Chiropractic Guide to Muscle Knots

Chances are, you’ve experienced the tender, achy feeling of a muscle knot at some point in your life.

Research has shown that muscle knots may affect up to 85 percent of the population.

Muscle knots can impair mobility, cause pain, and can reduce a person’s quality of life. They are typically found in your back, shoulders, and neck as stiff bands of muscle with a hard knob in the centre known as a trigger point. The pain can either pop up spontaneously or when the trigger point is pressed.

What causes muscle knots?

Muscle knots have a variety of possible causes, often from overuse such as heavy lifting or repetitive activities. Other causes may include:

  • Psychological stress

  • Poor ergonomics

  • Bad posture

  • Fatigue

  • Dehydration

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Joint problems

When we sit at the computer all day, with very little movement in between, these muscle fibres begin to stick to each other, forming a knot. Bad posture also puts stress on our muscles, and with enough time, this stress can cause scar tissue formation.

What are the symptoms of muscle knots?

Pain is the primary symptom of muscle knots. Since everyone experiences pain differently, your symptoms may vary from those of someone else. Depending on where in the body the muscle knot is located, it may cause seemingly unrelated pain in other areas. For example, a muscle knot in the neck can send pain into the base of the skull, causing a tension headache.

Who is most at risk for muscle knots?

Ninety-seven percent of people with chronic pain have trigger points, and 100 percent of people with neck pain have them. There are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing muscle knots.

  • Aging

  • Disease

  • Stress

  • People with fibromyalgia

How are muscle knots diagnosed?

Diagnosing a muscle knot requires a physical examination by an experienced professional such as a chiropractor. The examiner will assess the area of concern for three things: a taut band of muscle, a tender nodule, and the reaction of the patient to physical pressure.

How are muscle knots treated?

Once you’ve been diagnosed, there are several options, but the most common include:





Massage therapy

Ultrasound therapy

Whichever option you choose, the main goal is to release the trigger point to reduce pain and increase mobility by breaking up the knotted tissue and calming inflamed nerves.

You must feel safe and educated on the benefits and risks before obtaining any treatment. When you visit us in our clinic in Stoney Creek, we are happy to discuss with you what we do to the point you are making an educated decision.

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