What is a muscle knot? Why does it happen? What you can do to relieve it.
Updated: Aug 12
Know that sharp ache you get after an intense workout that is usually in your neck, shoulders, or upper back? Or sometimes after a long day in the office it can be difficult just to move your shoulders without feeling pain. That may be a muscle knot.
Muscle knots are points within a muscle where contracted fibres are unable to release, or, as the dictionary puts it: “highly irritable localised spots of exquisite tenderness in a nodule in palpable taunt bands of muscle tissue.”
This is a very common problem for both active and sedentary people, muscle knots—technically called Myofascial Trigger Points—feel like a small knot to your fingertips. These knots can range from the size of a pinhead in smaller muscles to the size of your thumb in larger muscles.
If you are developing muscle knots frequently from your workouts where you are lifting weights through your shoulders, neck, or upper, or middle back muscles, the likely cause is a postural issue. If you are working long office hours and by the end of the day your muscles are aching then this is also a postural issue. For example, if you have rounded shoulders from sitting in a office, your back muscles are already overstretched because your shoulders are rounded forwards. When you then activate your back muscles, that muscle will be stretched even further. This over-stretching combined with intense contractions can overstimulate your muscles causing those nasty muscle knots to form.