Muscle Knots: Killing Them Softly with Self-Massage
You have found muscle knots in your neck, shoulder, or back and perhaps, in all innocence, you have rubbed them, hoping that they would go away. But unfortunately, now those muscle knots are back you are looking for a better and long-term solution. If YES, keep scrolling and continue reading because I have the perfect solution for you.
DON’T Delay Action
Muscle knots can cause achy tension that builds up at the end or even in the middle of your day. The longer you ignore them, the tenser they get. One day they may entrap a nerve, which results in a sharp painful sensation. You may feel it in the morning and have a hard time turning your neck. This means that your muscle knot progressed into a muscle kink and any amount of direct rubbing is contraindicated. Try to rest instead and follow the instructions below after a day.
Muscle Knots or?
Knots and kinks are not scientific terms by any means. I use them instead of fancy adhesions or trigger points to make it simple for you, dear reader. Muscle knots are soft tissue fibers that are overworked. They appear when you work endlessly, with little or no rest in between, or when there are muscular imbalances and chronic stress. They typically build up in your neck and shoulders because of our new lifestyle that includes phones and computer overuse.
If you ever suffered from acne, you know the solution was not to poke them. Let’s apply the same strategy here. To release a muscle knot, you need more logic than strength. So please leave your partner be, as no amount of elbow pressure will kill a knot. You could get a temporary relieve from ice, drugs, and topical over-the-counter ointments. But you continue reading this because you want lasting relief, right?
Shocker, I know, but it will save you time and frustration. In all my professional years, I am still waiting to meet one client who knows how to stretch properly. So, unless a trainer or a massage therapist has identified the muscle that holds the knot and assigned an appropriate stretch – please don’t. The tissues surrounding the knot may already be strained and you might end up extending the required healing time.
I recommend doing it yourself because using your arms in a novel way will engage lazy muscles around your shoulders. Which is the secret sauce. The knots will be gone forever if you keep all muscles balanced and engaged. That way overused soft tissues can relax and let go of tension and nerves. However, getting a massage from a partner is helpful too. That way you can focus on breathing to give the locked muscles some much-needed oxygen as your partner promotes blood flow. Either way, remember to intentionally breathe into the knotty area. You can also visualize the release of contracted tissues as you exhale. The video below shows a quick self-massage for knots in the shoulders and neck.
In a perfect world, a released muscle knot should not return if you had a work-play balance, but as most of us live a 40+ hour work week with little or no physical activity, so I must warn you that knots may return. Although to reduce their frequency, you can learn proper posture, body awareness, and exercises that match your lifestyle. Otherwise, self-massage just like proper sleep should be done regularly for body maintenance.