It’s “Knot” Supposed to Feel That Way
Through our daily lives, we have all encountered a ‘muscle knot.’ We try to work them out and then suddenly they turn into something that we have had for years and years and it becomes ‘our normal.’ “Oh yea, I have always had tight muscles” is something that is commonly said. Or the statement, “I hold all my stress in my shoulders.” These statements are things that are heard time and time again, especially in chiropractic clinics across the Boise valley. A lot of people have these muscle knots and the question that many of us don’t ask ourselves is “why?”
There are a few different reasons why muscle knots and tension can occur. The three biggest reasons are:
- Sudden injuries or traumas: Examples of sudden injuries can be work and sports injuries, car accidents, or trips and falls.
- Repetitive trauma: Repetitive trauma can be the things we do every single day, like typing on a keyboard throughout the day, texting, or holding the phone to our ears periodically over time.
- Constant trauma to the body: Constant pressure is typically referred to as our postures that we practice (or don’t practice) everyday; i.e. sitting at a desk all day or driving truck for a living or lifting boxes all day.
But why do these muscle knots occur? As you can imagine form the 3 reasons above, it could be something that you do every day or from something that happened years ago. Regardless of how it happened, the only way to get rid of those knots is to figure out the cause and work on improving it. For example, when sudden injuries occur, a lot of damage can occur to the muscles, the spine and the ligaments surrounding the spine. When this trauma occurs, our muscles tend to tighten up or spasm to protect the injured area. But unless the spinal alignment or ligament instability is addressed, there is no way that the muscles will ever loosen up. This is why people who have had trauma in their past who have tried therapies like physical therapy or massage therapy still have no progress in permanently removing their knots; It is because they haven’t addressed the spinal alignment. Finding a good corrective, spinal rehabilitation chiropractor is vital to the success of strengthening the spine and then finding a good massage therapist to relieve the knots.
Repetitive traumas experienced daily, like typing on a keyboard or holding the phone to your ear while taking phone calls, are another big reason why a lot of people deal with knots. The thing about repetitive traumas is that they slowly become our constant traumas, which then change our posture over time. The ligaments in our spine can be injured suddenly or over time. It only takes ten minutes of a sustained repetitive or constant trauma to change the ligaments. When this happens, our postures weaken and then the muscles surrounding our spines have to help hold us up to maintain our postures. This causes overuse and the muscles react by creating knots and adhesions. Massage therapy can relax and loosen these muscles made sore and tight by bad posture, but the only way to fully and permanently relieve them, is to correct the posture.
We must first recognize what we are doing wrong in order to correct it. Some people sit at a desk all day for their job. Depending on the “ergonomics”, this can worsen our posture over time. Making sure we have a good ergonomic workstation is the first key to correcting our postures. Make sure your desk is at the level of your arms, your feet can rest flat on the floor and your screen at the level of your eyes are some of the most important aspects to a good ergonomic workstation. Headsets are vital so we aren’t kinking our necks either. If your work station needs adjusting, you should check out (http://ergo.human.cornell.edu/cuergoguide.html) for a detailed approach to improving your ergonomic setup.
Doing exercises to strengthen the thoracic spine are important, but should only be recommended and prescribed after speaking with a corrective care chiropractor to determine which exercises are best for you. Taking breaks regularly is also very important. Getting up every fifteen minutes to stretch and walk around, drinking plenty of water and if you have a break, foam rolling out your legs and back will help you from developing these knots and offset the effects of sitting in a desk.
Some of the best ways to remedy tight muscles at home are exercises that are individualized to you. More general tings that offer temporary relief include foam rolling, using lacrosse balls to target tight muscles and knots, and Epsom salt baths. To figure out why you are having knots is the most important thing in combating them. Again, this is why it is so important to have a chiropractor who specializes in posture to help alleviate with your pain and your knots. Call (208) 629-1904 to schedule a free consultation today.