Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of awkward, finely placed knots in tights spots on my back. I’ve been dealing with one for over a month now, and my PT-sister-in-law isn’t always around to help me ‘untie’ by problems.
What are they?
Muscle knots are also called trigger points. This is important in general, especially when you’re trying to get more information on what they are, where they come from and how they work.
There’s no one cause for trigger points/muscle knots – they can be caused by a number of things. On one extreme they could be the cause of strenuous activity, mainly exercise. But it’s not just any exercise. Working out incorrectly or too hard can easily cause injury. It’s important to on the lookout for your technique and have a pro (or someone with a lot of experience) coach you through the routine. This is especially important with your back.
Another major cause could be the exact opposite. Sitting in one place for an extended period of time and lack of activity, often in front of a computer, develops posture issues.
What causes the pain is not noticing them immediately or taking care of them once you feel that they’re there.
The Easy Solution
Water – This is the most important weapon in your arsenal? Why? It’s the most ignored factor in muscle (and joint) relief. Water is infinitely vital to basic processes of the body, including nutrient absorption. In terms of physical activity, water lubricates your joints. That lubrication makes exercise easier to bear and prevents cramping either after strenuous activity or long periods of being stationary (looking at you, computer lovers). Other drinks can help in the same fight, but water is the cheapest and easiest to get your hands on.
Stretching – This is a mid-term investment. Stretching can have immediate benefit or it could take some time relieving your symptoms. But within a few weeks, regular stretching routines will significantly improve your mobility and definitely alleviate your back pain. If you are a stationary person in general or simply have pain after waking up in the morning, these two stretches should get you going:
Exercise – Knots weaken the muscles that are ‘tied’ in knots. Strengthening exercises reverse that weakening process. This is your long-term solution – it might even make you look better than you thought you could just relieving back pain.