If you have been reading about spa, physical therapy and massage in Singapore, you might have encountered the terms “muscle tension”, “knots”, and “trigger points”. These terms may be confusing for many, so here’s a short guide on what these terms mean and what specific therapy you should get for these conditions.
Muscle tension, also known as muscle rigidity or stiffness, is a condition in which the muscles of the body cannot relax and remain contracted for a long period of time.
Muscle tension can be caused by stress. Any stressful event can cause muscle tension, be it mental, psychological, or physical stress. When we are stressed, our body produces high amounts of cortisol, which induces your muscles to become tense and tight. This the reason why people who are stressed often complain about having headaches, back aches, or neck pain.
Fatigue is also a common cause of muscle tension. It could be fatigue from intense exercise such as lifting heavy weights or fatigue from doing repetitive movements. These actions cause contraction that eventually wear and tear the muscles.
Muscle knots are bands of muscles that have tightened and contracted. These are hard and sensitive areas usually found in the back, neck, and shoulders. Muscle knots often have a hard bulge at the center known as the trigger point.
Muscle knots form when muscles stick together because of little movement throughout the day. The muscle fibers become stiff because they are intertwined, hence the term “muscle knot”.
Muscle knots are caused by psychological stress, bad posture, fatigue, heavy lifting, repetitive movements, sleep disturbances, and joint problems.
Trigger points are the central regions of muscle knots. These points are highly sensitive and irritable areas that may cause pain when compressed, contracted, or stretched.
Trigger points do not always cause pain, but they can disrupt normal movement by causing stiffness or weakness to the neighboring muscles.
Trigger points cause referred pain, a type of pain in which the sensation is felt on areas other than the source of pain.
Trigger points can also cause dull ache, feeling of heaviness, twitching of the eyelids, headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Trigger points form because of muscle fatigue, muscle inefficiency, repetitive use, emotional stress, physical trauma, psychological trauma, inflammation, and poor nutrition.
Having muscle tension or knots could be very painful and uncomfortable. Here are the ways how you can achieve relief from these muscle conditions.
Massage therapy has long been used to provide relief of muscle pain, tension, and tightness. Through careful massage strokes, the muscles are relieved of tension and rigidity. Massage improves blood circulation, allowing blood and oxygen to reach the tensed muscles. This improves movement and relieves the pain.
One of the most effective massage treatments for muscle pain due to tension and knots is the Deep Tissue massage. Deep Tissue Massage targets deep muscle layers and connective tissues in contracted areas and restores adequate blood circulation to provide relief of pain, tension, and tightness. People suffering from back aches, stiff neck, and leg tightness will benefit from deep tissue massage.
The Moxa Signature Massage with Heated Bian Stone is also a suitable massage type to relieve muscle tension and pain. The heated Bian stone is known to improve blood circulation and promote muscle relaxation.
Proper stretching techniques relieve muscle tension, pain, and tightness by relaxing the muscles, enhancing muscle function, and improving the range of motion. Stretching also improves blood circulation to the muscle groups.
Acupuncture is also a recommended treatment for muscle tension and knots. The acupuncture needles release tension from the trigger points. By targeting the trigger points, the referred pain to the neighboring muscles is relieved. Muscle knots in the shoulders, thighs, legs, and shoulders can all be treated with acupuncture.