In modern day life, we inevitably find ourselves doing things with our bodies they simply weren’t designed to do, like sitting hunched over our iPads or taking long car journeys, where we end up tensely gripping the wheel over an extended period of time as we concentrate on the road.
It’s no wonder we end up with tense and knotted muscles in our shoulders and upper back that cause us pain and can limit our mobility.
A knot – or myofascial trigger point - is a tight section in the muscle. There is still a lot of debate in the literature and a single cause has not been found. However clinically we all know we get tight and tender spots in our muscles when they are working hard or are used a lot! Myofascial trigger points have a special property called ‘referred pain’ which means a trigger point in one muscle can create pain in another area.
Besides lactic acid build up, researchers also hypothesis that static postures can causes knots due to the prolonged contraction of muscle fibers. A knot forms when a muscle goes into spasm and then stays stuck in this tense state. When a muscle stays flexed and tense, it becomes painful. The size of a knot will vary depending on the number of muscle fibers involved.
How to relieve the pain of knotted muscles
Deep tissue massage is highly effective at easing tense muscles and so relieving pain. Massage has been shown to increase the blood flow to a muscle and therefore will bring oxygen to the area and take away waste products. The benefits can last for an hour after the massage and spread to adjacent areas too!
You can easily target the areas of pain yourself with our new bac< Easy Applicator. Some users have even described it as ‘like having a physio in your hands’.
Designed by experts at The London Spine Clinic, our patented massager will help alleviate and prevent pain in the shoulders and upper back by allowing you to apply pressure exactly where it is needed. It’s been ergonomically designed to enable easy reach for the user who can give themselves deep tissue massage to loosen tense and knotted muscles.
With a unique rollball head, which can be used dry or switched to the pre-filled massage head that dispenses massage cream or gel, the East Applicator can be effortlessly glided across the skin without any dragging or friction.
As well as relaxing the muscle fibers and releasing muscle knots, massage can also help release endorphins and other soothing chemical mediators that reduce anxiety, stress and pressure in the region.
Massage your back several times a day in order to train your muscles to relax or if you have several painful knots, visit a healthcare professional such as physiotherapist or chiropractor.
For the most effective release of tension and knotted muscles, you could also use heat compression in addition to massage, as the warmth will loosen your muscle fibers, reduce swelling and soothe your pain. As your pain lessens, you will be able to start exercising again, starting with gentle stretches and building up from there.
Better still, try to avoid knots as much as possible. We will all get knots from time to time but little things like remaining hydrated and not hunching your back and shoulders at work or school will limit their frequency.