muscle that have a hard knob in the center, which is known as a trigger point. The pain can either pop up spontaneously (active) or when the trigger point is pressed (latent). But in all cases, muscle knots cause pain to radiate beyond the trigger point into the surrounding muscles.

Muscle knots, also known as myofascial trigger points, are complex and have a variety of possible causes. There is a lot more research to be conducted on the matter, but the best available evidence suggests that muscle knots are the result of overuse such as heavy lifting or repetitive activities. Other causes may include:

  • Psychological stress

  • Poor ergonomics

  • Bad posture

  • Fatigue

  • Dehydration

  • Unhealthy eating habits

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Joint problems

Once you’ve been diagnosed, the question becomes “How do I treat the muscle knot in my back/neck/shoulders, etc.?” There are several options, but the most common include:

  • Stretching

  • Chiropractic

  • Acupuncture

  • Exercise

  • Massage therapy

  • Ultrasound therapy

Whichever option you choose, the main goal is to release the trigger point to reduce pain and increase mobility by breaking up the knotted tissue and calming inflamed nerves.

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