What's a knot?

One of the most common complaints I hear is from people suffering with “muscle knots”. We are all very familiar with this phrase, in fact I am sure that as soon as you read it you knew exactly what I was referring to?

This is because “Muscle knots” have been shown to affect as much as 85% of the general population.

But in spite of their significant impact on public health, a clear understanding of these “knots” does not exist. What does the phrase actually mean? Can a muscle really get tied in a knot? Well, no.

The medical term for “muscle knots” is Myofascial trigger points.

What are Myofascial trigger points?

The National Library of Medicine describes a Myofascial trigger point as;

“A hyperirritable spot, usually within a taut band of skeletal muscle, which is painful on compression and can give rise to characteristic referred pain, motor dysfunction, and autonomic phenomena.”

People suffering from Myofascial trigger points complain of regional persistent pain, ranging in intensity and most frequently found in the head, neck, shoulders, extremities, and low back.

Trigger points are classified as being active or latent, depending on their clinical characteristics. An active trigger point causes pain at rest. It is tender to palpation with a referred pain pattern (pain which is felt not at the site of the trigger-point origin, but remote from it). The pain is often described as spreading or radiating. A latent trigger point does not cause spontaneous pain but may restrict movement or cause muscle weakness.

What causes Myofascial trigger points?

The cause of Myofascial trigger points is not agreed upon by scientists. As they are so complex, it is likely that they have a variety of causes.

Some researchers agree that acute trauma or repetitive microtrauma may lead to the development of a trigger point. Lack of exercise, prolonged poor posture, vitamin deficiencies, sleep disturbances, and joint problems may all predispose to the development of micro-trauma.

Occupational or recreational activities that produce repetitive stress on a specific muscle or muscle group can also cause chronic stress in muscle fibers and lead to trigger points.

How are Myofascial trigger points treated?

There are several therapies currently used to treat Myofascial trigger points, including massage, physical therapy, stretching, dry needling/injections, electrical stimulation, cold laser treatment, and ultrasound.

I offer trigger therapy, massage, dry needling and Myofascial cupping - all of which I have found highly effective. As with most conditions, I advise different approaches depending on how the tissue feels and responds to touch.

So, please get in touch. I am always happy to discuss your individual requirements.

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