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As therapists, we regularly get asked about how knotted muscles are caused and how to get rid of them. A quick note before we get started – we use the terms ‘knotted muscle’ and ‘muscle knot’ as they mean the same thing. 

What a muscle knot is 

The medical term for muscle knots is myofascial trigger points. In simpler terms, muscle knots are hard, sensitive areas of muscles that tighten and contract even when the muscle is at rest. This happens when the bands of tissue called fascia (muscle fibres) underneath the muscles tense and tighten. If left untreated these tense muscle fibres can sometimes cause pain in other parts of the body when touched, which is known as referred pain. 
Muscle knots can typically occur anywhere in the body but they’re most commonly found in the back, shoulders, and neck. They can also show up in the gluteal muscles. 

What causes muscle knots 

Muscle knots can be caused by many things including a sedentary lifestyle, overusing/injuring your muscles or poor posture. In addition, dehydration, unhealthy eating habits, stress and, anxiety may also cause muscle knots. 

How to treat muscle knots 

Treating muscle knots can take time and involves breaking up the knotted tissue and calming inflamed nerves. 
Due to the level of pressure used in sports massage, it is an ideal way of doing this. There are many techniques the therapist can use to treat knots including trigger pointing, frictioning and stretching. Not only can the treatment be localised to the knotty areas but by using deep massage strokes to the surrounding muscle tissues, massage therapy increases circulation and improves blood flow. This can improve overall muscle function and help loosen up all muscles. 
If you are suffering with knotted muscles, get in touch with us to see how massage therapy can help. 
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