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What Is a Muscle Knot and How Do We Reduce the Pain?

Muscle Knots, also known as trigger points or adhesions, tend to be very common

among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. Essentially these are areas of tension that

develop within our muscles from various types of stress we put on the body. This is most

commonly seen due to physical overuse and/or injury. However, a sedentary lifestyle can be an

equal culprit. When a muscle is stretched out too much (like slouching forward behind a desk 8 hours a day) it will respond by going into spasm so it can’t be stretched anymore. Trigger points can be found in any muscle throughout the body.


- The muscle is tender to the touch.

- Range of motion is decreased.

- Pain. Active trigger points will create referral patterns in which pain site and

pain source are two different areas. Latent trigger points feel dull and achy

directly on the focal point.


- Stay adequately hydrated.

- Move frequently.

- Use a foam roller and/or tennis ball or lacrosse ball regularly.

- Incorporate dynamic stretches prior to exercise to improve mobility.

- Finish workouts with static and active-isolated stretches.


1) Foam roll until you feel a tender spot that feels like a bruise. Once here, apply

pressure with the roller for 20-30 seconds to break up the knot before moving on.

Spend roughly 5 minutes finding tender spots and working them out. The

importance of consistent self-massage work should not be overlooked, as it helps

promote long-term muscle tissue QUALITY.

2) Stretching

3) Ice. Take 20 minutes during your cool-down. This will help alleviate muscle spasms

and reduce swelling following intense training. Just be sure to have a barrier

between the ice and your skin.

Implement these treatment protocols in the order listed. Break up the knots with the

foam roller. Stretch the muscle while it is more pliable and has increased range of motion.

Finally, finish with icing to reduce inflammation in the muscle. Remember your body’s ability to

recover and regenerate after exercise, especially as we age, is just as important as the actual


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