Why Do Muscles Feel Knotted?
Muscle fiber runs in all different directions throughout your body, allowing you to bend and twist, dance and play sports. Muscles are designed to be pliable, strong, and challenged. Why, then, do so many people complain of “muscle knots?” Learn more about this common phenomenon and how to prevent and treat it.
What are Muscle Knots?
Also called trigger points, knots are muscles that feel tight and constricted even when your body is at rest. Because they fail to return to a neutral position, tense, strained muscles can radiate pain to other parts of the body when touched. These knots can cause chronic neck and backaches that may eventually prevent you from doing the activities you love.
How to Prevent Muscle Knots
Many factors increase the risk of developing muscle knots. To help prevent this painful condition, follow these tips:
- Stay hydrated: Muscles need water to maintain flexibility and mobility, so be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Eat a healthy diet: Fresh, whole foods high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium support flexible muscles.
- Avoid long periods of sitting still: If you work at a desk, stand up and walk around once every hour to prevent muscle aches and tightness.
- Exercise daily: Aim to strengthen your muscles, but don’t overexert yourself. Avoid overuse injuries by switching up your exercise routine frequently.
- Focus on your posture: Avoid slouching or twisting your back for a prolonged period. Proper spinal alignment helps your muscles relax when not in use to prevent knots from forming.
- Perform simple stretches: Stretching gently throughout the day elongates your muscles to relieve tension and improve flexibility.
How to Treat Muscle Knots
Many at-home remedies are effective against muscle knots. Start with the simplest treatments first to see if they bring relief. Here are some ideas:
- Rest: Discontinue any activities you think may have contributed to your knotted muscles.
- Try hot and cold therapy: Apply an ice pack for 10 minutes. After letting your muscles return to room temperature for at least 15 minutes, apply a heating pad for 10 minutes. Repeat these alternating therapies throughout the day.
- Massage the tender area with a muscle rub: Find a formula that contains menthol, capsaicin, or camphor for the most therapeutic effect. You may need someone to help you apply the rub to difficult-to-reach areas.
- Seek professional treatment: Untreated muscle knots can be uncomfortable and may even lead to other health issues. If you have taken conservative measures to relieve your knotted muscles, but the pain persists, it may be time to visit a healthcare provider.
At Effective Integrative Healthcare, we offer trigger point injections and dry needling to treat muscle knots in your neck, shoulders, back, and elsewhere. These minimally invasive, fast-acting treatments target muscle knots at the source. Ready to explore your options? Schedule a free consultation at our Crofton, Millersville, or Lanham, MD location, and we’ll help you find the relief you seek!