MBQT: Muscle Knots

HARDDRIVE (1)

WHERE DO MUSCLE KNOTS COME FROM AND HOW DO I GET RID OF THEM?

Did you know there’s an entire research field that looks at these knots we get? It’s called Trigger Point Research – and even the gurus in this field don’t really agree on what causes these knots (but they do all agree they’re toxic for us…)

rope tied into big knot

First, let me explain. If you could peel back your skin and expose all your muscles, you’d see that your muscles crisscross all over your body. It’s a huge web of muscles going in every direction – which is why we can move, jump, twist, dance, whatever.

Now most of those trigger point gurus agree that muscle knots, technically called myofascial trigger points if you want to get fancy, come from some kind of muscle spasm (although a few of those researchers think they are really neurological problems, who knows).  

But most people go with the spasms theory.

Here’s what happens:

A small part of a muscle has a spasm and then contracts extremely tightly – imagine your hand balling up into a really tight fist.

In some muscles, this spasmed spot might just be the size of a pin, but in others, it could be more like a quarter.

But regardless of the size, that contracted little spot becomes so tight that it can stop some of the blood flow to that area in the muscle.  If you squeeze your hand into a fist, as tight as you can, for 10-15 seconds, and then open it back up, you’ll see the blood rush back into your hand.  Thats because your contracted hand stopped some blood flow.  Same with the muscle knots.

Now the problem is that without any blood flow, we don’t have anything to force that muscle to stop contracting. So it gets tight and stays tight.

But what’s worse, sometimes that tight contracted spot gets contracted with another muscle next to it (since it overlaps so many others as part of our muscle web). So 2 or 3 muscles can become glued together to make a bigger knot

This is worse because combining multiple muscles into one trigger point actually increase your chance of damaging those muscles.  Our muscles were made to slide against each other, not to be glued together.  

Those glued muscles have to move together in one direction, rather than in the different directions they were originally designed to move.   And since that means muscles are moving in ways they shouldn’t, we can start getting rips and tears in them that ultimately lead to scar tissue. 

But here’s the crazy part – 

Those muscle knots release toxins into your body.

Muscle researchers found that those trigger points release 11 different toxins into your blood – and the bigger your knot, the more toxins it releases.  These toxins cause inflammation, swelling, and pain, but they don’t just limit those nasty side effects to the trigger point.  They can cause those damages throughout your entire body. 

Who know those tiny little muscle knots were poisoning you, turning you into a toxic cesspool?

So when you feel a knot, the best thing you can do is to treat it quickly – that’s the only way to stop the toxic release and reclaim the good function of your muscle!  

Sometimes that treatment is painful, but a little pain now is better than the toxic alternative!

SO HOW DO YOU GET RID OF MUSCLE KNOTS?

Man using trigger point therapy to get rid of muscle knots

Those trigger point researchers think that pressure is the best way to get rid of these knots. And here’s why.

Those knots and all the chemical, toxic junk around them are actually acidic. Weird I know. When you put a whole lot of pressure on it, you force all the old blood out of that muscle – the stuff that might have been trapped in when the blood flow was reduced.

Then, when you release the pressure, fresh blood flows in that actually makes that muscle environment less acidic.

That new environment, plus a fresh rush of blood, helps that spot release, ending the contraction. That means no more tightness, glued muscles or toxins. 

So every time you get a knot, do you need to book a deep tissue massage?

Probably not. Most knots are minor and can be treated perfectly fine on your own, using a ball, foam roller or even your own fingers to apply a deep amount of pressure to relax the contraction.

One of the best ways to get the most pressure on one specific knot is to get a small ball, like a tennis or lacrosse ball, and put it on the floor, right underneath the knot. Then using your legs, lift your body off the ground so your body weight is on that ball (which is right under the knot).  Try as best you can to relax your body and let it sink down onto the ball.  This will put a great amount of pressure on that trigger point. Gently rock your body to hit the trigger point from every angle.   And then repeat as needed until the knot is gone and you’re toxic free!

man rolling on lacrosse ball to get rid of back muscle knots

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