How Does Massage Therapy Help To Find And Eliminate Knots? | Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. (2023)

It starts with a pain in your neck, shoulder or back. At first you try to work through it, but after a few days the pain persists. The more you stress about the pain, the worse it seems to get. What is causing this pain and how can you stop it? Most likely, you have a knot, which massage therapists are trained to find and get rid of.

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How Does Massage Therapy Help To Find And Eliminate Knots? | Dynamic Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic Inc. (1)

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What is a knot?

Knots are what happens when a muscle becomes overworked, causing it to spasm and to form a tight ball. A knot can be made up one muscle’s fibres, or two or more muscles that share an attachment to the same bone. Our muscles work by being activated when we use them, and deactivated when we don’t. However, when a muscle continues to be activated when we’re done with the exertion, it will twitch, forming a knot. When a muscle spasms, individual sections within it constrict and pull from both sides, leaving you with pain.

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Why do we get knots?

The most common cause of knots is overworked muscles. Knots can also be caused by accidents when a certain area is traumatized. You can also get knots from injuries or from performing too much physical activity. Finally, we get knots because, as human beings, we’re stressed. When our neck and shoulders constrict with the weight of the world, knots form. If we didn’t get stressed, massage therapists would be out of business, but as it is we need massage therapists to cure us of our knots.

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How are massage therapists trained to eliminate knots?

Massage therapists are trained to feel where knots occur by looking for tension in the back, neck and shoulders. They find this tension and release it by applying deep compression with their thumb, fingers or elbow, and holding for 20-30 seconds. This technique is called sustained compression and is repeated several times until the knot and the pain it’s causing dissipates. Sustained compression can cause a bit of pain itself because of the pressure applied to the area, but massage therapists are also trained to help you focus on your breathing while they are performing this knot elimination technique. Furthermore, during your massage session, you will be in a quiet room with soft lighting and calming music to ensure that you are deeply relaxed.

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Why should you get a massage to treat knots?

If you have knots do not try and treat them on your own. Massage therapists are trained to eliminate knots, whereas you could injure yourself further if you try to do it yourself.

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How do massage therapists get rid of knots? ›

Massage therapy techniques can help to relieve, reduce or even prevent muscle knots. Deep tissue massage or sports massage techniques work on the muscles that are tight or have the knots. Trigger point massage can be firm and specific pressure to the areas of restriction or “knots” and cause release of that knot.

How does massage help to prevent sports injuries? ›

Sports massage is proven to release and reduce tension in muscles, improve circulation and encourage the removal of waste products such as lactic acid during high intensity activity and can help to relax the body. All of this helps promote recovery and reduces the chance of muscle injury.

How does massage help muscle knots? ›

Massage therapy helps treat knots by increasing circulation and improving blood flow, which loosens stiff muscles and relieves tension. Choose from several types of massages and get a thorough consultation with your massage therapist to address specific pain points.

How does massage therapy affect the healing of injuries? ›

Massage helps to increase blood flow and circulation, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. This hastens the repair process and allows the body to heal more quickly. Massage therapy also helps to relieve pain and muscle tension, which can make the recovery process much more comfortable.

What is the best massage to get rid of knots? ›

A deep tissue massage is the most effective treatment for muscle knots. When a muscle is tight, it limits the blood flow in that area so by using a massage as a treatment technique for this works by increasing blood flow to the muscle, which can in turn reduce inflammation and ease any soreness and pain.

How do you get rid of deep tissue knots? ›

How to treat and prevent muscle knots
  1. Use heat and/or ice to treat a sore muscle. You can alternate between heat and ice packs or focus on whichever one seems to bring you more relief.
  2. Get a massage. ...
  3. Apply pressure to trigger points. ...
  4. Use self-massage tools. ...
  5. Don't forget to stretch. ...
  6. Stick a needle in it. ...
  7. Give it time.
Feb 1, 2019

What are the benefits of massage therapy for athletes? ›

Massage therapy has also been known to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, in addition to stiffness and fatigue after a game, practice or exercise of any kind. Massages improve an athlete's range of motion, soft tissue function, athletic performance and makes them more aware of their muscle tone.

How is massage therapy used in sports? ›

Restorative sports massage can relieve muscle tension, improve recovery time, keep muscles and tendons flexible, and enhance training. Consequently, sports massage can support an athlete for optimum performance by reducing muscle tension and inflammation and by increasing flexibility, range of movement and endurance.

