Everyone of us has suffered from "knots" or "trigger points": a painful spot in a muscle that feels dull and hard to the touch. There are different speculations on what knots are and how they form, but many known and proven techniques exist on how to remove and prevent them. What is a knot? There are multiple theories concerning trigger points. One of them is that a knot is an accumulation of waste product. Indeed, muscles use chemical reactions to create energy and function; these reactions produce waste product, including lactic acid. If too much of it is produced, the lactic acid is not evacuated properly and accumulated in the muscles, creating a knot. How does it form? There are many possible reasons why a muscle’s waste product won't evacuate properly. -Overuse of muscles creates large amounts of waste products without enough time to evacuate it. Overuse can come from repetitive movements, strenuous activities or endurance performances. -Too little movement can also impair blood flow and muscle circulation, preventing the flush of lactic acid created by regular use of a muscle. Holding a seated position at a desk, standing in place for multiple hours, etc can cause formation of lactic acid. How can it be removed? Massage therapy is the most effective way to remove a knot. Fast moves that warm the muscles, cross fiber friction and deep pressure are all effective in increasing blood flow to the area to improve circulation of waste. These techniques are not the most comfortable, but they are not meant to be painful: therapists will ask for feedback, it is important to tell them how the massage feels. Usually, the massage gives some immediate relief, the next day feels better with some tenderness, and within a couple of days there is no more pain. In between sessions, hot packs, self-stretching and regular hydration will help keep blood flowing to the affected area. Self-massage techniques can also be achieved by applying pressure on the knot with the help of a tennis or golf ball: put the ball on the floor or a wall, at level with your knot, and lean against it to press on the knot. At Phila Massages, trigger point work is common, the most frequent complaint being upper back knots that affect neck mobility. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about knots or other afflictions. By Melvyn Cheers, LMT. VIDEO: Watch Melvyn working on an upper back knot here! REFERENCES:
This article and/or video are for educational purposes only; do not attempt without your physician's clearance. If you are in pain or injured, see your physician.