Have you felt heaviness on your back and felt that some portions of your back is quite hard and tender? Well, you must be experiencing back tension knots. Back tension knots are generally known as muscle knots and are common complaints of people who overuse their backs, sending them to their local Tampa chiropractor. Specifically, these are constricted muscle fibers that limit blood circulation and nerve flow in the area leading to pain and heaviness.

The Theory Behind Back Tension Knots

Tension knots are medically known as myofascial trigger points and they occur as spastic muscle bands that do not relax causing undue pressure on the back and a feeling of as if your back is consistently tired and achy. There are several theories as to why tension knots develop and these include:

  • Overuse of the muscle tissue
  • A common cause of back tension knots is the overuse of the back muscles. Continuously using the muscles as in the case of working heavily, weight lifting regularly, working in front of the computer for longer hours, continuous athletic and sports activities and the like can lead to the overuse of back muslces. In return, the muscles don’t get to relax too often leading them to continuously contract and become spastic.
  • Overstretching of the muscle fibers

Another theory behind the development of back tension knots is the overstretching of muscle fibers. Overstretching causes micro trauma to the muscle fibers leading to inflammatory condition of the muscle bands. As a result, the muscles become tender and painful and may become spastic.

What Happens When You Have Back Tension Knots?

If you have back tension knots, pain is a common symptom of which because of the impingement of the underlying nerves. Often, the trigger points become constrictive minimizing blood flow to the muscle tissue itself. The reduced blood flow also reduces oxygenation to the muscle fibers, which further stimulates anaerobic metabolism. This further causes pain and tenderness on the tension knot.

The pain felt tend not to localize on the hardened muscle, but it radiates throughout the back giving you a feeling of uneasiness and constant tiredness.

How Can I Manage Back Tension Knots?

Back tension knots can be easily managed. Stretching and strenghthening exercises can loosen the tight muscles, but make sure not to overstretch as this can worsen the trigger points. You can also apply local anti-inflammatory creams to reduce pain and tenderness. A regular back massage can also loosen the adhesions and may help you become more comfortable. In addition, warm baths and hot water bags over the back can aslo help relax the muscles.

Aside from management, prevention is also important through the following measures:

  1. Avoid overworking. Take some time to rest and relax.
  2. Never continue your exercise or activity if you feel back aches or tension. Doing so may contract the muscles more.
  3. Regularly visit your massage therapist for preventive massage.
  4. Warm up and cool down before any vigorous activity.
  5. Sleep using firm mattresses and sleep in the right position to avoid straining the back muscles during sleep.

If you have back tension knots, your chiropractor can help you manage the condition using various management options.