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How Long Do Muscle Knots Last?

By April 24, 2024No Comments

Have you ever experienced a tight, achy feeling in your muscles that just won’t go away? If so, you might have experienced what’s commonly referred to as a muscle knot, which most often presents in the neck or back. These bundles of tension can linger, causing discomfort and limiting your range of motion. But how long do these muscle knots last, and what can you do about them?

Muscle Knot Vs. Trigger Point: Same or Different?

Before we tackle the question, “How long do muscle knots last?” the Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island team wants to ensure you have the correct background info. Muscle knots and trigger points are one and the same. The terms “muscle knot” and “trigger point” are interchangeable when you’re describing your discomfort.

So, what is a muscle knot or trigger point exactly? Simply put, it’s an area of hyperirritability within a muscle that has essentially spasmed and hasn’t returned to a relaxed state. They often develop because of overuse, repetitive poor posture, stress, injury, anxiety, or when muscles are overworked or strained and become tight. Sometimes, they affect the surrounding nerves and cause referral pain in other parts of the body. And what does a trigger point feel like? To the touch, it feels like a small, palpable nodule or band of tight, tender tissue.

How Long Do Muscle Knots Typically Last?

The duration of a muscle knot depends on the severity of the knot, its underlying cause, and what you decide to do to address it. In general, muscle knots can last from a few days to several weeks or longer, depending on the cause. Do muscle knots go away on their own? Sometimes, they can; other times, they can persist as chronic pain if left untreated.

The most common muscle knots develop in the back and neck, whose muscles are prone to tension and tightness. Hunching over a computer all day or lifting heavy objects are the most common causes. Muscle knots in the neck can result in stiffness, headaches, and restricted movement, while those in the back can lead to localized pain and discomfort.

Conservative Ways to Treat Trigger Points

When it comes to back and neck pain, Dr. Choi, Dr. Toombs, and Dr. Argyriou often advocate for trying at-home or conservative therapies before medical treatments or surgery. If you have a muscle knot in your neck or back, we recommend trying the following self-care therapies before turning to doctor-administered treatments.

  • Rest
  • Stretching
  • Ice and Heat
  • Trigger Point Massage
  • Massage Therapy
  • Ibuprofen or over-the-counter muscle relaxants

When Should You Consider Trigger Point Injections?

If your muscle knots aren’t responding to self-care measures, it may be time to consider trigger point injections. Trigger point injections can particularly benefit individuals with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, tension headaches, or myofascial pain syndrome, which are contributing to their muscle knots.

What Are Trigger Point Injections?

Trigger point injections involve the administration of a local anesthetic, such as lidocaine, directly into the trigger point. This helps to alleviate pain and relax the muscle, allowing it to release tension and return to its normal state. If needed, several trigger point injections are administered, targeting the muscle from different angles. A qualified healthcare professional performs the procedure, such as a pain specialist or physiatrist like Dr. Antigone Argyriou. She will identify the precise location of the muscle knot using palpation.

Trigger point injections can treat pain in nearly any muscle, including in your neck, head, shoulders, and buttocks. Patients typically find immediate relief that lasts about a month or more. These injections can improve your range of motion, enhance physical function, and promote relaxation.

Finding Relief With Trigger Point Injections and Therapy

Dr. Antigone Argyriou, our pain specialist at Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island, specializes in administering trigger point injections at our Ronkonkoma and Garden City offices as part of a comprehensive range of pain management treatments. With her expertise and personalized approach to pain management, Dr. Argyriou creates individualized treatment plans for her patients, including the frequency of trigger point injections for chronic pain.

In addition to trigger point injections, Dr. Argyriou offers trigger point therapy to address underlying muscle imbalances and help prevent future flare-ups. This can include a combination of manual techniques, therapeutic exercises, and lifestyle modifications.

You don’t need to suffer from muscle knots in your neck or back. Reach out to Dr. Antigone Argyriou at Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island to learn how trigger point injections or therapy can help you get back to better mobility and feel your best.

Dr. Daniel Choi

Author Dr. Daniel Choi

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