In today’s post I am going to give you a few tips on how to help yourself when you have achy, tender knots in your muscles.
Muscle knots appear in various muscles in the body and are known as trigger points. You can tell if you have one because if you press or squeeze them they can hurt! Often a lot! They can also radiate pain into another part of your body, so you might squeeze your leg muscle but feel a pain in your foot, for example. Here at Physio and Therapies they are one of the most common things we find when we assess clients who come for help with a wide range of problems.
So what is a trigger point? Well they are knotty, tender areas within our muscle that appear after some form of stress or load, for instance after a heavy, long session of gardening, a longer than normal exercise session, a heavy working week or even due to emotional or mental stress too.
They will feel like a ropy, sore, lumpy area in a muscle or as a tender spot of pain somewhere in a muscle and it may hurt when you move or stretch the muscle. They often seem to come on “out of the blue” and you wake up sore and painful. In some cases, you might feel the strength in the body part feels weaker and clients often report a twitching or pulsing sensation where the trigger point is located.
So, what can YOU do to help yourself and where does the Tennis ball come in?
- Try to avoid or limit repetitive movements or postures. Don’t spend a whole day digging or 8 hours leaning on your arm at the computer at work. At the gym build up load or exercises gradually over a few weeks. Take your breaks.
- Drink plenty of water. Keeping well hydrated helps our muscles function properly.
- TOP TIP: buy a tennis ball to use as a massager for your trigger point. Place the ball on the affected muscle and roll it firmly over the knotted area for 30 secs – 2 mins. The muscle might twitch- keep massaging until the twitching stops. If it makes the discomfort flair up a bit keep gently rolling until this subsides. Then stretch the muscle.
- Every day do a few minutes of gentle stretching, ideally when you first wake up, again, if you have been sitting or been still for a while, then stretch again before bed. A couple of all over body stretches every day can help our health in general not just with trigger points. If you need help with this think about seeing a Physiotherapist for some advice, join a stretch class or have a look at our Physio and Therapies Facebook page for the stretch of the week.
I hope this has been helpful for you today, remember to like and share this post or go over to our FB page and like the page for more tips and information on keeping you in top form.
Written by Kerensa Mckie, Chartered Physiotherapist at Physio and Therapies.