What are the effects of sports massage on performance and recovery? ›

sports massage improves performance directly, it may somewhat improve flexibility and DOMS. Our findings help guide the coach and athlete about the benefits of massage and inform decisions about incorporating this into training and competition.

How do you get rid of knots in your neck and shoulders? ›

If you have a knot in your neck, try massaging the area with your fingers and applying heat or ice. Do therapeutic neck exercises, like shoulder shrugs, or stretches, like head-to-hand release and Cat-Cow. When done regularly, these moves may help relieve the pain and tension of a knot.

What causes tight knots in muscles? ›

Some common causes of muscle knots include: Muscle overuse or repetitive strain injury from activities like lifting heavy boxes or holding a phone between your ear and shoulder for long periods. Muscle underuse from an inactive lifestyle, prolonged sitting, or bed rest.

What causes deep knots in shoulder blades? ›

Common causes of muscle knots include:
  • stress and tension.
  • physical trauma.
  • muscle injury.
  • emotional stress.
  • poor posture.
  • prolonged bed rest or sitting without stretching.

What are the 3 effect that massage therapy gives to our body? ›

Massage benefits can include: Reducing stress and increasing relaxation. Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension. Improving circulation, energy and alertness.

What are the benefits of massage for recovery? ›

A massage aims to improve recovery to help reduce pain by relieving muscle tightness and tension. Muscle tightness and tension is relieved through an increase in tissue elasticity. An increase in tissue elasticity occurs as muscle temperature increases due to an increase in blood flow.

Why does massaging an injury feel good? ›

This helps to break up scar tissue that forms following an injury and reduce tension in muscle and tissue. It may also promote faster healing by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation.

Can chiropractors get rid of knots? ›

Muscle knots often result from joint dysfunction and a restricted range of motion in the body. To address this, chiropractors will adjust your joints and restore your range of motion using hands-on chiropractic manipulation techniques. Gentle stretching also reduces muscle tension, allowing muscle knots to relax.

How long does it take to get rid of muscle knots? ›

Usually within a week or two a muscle knot will resolve on its own. Getting a massage is one option to help speed up recovery when you have muscle knots.

What causes knots in your back? ›

Injuries from overuse, heavy lifting or repetitive motions. Poor posture, which often results from a sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. Tension from mental and emotional stress. Direct injury such as a break, strain, tear, twist or strain.

Can a muscle knot be permanent? ›

Some of these lumps can reduce with treatment (if seen quick), but the longer it sits there untreated the more likely it will become permanent!

What are the knots in my neck at the base of my skull? ›

FACT: These “knots” are technically called “trigger points.” Unlike a “muscle spasm” which is a very active contraction of the entire muscle, trigger points are a more specific small part of a muscle. Trigger points often “refer” pain to other parts of our bodies… sometimes quite far away.

What happens when a trigger point is released? ›

How does trigger point release (or therapy) work. Trigger point releases relax your muscles and reduce pain by disrupting the core positive feedback loop. This can be done at any of the stages. For example, massage will help relax the muscles, and increase blood flow which helps remove waste products.

Is sports massage good for knots? ›

Sports massage can offer symptomatic relief for muscle tightness, stiffness, chronic muscle knots (myofascial trigger points), tension, back pain, rotator cuff injuries, sciatica and other aches and pains. If you are playing sport it's also great for aiding recovery and preventing injury.

What type of massage is good for sports injuries? ›

Deep tissue massage: Deep tissue massage is one of the best treatments for tendonitis. Combining firm pressure and slow strokes, this massage technique reaches the deeper layers of muscle and fascia to treat chronic pain and encourage repair & recovery.

What are the effects of massage on sports performance? ›

The physical effects of sports massage

Increased localised blood circulation and temperature, during massage help the tissues become more pliable. This all helps restore flexibility and repeated bouts of stretching may lead to changes in connective tissue, plus an increase in the length of muscle fibres.

What are the benefits of sports physiotherapy? ›

In interviews with athletes on the role of the sports physiotherapist, the following four themes emerged:
  • Injury treatment.
  • Injury prevention.
  • Rehabilitation.
  • Performance enhancement.

What are the benefits of the sports massage Association? ›

Aims of the SMA
  • Establish and maintain minimum standards for soft tissue therapy training.
  • Give confidence to the general and sporting public, the medical profession and government agencies that Soft Tissue Therapists are suitably trained to provide a quality service.
  • Hold a National Register for Soft Tissue Therapists.

