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The What and How of Muscle Knots and Why Posture Plays a Role


Have you ever had a muscle knot? Thousands of people have had a muscle knot but probably thought it was something else. That pain in your back or the dull, achy, tight spot on your gluteus maximus that just won’t go away is causing you all kinds of problems. Muscle knots can feel so awful you worry that something more insidious is taking place. 


[National Posture Institute] The What and How of Muscle Knots and Why Posture Plays a Role


Muscle knots, or myofascial trigger points are common, but hurt oh so much. Our muscles are fascinating mechanisms that are involved in just about everything and that means sometimes we put them under stress through our activities of daily living or just our general lifestyle and pain eventually follows if we aren’t paying attention.


Muscle knots aren’t actually knots in the muscle; muscle fibers or bands of tissue called fascia become tense and tight, stick together, and become adhered. These “knots” can feel like nodules or small and hard lumps, and when pressed can sometimes feel like they’re being shifted around. Regardless, it’s painful. The area usually loses some mobility and flexibility, and aches. Pain can range from dull to persistent.


The trigger points or “knots”, are considered either active or latent. Active points don’t need to be touched to be triggered while latent points are painful when pressed. Muscle knots can develop just about anywhere muscle or fascia exist. It’s possible that when pressing on the trigger point the pain will spread to nearby muscles. The muscle might even twitch when the point is pressed.


Muscle knots mostly take place in the back, calves, shoulders, and neck, but the symptoms range from poor postural habits, like consistently sitting in a certain posture while at your work desk, to diet, lack of hydration, stress and tension, and injuries related to repetitive motions and lifting. Muscle knots can also cause additional problems like jaw and lower back pain, ringing in the ears, and tension headaches.


It should come as no shock that poor posture and lifestyle are the major causes of this problem. People who eat a diet poor in vitamins and minerals, practice poor postural habits, and who are sedentary will more than likely experience a muscle knot.

Dealing with muscle knots is thankfully easier than it sounds. Rest is the first and foremost of the remedies for muscle knots. Stretching, massage, and exercise also make the list. Applying a heat pad or an ice pack to the affected area can also assist with reducing the problem. To prevent muscle knots from occurring or to reduce the likelihood, pay attention to your posture and your postural habits. Also, diet, hydration, taking breaks, reducing stress, and being careful to avoid injuries are all necessary.


Are you surprised that posture made this list? That’s why NPI consistently tries to educate professionals on proper exercise technique, posture habits, and activities of daily living. Our NPI-Certified Posture Specialists™ know how to assess, analyze, and correct posture, and if you aren’t a specialist with us, this is your call to action to join our growing posture family around the globe.


Here’s the program: NPI-Certified Posture Specialist™

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