Those who love to exercise are probably all too familiar with that horrible feeling that you can get when muscle knots occur. They can cause you so much discomfort and usually make continuing to work out so much more difficult.
Well, in this article you will find out what muscle knots are, how they are caused and what some of the best ways you can get rid of them are.
What are Muscle Knots?
Muscle knots are pretty much what it sounds like; knots in your muscle. To touch they really do feel like someone has tied little knots out of the bands that make up your muscle.
In reality, it is your muscle fibres contracting when you are just resting and not even being active, leading to that area of muscle feeling hard and very sensitive.
You can get muscle knots in any part of your body depending on which area it is that has been strained or injured. For example, they could occur in your neck, back, legs or arms. If there’s muscle, there could be knots!
Not only can muscle knots cause a lot of aches and pains, but it can also lead to other unpleasant side effects such as headaches, earaches, stress and trouble sleeping.
How to Get Rid of Muscle Knots?
One of the best ways to get rid of muscle knots is to make sure you do plenty of exercise. It’s best to avoid exercises such as lifting weights and things that might put more strain on your muscles, and instead do workouts of a lower intensity and impact.
The best type of exercises you can do for muscle knots are stretches. Why not try some yoga or Pilates? This helps to specifically target the injured area in a calm way to help stretch out the muscles and unravel those annoying knots!
#2 Strengthen and Activate your Muscles
Leading on from the previous point, doing stretches that isolate the muscles that have the knots in is vital as it helps to activate those muscles. This leads to more blood flowing to that area, which helps in lengthening the muscle fibre, causing it to relax and therefore gets rid of the knots.
After you have got rid of those knots, one of the ways you can then help to prevent your muscles from getting any knots again, is to make sure you work on trying to strengthen them. Stronger muscles are less likely to knot as they can cope with more stress and strain before getting overworked.
This is on the other end of the spectrum to the previous point but, even though exercise does help to get rid of knots, so too does resting. When knots are caused from strain and overuse, this is where taking some time out to rest your muscles is one of the best ways to get rid of the knots. It helps to give your body a break and recover from the injury.
When you are resting it is important that you make sure you are in a comfortable position with proper posture that won’t leave you feeling achier afterwards.
Resting doesn’t, however, mean doing nothing at all. You can still go about your daily life and do some stretches, but it is about taking things easy and not doing anything that will put your muscles through any pain or discomfort.
#4 Hot and Cold Therapy
When you get muscle knots, the affected area can sometimes appear swollen and red. This is because the knots cause inflammation and, in turn, a lot of pain. However, this is something that you can treat by applying a combination of heat and cold.
Heat is the best thing to use initially, as it helps to increase the blood flow to the muscle, which relaxes it and therefore relieves some of the pain.
Cold, on the other hand, is great for dealing with the inflammation. Applying a cold compress will constrict your blood vessels which will, in turn, calm down the swelling.
Therefore, alternating between hot and cold treatment is a great way to help tackle both of the main issues that come with muscle knots.
#5 Muscle Rubs
This is a treatment you will probably actually enjoy a lot! Getting a muscle rub or massage is a great way to really knead out those pesky knots.
You can do it yourself, or get a family member to do it, using a shop-bought muscle rub. The ones that are best to go for are those that contain the ingredients menthol, capsaicin or camphor.
#6 Postural Strengthening and Correction
As mentioned earlier, poor posture is one cause of muscle knots. Therefore, one of the ways to treat muscle knots and prevent them from occurring is to try to strengthen and correct your posture.
This can be done by going to a professional physiotherapist, or you can do certain stretches and exercises at home. Investing in a foam roller is definitely a good idea to really help get your posture into good form!
So, now you should know everything there is about muscle knots including what causes them, how to prevent them and how to get rid of them. Do some or all of these things and I promise you, your body and your muscles will be thanking you immensely!
What Causes Muscle Knots?
There are numerous things that can cause muscle knots, and it’s good to be aware of them so you know what sort of things to avoid so you don’t have to go through the aches and pain that come with these knots.
Injury or strain – this is probably the most common cause of muscle knots and tends to occur in athletes or people who do a lot of exercise. If you work out and don’t have the correct form, or perhaps overwork yourself at the gym, then this can lead to those muscle fibres tightening and forming knots. That is why it is always so important to make sure you practice correct form in whatever exercise you do. Injury can, however, also come from other things such as lifting a child or moving around some boxes.
Improper posture – Have you ever been told off by a parent or friend for slouching? You have probably been told numerous times about how important it is to make sure you have good posture, and that’s because it really is so important for your physical health. Having poor posture is something that can lead to muscle knots, especially in your back.
Being inactive – if you have a relatively inactive lifestyle then this can lead to your muscles seizing and tightening up due to lack of use. They get stiff and knot up because they haven’t been stretched out.
Stress – being under a lot of stress isn’t something that just affects us mentally. It can also have an impact on the rest of our body, including our muscles. This is because usually when we are stressed, we tend to take less care in how we hold ourselves and can tense muscles without even realising, which can then lead to knots forming.