Regular massage treatments are ideal for stress relief, reducing pain, and relaxation. However, different types of massage use different techniques to help you achieve your goals of having a massage. Knots are bump-like areas of muscle known as myofascial trigger points and can be either active or latent. Latent muscle knots only become painful when you touch them while active muscle knots are always painful even without touching.
This article looks at the different types of massage that can help get rid of knots to determine what works best for your situation.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage involves the use of slow strokes and firm pressure to reach deeper layers of the muscles and fascia. The amount of pressure applied can help with painful muscle knots and contracted areas including leg muscle tightness and chronic back pains. Deep tissue massage reduces muscle tension and breaks up scar tissues that form after an injury. It reduces the inflammation around muscle knots and promotes faster healing by increasing the flow of blood around these areas.
Do not expect to feel relaxed during the therapy session when going for deep tissue massage since most people tend to feel like they are being tortured on purpose. However, it is important to talk to your massage therapist beforehand so that they can customize the treatment based on what works best for you. Generally, the type of pressure applied by your massage therapist is still enough to stretch stiff muscles or release any newly formed knots.
Trigger Point Massage
A trigger point causes referral pain to other parts of the body and usually originates from a constricted area within the muscle tissue. Muscle knots either can be painful upon touch or can cause persistent pain around a specific area on your body. Trigger point massage uses cycles of isolated pressure and releases to alleviate the source of pain. The pain around a muscle knot can either be a dull ache or sharp and intense. Trigger point massage aims to ease the tension around constricted areas in the muscles to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
It is also important to participate actively during the session through deep breathing and identifying areas of discomfort and intensity of the pain. Many patients usually experience relief and a decrease in pain after their first treatment. Regular trigger point massage can help manage pain.
Sports massage involves the manipulation of the soft muscle tissue to improve knots or injuries caused by active engagement in sports. Unlike deep tissue massage, a sports massage therapist uses more specified and broader medical knowledge and techniques to manipulate the muscles safely and efficiently. Muscles can produce lactic acid in larger quantities, which may solidify to form knots. The techniques used in sports massage helps to drain the lactic acid and other waste products from the body. This, in turn, helps to alleviate knots and speed up recovery of muscles. Knots hinder the flexibility of muscles, which may lead to poor performance in various sporting activities.
Treating Painful Muscle Knots
Muscle knots can be painful upon contraction, compression or stretching of the muscle. They can also be referred to as trigger points because they can refer pain to areas that are more distant to the knot. Latent trigger points often go unnoticed unless pressed upon directly while active trigger points involve referral pain patterns with persistent pain, fatigue, and a sensation of numbness.
The type of benefit you can get from massage may vary depending on the severity of your muscle knots as well as individual preferences. You can loosen painful knots before having a massage to reduce the intensity of pain you may experience during the session. A combination of cold and heat can help reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain caused by muscle knots. Some of the home remedies involve using a cold compress for 10 minutes to constrict the blood vessel and reduce swelling. The heat helps to relieve pain by relaxing and loosening stiff muscles. Other alternative treatments for muscle knots involve stretching exercises, and taking a break from activities causing the knots or increase pain.
Muscle knots can cause chronic pain and other health issues when left untreated. It is important to contact your health care provider if you have taken several measures to get rid of muscle knots but you have not noticed any results. All the above types of massage are ideal for knots but what works best for you may depend on the intensity of pain or level of engagement in sporting activities that cause your muscle knots.