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Are you all tied up in knots?

Pressure Points


I wrote this article six months ago and had so many people respond to it, I thought it would be good to present it again for those who missed it the first time.

As I mentioned before, at least 90% of the clients that come to me for massage are looking for relief from pain in their upper traps, neck and shoulders.  As I palpate their upper traps and in between the shoulder blades, every time… without fail, I find dense nodules that cause the client pain when I press into it.  I get asked all the time as I work on a knot, “What is that?” What causes that?” A simple explanation: it is a tight ball of muscle (muscle spasm) that has developed from an over worked muscle.  Contrary to how it sounds, it is not tissue tied up like a bow tie or a slip knot.  Most of these knots are stress related.  Other common causes could be the result of trauma such as sports injury or auto accident.  It could be caused from sustained bad posture, such as, working at a desk eight hours a day or driving long distances.  It could be caused by constantly carrying a heavy purse or back pack on your shoulder or carrying a suit case or brief case.  These tender nodules aren’t confined to just the upper body alone but occur throughout the body and extremities.

A knot is scientifically known as a myofascial trigger point.  These knots or trigger points can also radiate pain to other parts of the body.  For example, trigger points in the neck and shoulder muscles can refer pain to the head causing tension headaches.  Trigger points around the shoulder blade can refer pain or numbness down the arm and into the hand and fingers.  Trigger points in the glutes can cause lower back pain.

Trigger Point therapy directly aids in the reduction of knots with a massage technique called sustained compression. Translation: the massage therapist locates the knot and applies deep compression with a thumb, fingers, or elbow and holds it until the pain and discomfort dissipates (usually 20-60 seconds and is repeated several times).  

Trigger Point therapy can be painful at first but with patience and time, if done correctly, it can be the difference between chronic pain caused by these myofascial trigger points and a freer, more mobile, happier you.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and speaking from experience, I know that any hard working mother is loaded with stress knots in her neck and shoulders. The gift of massage is a great way to express your appreciation and show that you care about her well-being!

Dale Martin is a local massage therapist located in “Old Towne” Tehachapi on W Valley Blvd. If you already schedule regular massages, that’s great! Keep it up! If you are new to massage therapy or you are looking for a therapist, Dale would love to help you with your needs. You can call Dale at 805-748-5813 to set up an appointment.


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