Sometimes an obvious trauma such as a fall, or a hit during sports, cause muscle knots or trigger points to form. Most often, though, muscle knots are slowly developing without us even realizing it. Below are some of the most common ways muscle knots, trigger points and pain develop.
Have you introduced new exercises to your routine? Starting a new exercise using unfamiliar muscles is great for developing the larger weight bearing muscles but the small stabilizer muscles can get easily damaged. The people with these types of injuries often say “I’m in pretty decent shape. I have no idea what I could have done.”
Have you overused the muscle? This can easily happen on a day we have lots of energy or motivation and we disregard muscle fatigue. Holding a specific posture for a long time can even cause these this type of problem. It is simply anything that creates more of a demand on the muscle than it can bear. You may have spent four hours contorted under the sink fixing the plumbing. It could be that you just spent the day moving or painting. Maybe you were just taught a new yoga pose and you held it a bit too long.
Have you engaged in repeatedly doing the same motion over multiple days? Perhaps you started a landscaping project at home and stopped when you feel a bit sore each day. Then, by the third day of digging dirt, since your muscles were still fatigued from the previous days’ work, you become increasingly vulnerable to injury. Or maybe you’re a cyclist or runner and you want to squeeze in an extra couple days of training the week before a race; on the last day you injure yourself and have to withdraw. It could even be that you just joined the gym and you are determined you are going to do the elliptical machine every day. On the first day you might get sore, on the second even more and a bit tight, then on the third day injury happens.
Did you know that sometimes muscle pain and knots can even occur after muscle use? This commonly happens when we feel the soreness after injury. The muscle is trying to pump fresh blood into the sore muscles to aid in its repair and then we go to sleep. While it is true that a great deal of our recovery happen while we are asleep, our blood volume also decreases. When this happens, the injury gets starved of blood and starts to shorten and tighten.
All of these may not create any pain at first, but no matter which of the above methods happens, we end up with harder, shorter, tighter muscles. This tightening causes the muscular rubber-band to pull, creating even more stress on the tendons. Not only is this tightening happening on the immediate muscle affected but more importantly on a chain of muscular connections, causing a specific vector of stress. An injury always appears at the weakest point along that vector of stress. Although the initial injury might of happened in our leg in the quad, the pain you feel might show up in the lower back. It may even happen over such a long period of time you no longer remember initially injuring your leg.
A well-placed acupuncture needle can quickly release the bound tissue. It is then up to the therapist to make sure enough blood flows through the formerly bound up tissue so that the area does not immediately tighten up again.
Putting a needle into the tissue and getting it to release is simply not enough.
Most of the time if you do not open the entry/exit areas of pain while also working to flush the formerly bound up tissue with blood, oxygen and energy the muscles will just clench back up within 24-72 hours. That is why during acupuncture treatment I will often spend so much time, both before and after I needle, working the area where the trigger/ashi point was and also above and below.
To learn more and read about ways you can do to help yourself please read my previous article “Are Trigger Points Ruining Your Life?“
At Acupuncture Pain and Stress Center you will get more than a typical acupuncture treatment. Our style of acupuncture enhances the effects of needling by combining it with tuina massage, stretching and orthopedic movements to give you quicker and more effective results.
Our goal since 2010 has been to provide Raleigh, NC and its surrounding areas with the highest quality healthcare and compassionate patient-focused services. In addition to completion of a 4 year graduate program, we maintain a strong commitment to continuing education and ongoing research which ensures that we have the resources to provide you with exceptional, results-oriented acupuncture treatments.
If you keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing is your issue going to stay the same or worsen? Do something different and schedule your first appointment to determine if you are a good candidate for treatment. We pride ourselves on personalized treatments to get you results quickly so you can get back to enjoying life and doing the things you love.
Call (919) 260-4104 now, and I will be happy to answer any of your questions and get you booked for an appointment.