What’s in a Knot?

A knot is bunched up muscle tissue right? Well maybe not.

We don’t know for certain, but the prevailing theory is that knots are the result of over working, or dysfunctional muscles, where the message to contract fails to stop sending and results in chronically contracted muscle fibres and ultimately, a small thickened area of muscle tissue.

Another common theory (potentially both theories could be correct in different instances), is that an overworking, tired or dysfunctional muscle causes chemicals to be released that restrict blood flow and ultimately reduce the body's ability to clean up waste products from the area causing the knot.

Whatever the cause, when you press on this knot and it can be quite painful, it can also send referral pain elsewhere in the body, normally following a common pattern for each knot. This is what is known as a trigger point.

It feels great to disperse the pressure of the knot with some trigger point worK - for you and for us!

You may be surprised to learn that exercise actually helps to decrease the likelihood and severity of muscle knots. So if you don’t already, introduce some daily exercise activities into your life and see how much that can help.

A particularly nasty knot is the one you get in the middle of your shoulder blade, apply some trigger point therapy to that spot and you will likely find it refer into the front of your shoulder. A good way to prevent this knot forming is to do some rotator cuff and back strengthening work.

Rotator Cuff Exercise (how to)

  1. Take a resistance band and wrap it around your wrists

  2. Think about pulling your shoulder blades back so that they’re floating away from your rib cage

  3. Keeping the shoulder position pull your hands away from each other

  4. Hold the pull against the resistance of the band for 10 seconds

  5. Relax and then repeat 3x daily

Back Strengthening Exercise (how to)

  1. Lie face down on the floor

  2. Place your arms diagonally up above you so that you look like a Y

  3. Gently lift your arms a little off the floor

  4. Hold for 10 seconds

  5. Relax and then repeat 10x daily

At Home Trigger Point Release can also help when you feel the knot coming on. Using a tennis ball (less painful due to more give in the ball), a squash ball or trigger point ball, which is my favourite but a little more intense. Place the ball into the area of tension and hold until the pain dissipates.

Some great spots to target are:

The Pec Minor

  1. Lie face down with one arm out at right angles

  2. Place the ball in the middle of the Pec muscle

  3. Create greater pressure by lifting the opposite leg and rolling into the shoulder with the ball under it

The Rotator Cuff

  1. Lie on your back

  2. Place a ball in the middle of your shoulder blade

  3. Roll around until you feel a pressure point

  4. Hold until the pain dissipates

TFL and Glutes

  1. Lie on your side and place a ball under your hip

  2. Roll forwards and backwards in the shape of a C around (but not on) the hip socket

  3. Pause over a spot of tension

  4. When pain dissipates keep rolling and find other trigger points

Check out our youtube channel for videos on these and other exercises and releases.

So what is in a knot? We don't really know, but it's a bit of a pain that’s for sure.

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