The Dreaded Muscle Knot
Stiffness, tenderness, and pinching, muscle knots can be a real pain in the neck…or back, or hamstring (you get the picture) for many of those who suffer with them. But, what exactly is a muscle knot, and more importantly, how can we treat them in order to find some relief?
Sometimes referred to as myofascial trigger points, muscle knots are due to the binding, or adhesion of our muscle fibers and fascia (the tissue surrounding our muscles fibers), creating a localized area of pain and restriction that can impair everyday life. While muscle knots can be attributed to a single event, such as an injury, they can also be the result of routine actions, such as sitting at a computer, hunching over a cell phone, inactivity, or poor posture.
Further broken down into latent muscle knots, which are those that only cause pain when pressure is applied, and active trigger points, which actively refer pain along your neural pathways, both these local areas of tensed muscle lead can contribute to not only muscle inactivity but also other conditions such as migraines, visual disturbances, tinnitus, joint pain as well as pain experienced in other areas of the body (1, 2).
Stretching, improving posture, exercise, proper nutrition, adequate hydration as well as massage are all excellent strategies that can help to loosen up tight muscle tissue and reduce muscle knots. One therapy that I have found to be an excellent way to help treat trigger points is acupuncture. Research evaluating the use of this modality indicates its effectiveness at reducing chronic pain associated with these areas of tension, and may be an excellent strategy to use in isolation or in combination with other healthcare techniques aimed at reducing muscle knots (3, 4).
Make an appointment today with myself, Dr. Linda Shih, ND, for more information on chronic pain and how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine may be able to help you live pain free.