What is a Muscle Knot & What Caused It?

The Benefits & Joys of Massage

by Elizabeth Byrd-Carlson, Licensed Massage Therapist at Alternatives 4 Health

What causes muscle knots and how can we find relief from them? Those knots you feel in your muscles can be caused by stress or injury. Help is on the way once you are in the capable hands of your Massage Therapist. Because of their experience and training in the muscles of the body, massage therapists are the natural choice for much needed relief from knots and tension.


Muscle knots are actually inflamed, hyperirritable spots of muscle in spasm. Knots will occur in the muscle or connective tissue. They can harbor toxins, cause pain and inhibit healthy blood flow.

Several factors can be at fault for causing knots:

  • Overuse, like from heavy lifting or repetitive motions
  • Tension from emotional stressors
  • Injury such as a strain, sprain or break
  • Sedentary lifestyle or poor posture


Knots can end up forming anywhere in your body where you have muscle or connective tissue.

There are a few very common areas that can develop muscle knots:

  • Shoulders and neck
  • Lower back and hips
  • Calves and shins


Swedish and deep tissue massage focuses on soft tissue manipulation of your muscles, tendons and ligaments. This manipulation interrupts the toxic cycle happening in your tissues, breaking up those bands of spasm and allowing proper blood flow. Your body is then able to carry away any toxins that may be present and begin the healing process. Once the knot has been treated, you will feel relief and reduction in pain levels much further than the area of the knot itself. People who receive regular massage therapy sessions may enjoy lower blood pressure, reduction of migraine headaches, reduction of premenstrual symptoms, lessening of the feelings of stress, and an overall feeling of wellbeing and contentment.


After a massage there are a few things you can do to boost the benefits you received!

H – Hydrate! An extra glass or two of water helps your body continue to flush toxins.

E – Eat some fresh fruits and veggies that aid in detoxification, like berries, apples, pumpkin and spinach.

A – Alcohol consumption should be kept at a minimum in the hours after a massage. The effects could be magnified and leave you feeling ill.

L – Listen to your body; it usually has important things to say! If you feel like resting, do so! If you feel energized, go for it!

Here are three simple stress relieving stretches you can do almost anywhere!

  1. Shoulder Shrug: Begin with the simple gesture of shrugging your shoulders. Hold your shoulders up for a couple of seconds and then slowly roll them back. This gets the blood flowing to your shoulders and neck.
  2. Ear to shoulder neck stretch: Gently tilt your head as though you want to bring your right ear to your right shoulder until you feel the stretch. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  3. Lower back stretch: While seated in a chair and keeping your spine in alignment, bend forward from your hips and reach towards the floor. Do this gently and slowly, exhaling as you move. Aim to touch your toes, but it is fine if you cannot. Just rest your hands on your shins or ankles. Hold for 15 seconds and slowly sit back up, inhaling as you go.