How to untie the knot?

May 13, 2024

Knots in your muscles are always sore and frustrating, our sports massage therapist Cesar is here to help you learn more about these knots and how to help them!

How to untie the knot?

Ouch! That feeling again when you get another knot in your back. Most of us ask ourselves why those knots happen to us. What are they? What can I do to get rid of them? These knots are known for making you uncomfortable but are part of your health history. Here, we will share some answers about how to untie and get rid of knots. Let us begin by answering some questions. 

 What is a knot? 

Knots are known by various names such as trigger points, myofascial points, tender points, or hyperirritable spots. The points usually are presented in the muscle areas as palpable nodules, known as knots. The typical locations include the mid back, upper neck, shoulders, or legs. However, trigger points can occur anywhere in skeletal muscle. A tender point is an isolated point of pain located in the muscle belly, and you know when you get one, it feels different from the rest of the muscle fibres. Note that there is no official diagnostic test for trigger points. The best way to get a proper diagnosis for trigger points is based on your health history paired with palpatory exam findings of your health care provider, massage therapist, chiropractor, or physiotherapist.  

Why do I get trigger points? 

Generally speaking, the reason is unknown. But there are many theories as to why these manifest—for example, muscle restrictions, overused muscles, problems with blood flow, or tissue perfusion. In my experience, a trigger point can be associated with injuries or pathologies. These can arise and cause pain from muscular weakness, neck pain, back pain, nerve irritation, nerve damage, joint hypermobility, joint hypomobility, postural faults, sleep issues, stress, or stress-related disorders. Luckily, trigger points are benign, but if these points persist, they could impact your daily functioning. 

How do we treat trigger points?  

There are various ways to treat a trigger point. For example, manual therapy techniques can be used to address trigger points locally and regionally. Treating a trigger point locally means you apply direct pressure to the knot. Treating a trigger point regionally means you are addressing the root cause above or below the area involved. Another way to treat trigger points is by doing joint mobilization and adding resistance. This technique gives you more flexibility and improves your function by releasing the compressed trigger point. Another way to treat trigger points is by doing trigger point release (TPR). Although this can sometimes be uncomfortable because you are applying ischemic compression, it is instant, effective, and decreases local pain. Other adjunctive treatments, such as dry needling and Kinesio taping, may help with trigger point pain in conjunction with exercise, education, and other manual therapy interventions. 

In conclusion 

This narrative aims to highlight the nature of and treatment of trigger points. This is a common complaint that we see in the clinic and impacts many people daily. Hopefully this information sheds some light on this challenging issue. If you have any questions about this or any other topic, feel free to contact us or book an appointment with us!