If you’re a regular to massage, the concept of a muscle knot is probably something you’re well aware of, but what are they exactly? And what’s the relationship between a muscle knot and a trigger point?
What’s a trigger point?
Trigger points are simply tender spots on your body that ‘trigger’ or cause discomfort. These tender spots are common and many of us have them, but for some people they can become really troublesome. They are common in hot-spots like the shoulders and neck, but they can crop up just about anywhere and in some people, they can cause a lot of pain.
A trigger point is like a ‘knot’ in your muscle or the fascia (the thin wrapping around each muscle), which is why they are often referred to as a muscle knot. To a massage therapist it feels like a hard contraction on the on the muscle fibers connected to it, like a tight band around the muscle. Trigger points in muscles are ‘myofascial trigger points’ – and there are other types of trigger point that can occur around the body, on your skin, ligaments and tendons, and on scar tissue.
How can you tell if you have a muscle knot or trigger point?
You’ll be able to tell where your own trigger points are; if you touch them with any kind of pressure you’ll notice they start to hurt, or hurt more. They are often situated close to problem areas for you as well. If you have back issues, your trigger points are likely to be around your back, neck and shoulders, although this isn’t always the case. The range of sensations you might feel from a trigger point can be quite wide, too; anything from intense pain to a dull, throbbing ache. Some people feel ‘pins and needles’ or numbness.
What causes trigger points to flare up? One theory is that they are related to some sort of muscular overload - if you’ve been working out too hard or overdoing it, or just not been taking care of your posture. Muscle fibers, or portions of them can stay contracted or become inflamed.
How are Trigger Points treated?
If you notice a sore spot and want to see a massage therapist for advice, we’d advise having a word with your medical adviser first just to make sure that any swelling or soreness is just down to muscular stress and nothing more serious.
Once you’ve been checked over, we can start to look at the problem and help you to heal it with massage.
A good massage therapist will be able to work on your trigger points and muscle knots, gently but firmly helping them relax and release. They can also help you with in-between treatment massage techniques to try at home that will ease any discomfort and help to prevent the muscle knots building up again.
Trigger points and tender spots can cause a huge amount of pain and discomfort, often restricting your movement and your ability to do the activities you want to. You don't have to put up with this pain though, with some action on your part you can be pain free!
Sometimes it can be confusing – you’re stressed and and your body is achy and everybody tells you that you need a good massage, but what type of massage should you get? There are so many options available, how do you know which one will suit you?
That’s where your massage therapist can help– if you’re not sure, just give us a call and we can help you find the perfect technique and style for your needs. If it’s your first massage, we can put you at ease and make sure you know exactly what to expect. You can also read through our FAQs for some more info. In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on some of the different types of massage we offer and what they can do for you.
This is one of the most popular massages – it’s absolutely great for getting rid of stress. It’s also a good one to try if you’re new to massage as it doesn’t work too deeply into your muscles and the techniques we use are all designed to relax. So what can you expect? Well, we use long, flowing strokes all over your body, combined with kneading, tapping and circular motions. We’ll also use oils or lotions to make the massage smoother, and feel great for you. If you’ve got tight muscles, aches and pains, we can increase the pressure a bit where you need it more.
Therapeutic massage is helpful if you’re experiencing muscle soreness, or issues like back pain or sciatica, and it can also give your circulation a boost as all the techniques are designed to help get blood pumping around your body. It's a deeper, more focused massage to address areas of chronic tension and pain. We will use more pressure, and might use our fists and forearms to lengthen your muscles, and release adhesions in your tissues. If you've got areas of concern that you need addressed, this is the massage for you.
Hot Stone Massage
This is a supremely relaxing massage where the therapist uses specially designed warmed stones to increase its effects. This one is an indulgent treatment that’s also great for first-timers. While you’re enjoying your massage, we carefully use the smooth, heated stones on different areas of your body. Unlike in all the pictures you see where the stones are just sitting on someone's back, we actually use them as part of the massage to help get deeper into any troublesome areas; the heat from the stones helps loosen the muscles even more. This one will leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
Deep Tissue Massage
This is more of a remedial massage than a relaxing one; ideal for anyone who is very active or has very tight muscles. It can feel uncomfortable as your therapist will work deeply into your muscles and connective tissues to release any tension in them. We will perform deep, slow strokes with our fists, forearms, and elbows. It can feel slightly painful although people tend to describe it as a ‘good hurt.' However, we pay close attention to your verbal and non-verbal signals. We will always adjust the pressure to your comfort! We want you to feel better, and if your muscles are clenching due to pain, that defeats the purpose of the treatment! You may feel a bit of soreness afterwards, especially if it’s your first deep tissue massage, but stretching and drinking plenty of water will help. Most people agree that it’s worth it as you’ll feel amazing afterwards!
Bella Terra Organic Spa and Shoppe in Evansville, Indiana. Sharing stories regarding healthy living, holistic wellness, green beauty and therapeutic massage.