What are muscle knots and how are they caused?
Muscle knots, otherwise known as myofascial trigger points, are a painful condition in the musculoskeletal system. These knots or trigger points are comprised of contracted muscle fibers that can be located anywhere in the body. These trigger points can be described as painful, sensitive areas found throughout the body where myofascial tissue is located. They are usually sustained by muscle contractions during a trauma. Normally, in personal injury, they are sustained during a car accident or other form of repeated microtrauma, whiplash, or other strain related postural activity.
Other conditions can attribute to these painful points. A hyperirritable spot such as these knots can also be symptoms of other musculoskeletal system conditions including myofascial pain syndrome. Upon compression, these spots can be painful, cause motor dysfunction and sensations that cannot be controlled. Several factors can attribute to painful muscle knots. Some of these related elements can contribute to the pain and/or be the leading cause of the pain:
- Poor posture
- Lack of exercise or sedentary lifestyle
- Stress tension
- Prolong sitting, standing, or laying down
- Overuse or prolonged repetitive motions
- Muscle strains, muscle tears, a twist or strain
- Injury to the muscle from a broken bone
What are the symptoms of muscle knots?
Muscle knots, can usually be felt under the skin. However, this may not always be the case. In some cases, the location of pain is not equivalent to the location of the actual trigger point. There have been several studies done to show these trigger points by using an ultrasound, elastrography, or sonoelastography. There has been other theories and studies that surround these painful, irritable spots in the body. Elevated levels of inflammatory and neurotransmitter chemicals have been found. Typically, these knots can fall into one of two categories. An active trigger point will produce intense pain in the body. A hidden trigger point may not produce pain unless they are touched, creating a dull and achy sensation. Other conditions from these knots may occur. Some patients can experience back pain, neck pain, headaches and joint pain (such as carpal tunnel).
Muscle knots can develop anywhere within the body that muscle exists. Common areas are typically a participant from automobile accidents or personal injury. These areas include:
- Shoulders, between and around
- Lower back
- Muscles through the hip and knees
How can I relieve a muscle knot?
There are different forms of therapy that have studied lasting and temporary results. A local chiropractor is able to help with most if not all symptoms and relief techniques. Some of these techniques include:
- TENS or electrostimulation
- Pulsed ultrasound
- Vibration and heat
- A cooling spray
Temporary pain reduction therapies also exist. Some of these therapies provided by other medical professionals include local anesthetics, corticosteroids, botulism toxin, laser therapy and dry-needling. Very few of these have shown lasting effects and contain high risks. Dry-needling has been questioned in some studies based off of the disruption of the motor end plates. Some of these forms of therapy have also been known to only cause a placebo effect.
When identification of trigger points can be difficult, it has been shown that a full chiropractic treatment can have temporary and lasting effects. Just because a pain may occur in a certain area does not mean that the pain is a direct indicator of the trigger point. Regularly stretching and breaks from repetitive motion are always the first steps to those who commonly experience muscle knots or for those susceptible to them.
Chiropractic Healthcare Center Can Help Rid You Of Painful Muscle Knots
If you are suffering from painful muscle knots caused by an auto injury, whiplash, or any other reason, contact a Dallas-Fort Worth chiropractor you can trust today. Chiropractic Healthcare Center has 8 convenient locations across the metroplex, and even has a driving service if you are in need of transportation.