When one states that they have a “knot in their muscle” we are usually referring to a pain in your leg, arm, back, shoulders, neck etc. These are actually known as trigger points. This is a small patch of contracted, stagnant muscle tissue that has seemed to form a “ball” like patch in your muscle build. Instead of having a muscle spasm throughout the whole muscle, this is just a certain piece of muscle in spasm.
Trigger Point Facts:
1) most common cause of undiagnosed and unexplained aches and pains
2) cause stubborn or recurrent headaches, neck cricks, and backaches
3) complicate all other injuries
4) usually come after other kinds of pain or with injuries
5) many times begin to overshadow the original problem
Therapy for “trigger points” or “knots”:
2) Stretching (methods of release)
6) Consistency (in doing your therapy)
HEAT is NOT for fresh injuries that is what ice is for!
Trigger points are known to be aggravated by stress. Heat relaxes the muscle and body as a whole. Overall relaxation reduces resting muscle tone. There can be “trigger points” without spasms, many people live in a state of near spasm, where the muscles are always clenched and/or exhausted causing tightness.
Now you may ask why my muscles knots are winning…I have severe shin splints. Besides the fact that my legs cannot handle the pounding of running on the hard surfaces we train on, I have severe muscle knots in my calves, causing all around tightness in the lower half of my legs. So lets make this clear. My feet, ankles, calves, and shins are consistently throbbing and/or irritated. My trainer works to release the knots in my calves daily through heat and massage therapy. During this time of heat he emphasizes to relax and regulate your breathing habits in a relaxed mindset. After heating, he works on releasing my muscle knots through pressure and message therapy. Normally one would thing a massage feels good. NO! WRONG! This is the most painful part of my day, is after workouts in the training room getting a calf massage. Working on releasing these knots is done on the daily. Remember what I said about staying consistent in your therapy. Consistency helps muscle memory through repetition. One would usually think the logical thing to do in this situation is to just stop running all together. But when running is your love and life, to stop running just isn’t an option. There are other means of training I can do in reference to cross training, that will take the stress from running off my body. So my next few weeks I will learn to become best friends with heat, ice, bikes, swimming pools, elliptical, anything other than a track. Not what I would like to be doing half way through this season but if it is going to get my further in my journey to compete competitively within out conference I will do anything it takes.