What are knots?
Well, a ‘knot’ isn’t actually a physiological ‘thing’ as such.
Generally ‘knot’ is a term which has been adopted to explain a specific area of discomfort, pain or tightness within in the musculoskeletal system.
As therapists, we approach these areas to manipulate with and work with the tissues in different ways based on what is actually causing the irritability.
Your ‘knots’ could be
– A trigger point
– Scar tissue
– An irritable anatomical structure in it’s entirety which has been over worked, for example by poor posture and therefore becomes tight or sore.
Most commonly, we see this in the shoulders where a tendon gets a lot of abuse by modern life and the postures we adopt. When it becomes thickened and inflamed it can be incredibly painful when pressure is applied; e.g someone squeezes your shoulders, and often feel like a bulbus mass.
You may have been told in the past that you ‘have a lot of knots’ or ‘your shoulders are very knotty’
This isn’t particularly helpful, as it could translate as a number of things happening within the tissues.
As a result, we feel encouraged to go at these ‘knots’ with massage guns, trigger point balls or by asking a friend to dig their fingers and thumbs into these areas and try to ‘get rid’ of them.
In actual fact, you could be trying to ‘get rid’ of a structure which should be there.
I am a big advocate of self massage. So, what should your aim be?
Self massage of an area of discomfort should be with the aim to work the area with reasonable pressure to relax the tissues and increase blood flow to the area.
You should never be trying to remove, or get rid of ‘something.’
The only ‘thing’ we want to remove is build up of toxins and congestion within that area, which can be done without going hell for leather.
Your body will always tell you how deep to go, and you should always feel relief.
The applied pressure shouldn’t be causing you to hold your breath, gritting your teeth, clenching your fists or breaking into hot/cold sweats.
Usually what you’re feeling will be trigger or tender points, which we’ll address in another post just for them!