Knots, Trigger Points, and Muscle Spasms

back pain may begin or be exacerbated by excess muscle tension. Excess muscle tension means that particular muscles are working too hard, for too long. This continued overwork creates a buildup of chemicals in the muscles, which may cause the formation of "trigger points," or knots. These areas of muscles may feel hard to the touch, tight, and very exceedingly tender. Knots, trigger points and muscle spasms are variations of the same condition - overworked muscles contracting too much and too often. Common sites of muscle spasms include the lumbar area (back), hips and buttocks, shoulder area, neck, head, and jaw.

Excessive muscle tension cram and pull the joints together, reducing your mobility and causing you pain. Some back pain and joint pain is causes by pressure on the joints themselves. The increased pressure on the joints as a result of the excessive muscle tension can trigger pain circuits along the spine. The pain circuits may cause back pain near the pain circuits of the back. These same pain circuits may travel all the way down the arms and legs, causing pain in areas where these circuits go and terminate.

Excess muscle tension may be caused by sprain and strain of the muscle. The muscles may be overworked when we push our bodies beyond the limits of what is can handle, or it may be causes by poor posture (e.g. slouched shoulders, sitting forward too much, not keeping your back straight when standing or sitting), or you may cause tension in the muscles of your head neck and body because of emotional distress. Therefore, it is important for you to become aware of your thoughts, postures, and situations that cause increased muscle tension. This will lower structural imbalances in the musculoskeletal system as well as the nervous system that cause excess sensitivity in your pain receptors. When you are conscious of your thoughts and movements, you may be more likely to control your breathing, thoughts, and feelings in such a way as to release muscle tension. This will lower the electrical activity in the region, release the stress pattern, and thereby decrease your pain. Overwork of the muscles, either while lifting at work, or while on some weekend warrior activity, can cause strains of the muscles and even muscle spasms. Also, slumping can cause compression of the spinal joints, because the muscles are no longer protecting the spine they way they are supposed to. In addition, sustained slumping can cause excess muscle tension by overstretching muscles and other soft tissues. When the compressed joints are pressed to a certain point, electrical circuits in the overstretched area begin to warn you by activating pain nerves. Try pinning your arms back behind your body. At a certain point, the nerves in your arm will send you an alarm that going any further will cause you harm to the structures. This alarm in our brain comes in the form of pain. This same principle applies to the joints of our spine, though the evolution of the process may take months or years to develop.