We all spend too much time at our computers and looking down at our phones. At this point it is almost inevitable. Sitting in the same position for hours often results in becoming dehydrated and stiff. That is usually when we start feeling tension in our neck, shoulders, and low back. Have you ever wondered why?
Our muscles get overworked, tight, and are unable to relax. As a result, the muscle fibers become bunched, have lack of oxygen and nutrition, and form a muscle knot. This is often described as building up lactic acid in the muscle fibers. Needless to say, if you have ever formed muscle knots, they can be extremely painful. Occasionally, muscle knots go away on their own, but they often need help. Proper steps should be taken to loosen the tense muscles and relieve the pain. Let’s consider a few steps that you might take to prevent muscle knots from developing in the first place.
1. Eating right for muscle knots
Being dehydrated might be a major cause behind the muscle knots that you are experiencing. Are you drinking enough water? Probably none of us are. You should be drinking 7-9 glasses of water each day. How many of us actually do that? One way to help fulfill your body’s water requirements is by carrying a water bottle with you, or by setting a reminder on your phone that will notify you to refill that glass of water every hour.
Certain things in our diets can also contribute to dehydration such as coffee and alcohol. If you are frequently experiencing knots, you might try to either cut back on your coffee/alcohol consumption or to include an additional glass of water every time you partake. Further, it is highly recommended to include calcium, magnesium, and potassium in your diet. These minerals are essential for muscle health and relaxation. Deficiency of any of these can cause painful muscle cramps, knots, and stiffness. Intake of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables can help with deficiencies and is always recommended. You might also try supplementation or working more raw sea salt into your diet.
2. Keep moving to prevent muscle knots
Try to avoid sitting in the same position for too long whether it is while you are reading, playing games on your phone and so on. It is important to get up and walk around every hour at work. Even while seated at your desk, make small movements like turning your neck from side to side, straightening out your back, uncrossing the legs and the like. This simple movement strategy can go a long way in preventing muscle knots.
3. Exercise regularly for muscle knots
Our bodies are built to perform. Many of the structures in our bodies are nourished through movement. Stretching and exercising regularly helps release tension from the muscles and maintain that ever important flexibility. It is highly suggested to get at least 30 minutes of light exercises and/or stretching every day. It not only helps the muscles, but it also has a positive impact on the heart and mind.
4. Improve your posture to address muscle knots
Just like sitting in one position for too long is not good, slouching at a desk or in front of the television is bad for your muscles too. Keep your posture upright. Sit in a way that the muscles are not strained and blood flow is not blocked. Try to keep your head neutral and your back straight. Slouching or hunching your back can cause stress to the postural muscles of the back and lead to pain. Keeping a good neutral posture will go a long way in preventing muscle knots and cramps. If you feel like your workstation makes it hard to have good posture, consider getting an ergonomic evaluation. Often the smallest shift in the arrangement of your gear can reduce stress on your body tremendously.
If the other preventive measures have not worked for you you might consider calling your local chiropractor, or massage therapist. For more information, please call us at 415-496-0992 or book an appointment online.