What are the 6 main functions of sports massage? ›

Here are 6 great benefits of sports massage:
  • Helps Increase Flexibility. As an athlete, you strive to do your best. ...
  • Speeds Up Recovery. Sports massage improves your blood circulation. ...
  • Increases Supply of Oxygen and Nutrients. ...
  • Helps Eliminate By-Products of Exercise. ...
  • More Relaxed, Focused, and Clearer Mind. ...
  • Reduces Pain.
Apr 10, 2017

Does stress cause knots in your neck? ›

We absolutely know it is true, stress causes knots. Some people hold their tension in their shoulders, others their neck, others their back, but if you've ever been to a good massage therapist for recurrent knots, odds are they've talked to you about stress reduction, and it probably made perfect sense.

How often should you get a massage for knots? ›

To keep your body in good condition and maintain health, we recommend getting a massage every 3-4 weeks. This will help to prevent injury, pain, and tension build-up in the muscle fibers, as well as address any other issue before it becomes serious.

Do shoulder knots ever go away? ›

Usually within a week or two a muscle knot will resolve on its own. You can also help speed the process of recovery.

What diseases cause muscle knots? ›

Myofascial pain is a common syndrome. If you have myofascial pain syndrome, you may feel pain and tenderness in muscles in a certain area of your body. This pain and tenderness is often related to one or more “trigger points.” To the touch, trigger points feel like small bumps, nodules or knots in your muscle.

Can muscle knots cause damage? ›

While muscle knots are common, they are not completely harmless. If a muscle knot is so severe that it causes intense pain, it may be tearing at micro fibers of muscle tissue. With time, this tearing can cause scarring, and the tissue loses elasticity, which is part of why the body is so flexible.

Are muscle knots inflammation? ›

Swelling or inflammation

Muscle knots can make your muscles feel tight and contracted, even when you're trying to relax. The affected area can even become inflamed or swollen.

How do you get rid of a chronic knot in your shoulder? ›

How to Treat Muscle Knots
  1. Ice and heat. Most muscle pain responds well to alternating ice and heat. ...
  2. Trigger point massage. Sometimes, firm pressure encourages your muscle to release. ...
  3. Professional massage. A massage with a professional massage therapist might be helpful.
Jun 22, 2021

Can stress cause muscle knots? ›

The physical, emotional and spiritual are all connected and interrelated in the human body. That is why anxiety and prolonged stress not only cause mental symptoms but can also lead to physical ailments such as muscle knots, tension or stiffness.

Do knots pop when massaged? ›

This popping or crunching feeling is breaking down what has built up, the body is then more able to flush out these toxins. Some clients may wince at this feeling others describe it as a 'good pain' and it instantly feels better once this has been done.

Can a massage gun remove knots? ›

A massage gun can also help to work out knots in one particular area pre-workout. “After an active warmup on the bike, for instance, you can run the device over any area that still feels tight for 10 seconds or so, two to three times, to give it a little extra attention,” she says.

How do Chiropractors get rid of knots? ›

Muscle knots often result from joint dysfunction and a restricted range of motion in the body. To address this, chiropractors will adjust your joints and restore your range of motion using hands-on chiropractic manipulation techniques. Gentle stretching also reduces muscle tension, allowing muscle knots to relax.

What happens when a muscle knot won't release? ›

Untreated muscle knots can cause chronic pain and lead to other health issues. See your health care provider if you've taken measures to relieve your muscle pain, but it persists. You should also call your doctor if pain becomes severe and is interfering with your daily life and well-being.

Can massage therapists feel your energy? ›

Yes, a massage therapist can feel your energy when giving you a massage. Clients release energy throughout the massage. You store your emotions, memories, and thoughts inside you, and massage allows them to come up and be released. That is why massage therapists may feel fatigued when working on clients.

Do Tight muscles cause knots? ›

Those tight bands of muscles we refer to as muscle knots or trigger points. A muscle knot can develop for several reasons: Intense exercise in the affected area of the body. Muscle strain.

What causes trigger knots? ›

An acute muscle injury or continual muscle stress may lead to the development of trigger points. For example, a spot within or near a strained muscle may become a trigger point. Repetitive motions and poor posture also may increase your risk. Stress and anxiety.


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