What Are Muscle “Knots” and How Should They Be Treated?

This is in response to an article I just read in the NY Times.

According to an article in the NY Times regarding muscle knots,  “no one knows definitively what muscle knots are made of.”

This article states that experts believe knots, are “specific areas of contraction within the muscle fiber,” (Rob Grieve, a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at the University of the West of England in Bristol, England).

Mr. Grieve’s research results state that “the knots seem to develop when a muscle tenses repeatedly “and “are normally not caused by a specific, traumatic event,” “but by muscle overuse or faulty biomechanics.” (This is also known as slouching).

Mr. Grieve’s statement is something that I and many of my colleagues disagree with.  Knots have shown in several studies to be scar tissue and adhesions.  Knots can be caused by trauma, muscle overworking and strains. Over time these adhesions prevent muscles from contracting and stretching to their potential leading to discomfort and immobility. -Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article continues to state that “scientists from Australia and the United States pointed out that muscle knots rarely show up on scans, leaving researchers with “no scientific basis” for believing that knotted muscle fibers make us sore. Instead, the researchers contend, the soreness is likely neural, involving the brain and irritated nerve endings”.

Yes, the nerves are irritated along with the muscle fibers.  Doctors can feel such fibers and of course any soreness that is felt in the body is ALWAYS a nerve.  That is our sensory mechanism in our body!  Muscles move, they don’t send pain signals.  Nerves do!  That is why Chiropractors study them and understand how the brain, spinal cord and nerves work so that we can eliminate the cause of discomfort. – Dr. Amie Gregory, DC, CCEP

The article goes on to say “Regardless of the possible cause, most therapists feel that the best treatment for purported muscle knots is to vigorously massage the sore spot or use a small, hard ball (such as those used for lacrosse) or a foam roller”.  – Well I do agree with that!  Finally!

Suggestions of injections were mentioned, but this is only a bandaid for the problem.  The pain will go away but continued usage of a body part that is injured will only lead to a long term problem that will not go away unless the CAUSE is treated.  Chiropractors find that cause and treat it allowing the body to heal without putting needles through your skin.  I think that is so much better than going and getting a shot every 3 months.

Chiropractors deal with sports injuries, car accidents and postural issues daily.  We can help people recover from muscle injuries and keep them functioning properly leading to a high quality of life.