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  • Writer's pictureRain Green

How to Treat Trigger Points and Muscle Knots: Effective Relief Strategies

Updated: 19 hours ago

Muscle knots, or myofascial trigger points, are hard, sensitive areas within muscles that tighten and contract even when the muscle is at rest. These knots can be discreet and exist deep in the muscle, requiring firm pressure into the connective tissue to be felt.

 

Muscle knots can cause chronic pain and limit a person’s range of motion, significantly impacting quality of life, mood, physical ability, and overall health. They often result in aching sensations and pain in muscles and joints, and can also cause symptoms in areas outside of the muscles, such as headaches, toothaches, and earaches. Additionally, muscle knots may lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping.

 

Causes of Muscle Knots


Muscle knots or trigger points can be caused by:

  • A sedentary lifestyle

  • Overusing or injuring your muscles

  • Poor posture


Dehydration, unhealthy eating habits, and stress and anxiety may also contribute to muscle knots. These knots can occur anywhere in the body but are usually found in the back, shoulders, and neck. They often appear in the gluteal muscles and the

trapezius muscle, which forms a triangle-like shape from the neck to the middle of the back and the shoulder. Tension and knots in the trapezius muscles frequently arise due to stress and poor posture.


Treatment Options

 

1. Stretching Gentle stretching that elongates your muscles can help release tension. Be careful not to force yourself into any positions or do anything that causes pain. Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds and release the stretch slowly to reduce the risk of injury.


2. Exercise Aerobic exercise may help relieve muscle knots. Activities like jumping jacks, swimming, and other arm movements can work the muscles in your shoulders and neck, stretching them and increasing blood supply to repair damaged tissue.


3. Hot and Cold Therapy Using a combination of heat and cold can help relieve pain and inflammation caused by muscle knots. Cold constricts blood vessels, reducing swelling, while heat relaxes and loosens stiff muscles and increases blood flow. Alternate between cold and heat treatment or use the one that works best for you. Hot and cold therapy should be used in conjunction with other therapies.


4. Physical Therapy In more serious cases, physical therapy may be recommended. A physical therapist can identify the underlying causes of your muscle knots and treat your pain with appropriate methods. They can teach you techniques to reduce pain and prevent it from recurring.


5. Trigger Point Pressure Massage or Deep Tissue Massage Applying sustained pressure to muscle knots increases blood flow and releases muscle fiber tension, known as myofascial release. Deep tissue massage or trigger point massage involves using slow and firm strokes to reach deeper muscle layers, loosening painful knots and realigning muscles. Multiple sessions are usually needed for lasting relief.


6. Self-Massage Self-massage is a simple, convenient way to enjoy the benefits of massage therapy at home. It can help manage chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or arthritis when included in a comprehensive treatment plan, though it shouldn't replace regular medical treatment. Self-massage can prolong the benefits of professional massages and provide relief between sessions.

 

Benefits of Self-Massage

While self-massage can be effective, it often doesn't compare to professional massages due to the need to activate some muscles while trying to relax others.

 

However, self-massage has its benefits:

  • It is less expensive.

  • You know your own body best.

  • It stimulates blood flow and circulation, rejuvenating the body.

  • It can ease tension between professional massages, which may not always resolve long-term tension.


The best approach is to use a combination of self-massage and professional massage therapy. Self-massage and stretching between appointments with a massage therapist can help keep your body free of tension.

 

For self-massage, using a tennis ball can provide effective relief. However, there are many professional self-massage tools available that can significantly enhance your daily self-care routine. These tools are designed to target specific areas of tension and provide deeper, more consistent pressure than a tennis ball.


Among the highly recommended options are the LittleMum Care Self-Massage tools, which have received overwhelmingly positive reviews on Amazon for their quality and effectiveness. These tools can help alleviate muscle pain, improve circulation, and promote overall relaxation, making them an excellent addition to your self-care regimen.


LittleMum Trapezius Trigger Point Massgaer

  • Best self-Massager for trapezius trigger points

  • Relieve upper back pain, Neck and Shoulder Pain

  • Can also work as Hunchback Corrector

  • Received overwhelming positive feedback

  • Made of food-grade silicone, backed by a 15-year warranty.

Trapezius Pain Relief

LittleMum Back Trigger Point Massager

  • Best self-massager for back and hip trigger points

  • Relieve Lower Back Pain and Piriformis Syndrome(Hip pain)

  • Received overwhelming positive feedback

  • Made of food-grade silicone,  15-year warranty.

LittleMum Shoulder Deep Tissue Massager:  

  • Best self-Massager for Shoulder Blade Pain

  • Psoas Release Tool

  • Mimic a massage therapist's elbow, unique design allows you to melt away hard-to-reach areas in a way that a softer massager simply can't achieve

  • Constructed of high-strength aluminium alloy core and food-grade silicone impregnated.

  • May not be suitable for individuals who are highly sensitive to pain

LittleMum Back Deep Tissue Massager

  • Best Self-Massager for lower back and Middle Back trigger points

  • Relieve Piriformis Syndrome & Anterior Pelvic Tilt

  • A solid Back Stretcher

  • Constructed of high-strength aluminium alloy core and food-grade silicone impregnated.

  • Newly released. May not be suitable for individuals who are highly sensitive to pain

LittleMum T-bar Massage Tool

  • Best Hand-held Massager for Trigger Points

  • Foot reflexology Tool

  • Made of stainless steel with silicone sleeve, 15 years warranty.

LittleMum Massage Ball

  • Best for Occuppital Release

  • Relieve Suboccipital Headaches, Levator Scapulae Syndrome, Neck and Shoulder Pain

  • Travel Size

  • Made of Food-grade silicone, 15-year warranty

All products are FSA or HSA eligible when purchased through Amazon.
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