Muscle Knots: What, Why and how to get rid of them

Muscle knots, self release

Muscle knots, self releaseIf I had to pick one question that I am most often asked when treating patients is, what are muscle knots? And what causes them?

And fair enough too, I would be asking some serious questions too if someone told me that I had some kind of ball of tissue within my muscle… That’s not normal right?


This excerpt by Paul Ingraham gives a good little explanation:

Does your body feel like a toxic waste dump?

It may be more literally true than you realized! Some evidence shows that a knot may be a patch of polluted tissue: a nasty little cesspool of waste metabolites. If so, it’s no wonder they hurt, and no wonder they cause so many strange sensations: it’s more like being poisoned than being injured. Back pain is the best known symptom of the common muscle knot, but they can cause an astonishing array of other aches and pains. Misdiagnosis is much more common than diagnosis.(1)

Muscle knots are very helpful. They are like signposts in our body, pointing to the areas that are overworked and struggling. If you come across a point in your muscle that is reasonably uncomfortable and causes you to grimace a little, then you know this is a spot that needs working over.

Muscle knots are localized, irritable points in skeletal muscle, not caused by any one specific event. This can basically be explained as a small permanently contracted part of a muscle. They can also act like tensioners, pulling at bones and joints via their tendons and causing all sorts of grief, including making you feel “out of place”

To add even more fuel to the fire, knots can also refer pain elsewhere, again, not where the actual knot is.

Take the Quadratus lumborum (QL) for example. This muscle in your back does a lot of good work but when irritated, can cause some confusing pain at times.

Ql Quadratus lumborum trigger point muscle knots

This muscle that runs down the side of your lumbar spine often refers pain into the hip and glutes, not at all where the muscle is.


So how do we get rid of muscle knots?

1. Heat

Heat increase blood-flow, eases pain and helps with muscle relaxation so definitely worth the effort of warming up your wheat bag!

2. Self-massage and self-myofascial release

Get a Foam Roller or massage balls into those tight areas. If you need a whole lot more guidance and self-treatment techniques, grab our New Ebook that has just released!

3. Exercise

Normalise muscle function through good exercise with and around the troublesome area. Whether it is upper trap pain and you need to get the lower traps firing better, hamstring pain because the Gluts aren’t doing their job or because you just aren’t moving right – exercise can help address this.


Hopefully that has cleared things up a bit! Give these tips a go and feel free to check out our new Ebook that is full of helpful tips and self-treatment exercises.

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