Everything you need to know about muscle knots and how you can treat them at home

Muscle knots might not seem like a big deal, but they can be actually quite painful. Here’s how you can deal with them.
muscle knots
Don’t take those bumpy muscle knots lightly. They can give rise to swollen lymph nodes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Updated: 27 Apr 2020, 12:10 pm IST
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Ladies, your bumpy life would probably be incomplete without a few bumps here and there on your body too. Jokes apart, these muscular bumps or knots can be quite painful.

“Myofascial trigger points or muscle knots are the bump-like areas that can be painful,” explains Dr Akhilesh Yadav, senior head for transplant and joint replacement at the Centre for Knee and Hip Care, Ghaziabad.

“They happen when the muscle fibres and tissue bands called fascia become tight and tense and mostly occur in the neck, shoulders, back, and the hip area,” he adds.

But why do muscle knots happen?
Factors like stress, anxiety, unhealthy eating habits, injuries, overexertion, long working hours, sitting in the same position for a long time, and dehydration are to be blamed for muscle knots.

According to Prof. Dr. Ali Irani, head of department, Physiotherapy, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Centre, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital:

Muscle knots are characterized by symptoms like muscle pain, muscle tightness, inadequate muscle strength, poor muscle performance, irritability, and fatigue.

Taking precautionary measures during a workout can save you from muscle knots
Come on ladies, you work so hard on your health and body. So, you really don’t want a muscle knot jinxing your killer workout routine or simply adding more problems to your huge list, right? Try following these steps recommended by Dr Yadav and Prof Dr Irani during a workout and avoid muscle knots:

1. Kickstart and finish your workout with gentle stretching: While stretching during the beginning of a workout can prepare the muscle to take the load, doing it afterwards can help release the tension from the body and reduce your chances of developing muscle knots.

muscle knots
A good stretching session before and after your workout can save you from muscle knots. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

However, you’ve got to be gentle while stretching instead of simply pushing your body into difficult positions which can cause pain or discomfort.

2. Engage in aerobic exercises: Aerobic exercises like skipping, jumping jacks, or any other arm movements that involve the muscles in your shoulders and neck can help prevent muscle knots in the shoulders and neck. This stretches the muscles and helps in increasing blood supply.

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3. Maintaining your body temperature: It is important to maintain your body temperature while working out in order to avoid muscle knots. Thus, a warm up before workout should also be followed with a cool-down post workout.

4. Stay hydrated: Consuming water throughout the day as well as sipping on it in moderation during the workout can avoid dehydration and also help you maintain your body temperature.

muscle knots
Keeping yourself hydrated is also very important if you want to avoid muscle knots. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But if you’ve already developed muscle knots, these home remedies can help
“The treatment procedure of muscle knots is a time-consuming process, but if the condition is not severe, then certain home remedies can help relieve your pain,” Dr Yadav says.

He recommends practicing deep breathing and slight stretching during breaks at work to reduce stress and anxiety and to relax the muscles. He also suggests applying an ice pack or a heat pack on the affected area to increase the blood flow there.

“You can gently massage the trigger points to loosen tighten muscle fibres and maintain active movement for muscle relaxation for relief,” adds Prof Dr Irani.

What if home remedies aren’t helping your case of muscle knots?
“Sometimes a muscle knot can be a serious medical condition known as swollen lymph nodes. However, the condition is accompanied by other symptoms like cough, cold,” warns Dr Yadav.

“If left untreated, they can cause chronic pain and lead to several other health problems,” he adds. Hence, the best thing to do here is to let doctors diagnose and treat your problem as doing so at the right time can help prevent serious medical conditions.

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