Knots in Back Muscles
I have patients that swear I have magic hands because I can find painful knots in the muscles in the back and neck.
No magic, in chiropractic college we literally spend years practicing the art of the palpatory exam, or simply put, the art of examination by feeling the tissues with our hands. There is no doubt, we get very good with our hands. It doesn’t take long to be able to find the areas in someone’s back and neck where these painful knots develop. Certain spots within the muscles that surround the spine can actually begin to feel abnormal when someone touches them. Some spots will feel tighter than surrounding muscle tissue, it literally feels like a “knot” in the muscle. When you press on these “knots” it can be very painful, or it can give a sensation of “it hurts so good” when you apply pressure.
What causes knots in the muscles of the back and neck? We could delve deeply into the science and discuss muscle physiology, metabolic waste such as lactic acid, trigger points, myofascial pain, and all the little details involved here…but that is not my goal. We know that the pain associated with back and neck muscles is serious, it can be mild, or debilitating to the point that it makes everyday activities difficult to perform.
Back-pain sufferers in America cost this country more than $100 billion annually in medical bills, disability and lost productivity at work. And 80 percent of Americans will battle back pain at some point in their lives, making it the number two reason for doctor visits, after coughs and other respiratory infections, Newsweek reports.
So, what causes this pain? Well think about it this way, the muscles do not have a mind of their own. In other words, muscles can’t decide, on their own, to start tightening, and knotting up. The muscles are controlled directly by a nerve, which tells the muscle what to do by sending a specific electrical message to the muscle.
In many cases the knot in the muscle is caused by an abnormal nerve message being sent to the muscle. The abnormal nerve message is, in turn, caused by a misaligned bone in the spine that irritates the nerve.
To keep it simple. Bone out of alignment, irritates and pinches the nerve, the nerve sends an abnormal message to the muscle, and the muscle begins to tighten and “knots” develop in the muscle.
How should this be treated or cared for? How about taking drugs? Does that sound like a good solution? You have a bone out of alignment in the spine, which pinches the nerve, this causes abnormal electrical messages to be sent to the muscles and knots and pain develop. Will taking a painkiller or muscle relaxer fix the problem? Why not correct the cause of the problem by gently re-aligning the out of place bone in the spine and relieving the pressure on the nerve? Sounds almost too good to be true…too simple, right?
I actually see this occur every single day that I am in my office! We use a very gentle procedure called the NUCCA technique, to gently correct the neck alignment. After the correction there is an immediate change in muscle knots in the neck and back area! In some cases there is immediate relief of the pain, in some cases it takes time for the pain to go away. But in every case where there is a correction, there is a change in the muscle tissue around the spine that is very obvious. This NUCCA correction is NOT a forceful manipulation, or “cracking” of the neck or back! The NUCCA procedure is a low-force correction that very precisely moves the spinal bones back into alignment. This procedure is painless.
Here is another way to think about knots in the back and neck. It is a mechanical problem! It is a symptom of an alignment problem! Correct the alignment problem and the body will heal itself from the knots. Why would you take a drug, a chemical, to correct a mechanical problem? Would you pour an additive into the fuel of your car to correct the front end alignment? No…front end alignment is a mechanical problem and needs a mechanical solution not a chemical solution!
It is that simple!
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