What is a Knotted Muscle...?
By Anne Marie Allen
We’ve all had knotted muscles but do you know what they really are and are they actually knotted?
A muscle is made up of lots of tiny fibres when these fibres become compressed and stick to each they become tight and go into spasm, the spasm can be a series of small contractions or a prolonged contraction, however due to the compressed nature of the fibres they are unable to release themselves.
Blood flow to the knotted area is restricted new nutrients can’t get in and metabolic waste builds up causing soreness and pain.
In a bid to stop the pain the muscle is given a signal by the brain to rest, with underuse the muscle starts to shorten and tighten up.
Are you tied up in knots?
So what causes knots?
There are many things which can cause a person to develop a knot but the most common reasons for developing a knot are:
• accident or injury
• over use – exercise, weight lifting etc
• stress on the body – due to posture, repetitive movement, long time in the same position
• sedentary lifestyle
There are a few things you to do to help prevent knots such as:
• stretching and relaxation – the gentle stretching in a yoga class would be good
• maintain a good posture
• exercise - trying to remember to stretch before and afterwards
• B vitamins potassium and calcium – our Nutritionist Helen Duffy can help you to find out if you are low on any vitamins or mineral and advise you what foods to eat to up your intake
• stop smoking
• keep moving don’t stay in the same position for too long
• eat a healthy diet
• stay hydrated
• plenty of regular sleep
• avoid holding your phone with your shoulder use your hand or an ear piece
• lighten your bag
Already Knotty? How can you get rid of your knots?
• Stretching - helps to reduce and avoid knots
• Massage - a massage brings new blood to the affected area the new blood brings with it a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients and also takes away the build up of toxins that has accumulated. The massage will also help the muscle fibres to relax and loosen so that they move again
• Yoga – gentle stretching during yoga can be good at helping to reduce and avoid knots
Where else can they cause pain?
A knot doesn’t just cause a pain where it’s developed knots, whats known as Myofascial Trigger Points can cause pain in other places known as referred pain for example:
• neck and jaw pain
• lower back pain
• symptoms of carpal tunnel
• joint pain
• ligament injury
• due to the pain they cause knots can also contribute to depression
• and can cause reduced mobility