From hunching over a computer for too long to neck tension from smartphone use, there are many muscle aches and pains that we deal with daily. But enduring or ignoring muscle pain can be unhealthy for you, as it could lead to further stress on your body and increase the risk of injury.
Before we go further, knots in the muscle are also commonly called trigger points. And they are caused when you tear or otherwise strain fascia, a science term for layers of muscle. These knots prevent those certain muscles from moving at their optimum level. And can cause further pain and other complications if left untreated.
So what is a person to do in order to get rid of these adhesions, or knots? And what if you can’t afford to see a massage therapist for relief? Well, the good news is that therapist-quality massages are achievable at home and with very little equipment. Simply applying pressure to the sore or aching area is enough to release the trigger point and ease the pain associated with muscle knots.
Here are some steps to take that will help to melt those trigger points, or knots, away.
- Locate the sore area.
Depending on where the sore area is, you may or may not need further equipment. While it is possible to massage one’s own feet. It can be difficult to achieve the right amount of pressure on your lower back, or shoulders, etc. Which brings us to the next point.
- Locate the right equipment.
Before you start, you will need a few basic items, or a portable massager to help smooth out the kinks. Many people suggest a lacrosse ball or a foam roller for this purpose. There are also handheld massagers that were created for trigger point therapy and self-applied use. Many are medical-grade, cost-effective, and worthwhile to look into.
- Apply pressure.
If you are using a ball for a knot of pain in your back, lie on the floor facing upwards. Place the ball directly under your back’s trigger point, or wherever is sore. Roll around on the ball to find the concentration of pain. You will know when you’ve hit the trigger point. A foam roller can be used in much the same way for unreachable areas, such as the back. A handheld massager is effective in targeting stiffness in the base of the neck, legs, arms, and feet.
- Work out the tension.
When you have your massage tool on your trigger point, press on the sore area for a count of 20 to 30 seconds. You can also rub in small circles, or in strokes. Try to go with the direction of the muscle fiber, and be sure to avoid pressing down on bone. The massage should not feel painful. So moderate the pressure accordingly. If you find yourself gritting your teeth, you need to ease back.
How do you know if you have worked out the trigger point? Some people experience an actual feeling of immediate relief from muscle pain. Or lessened tension in that once-sore spot. For others, it takes some time for the feeling of lessened tension to settle in. Certainly, if you still feel tight after working on your various knots, there is no harm in continuing the massage.
The benefits of massage are not only restricted to relief from pain. According to Mayo Clinic Staff, massage therapy can help to reduce headaches and alleviate insomnia. Massage is also said to ease anxiety and some digestive disorders. But the blissful feeling that comes post-massage is enough to tip the scales if you’re still on the fence.
Being able to provide yourself with relief from muscle tension will increase your quality of life by leaps and bounds. Being pain-free is a worthwhile goal to fight for. You do not need to suffer from muscle pain. Take steps today to free yourself from muscle pain.
Image courtesy of [marin] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net