Defining a muscular "knot"

Those that are first seeking out massage therapy or lead high stress lives will at some point have a massage therapist hit an area that is tender to touch and feels like a lump under a skin. This is most commonly known as a muscle knot, these are usually found in areas where people hold tension such as the neck and back especially around the scapula & trapezuis.


There are many descriptions used when trying to explain to a client what they feel like from a therapist perspective such as rice krispies to clicky bits. Essentially all of those knots are the same and are also known as myofascial trigger points. They are actually the result of the nervous system trying to prevent further tissue damage. It is an age-old survival system that is in place to stop you giving yourself an injury. These hardened bumps are known as “muscle guarding”. When muscles are strained, overworked or injured muscles around them tighten to prevent more damage and encourage healing processes.



Muscle knots can be caused by a variety of causes from a sedentary lifestyle to the opposite end of the spectrum of overusing or injuring your muscles. Poor posture can be a factor as can stress and anxiety as we unconsciously hold our muscles tense during these times.


Sometimes there is little or no symptoms of a person have muscle knots in the body on other occasions they can cause aching sensations and pain in your muscles and joints. When you touch a muscle knot, it may feel swollen, tense, or bumpy. It could also feel tight and contracted, even when you’re trying to relax, and they’re sometimes sensitive to the touch. If not addressed these tight areas can have a knock-on effect and cause headaches, pain in a nearby area of the body or create limited mobility.


There are lot’s of things a person can do to improve or reduce their muscle knots including checking their workspace area, participating in stretching movement such as yoga or looking at ways to manage their stress levels. Aromatherapy massage can help as it addresses the physical muscle and any emotional factors.

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