Knots in Your Neck? How to Try a Trigger Point Massage to Release Them

Home » Blogs from Crist Chiropractic » Knots in Your Neck? How to Try a Trigger Point Massage to Release Them

Your neck muscles are so tight you could strum them like guitar strings. But this song is definitely not music to your ears.

You’re rubbing and pushing and prodding your sore muscles – but is that actually helping? Or could you be making things worse? 

With the right simple steps, your tensed-up muscles can start whistling a happier tune. Chiropractor Jason Crist, DC, explains the ins and outs of trigger point massage.

Muscle knots: A muscle freak-out

Muscle knots are those kinks in your back and the tight, ropy strands in your neck. Also known as trigger points, they are areas where your muscles have tensed up and refused to let go.

“A trigger point is a muscle spasm — a signal from the brain saying, I’m not sure what to do, so I’m going to freak out and be tight,” says Dr. Crist.

Trigger points form as a result of repetitive activity. That might be something like swinging a tennis racket over and over, or – for many of us – hunching over our desks and pounding the keyboard day in and day out.

“The body can endure a lot of stress, but we weren’t designed to do the same activity over and over, every day,” he says. “Those tight spots are cries for help.”

Trigger point self-massage 101

So how can you get your freaked-out muscles to chill? Pressing on the muscle knots, called a trigger point self-massage, is a great place to start, Dr. Crist says. The simple pressure can help muscles relax.

Here’s how to self-massage:

  1. Find the tight spots (odds are you won’t have to look too hard).
  2. Use your fingers (or tools like foam rollers and massage balls) to press firmly into the trigger points.
  3. Repeat for three to five minutes, ideally as often as five or six times per day. “It needs to be part of the daily routine,” Dr. Crist says.

How hard should you push? It varies. Some people can handle intense pressure; others are a bit more … delicate (no shame). Go ahead and dig in — it’s unlikely you’ll push hard enough to do any damage, Dr. Crist says.

Still, it might not feel great in the moment. “Discomfort is part of the process,” he adds. But intense pain is not. If you feel a sharp pinch or tingling, you might have an injury that goes beyond muscle tension. In that case, quit with the thumbs already and get yourself to a doctor.

Do knot give up: Make a change to your environment

After each mini-massage, your muscles should feel looser. Over time, regular trigger point massages can help bring longer-lasting relief.

But also think about what you can change in your environment to make your muscles happier. Could a better desk chair help your posture? Can you take breaks to stretch throughout the day?

If you’ve made those changes, but the knots keep returning for an encore, it might be time to call in the pros. Consider seeing an expert such as a chiropractor, physical therapist or massage therapist.

Above all, Dr. Crist advises, pay attention.

“Too often, people ignore the signals from their bodies. Pain is the warning light on the dashboard,” he says. “Your body is telling you it’s time to make a change.”

How to Have Your Best Year Ever

By Dr. Jason Crist | January 25, 2024

3 Steps To Go from Exhausted to Energized If you’re leaving the holiday feeling sluggish and low on energy, you’re not alone! The changes to your regular sleep and exercise routine can drain your energy levels and leave your body struggling to keep up without a quick caffeine fix. But, as we head into the…

Read More

Experience Lasting Pain Relief at Franklin’s Top Pain Clinic

By Dr. Jason Crist | January 9, 2024

Ready for Relief? Choose Crist Chiropractic for Your Pain Management Don’t let pain hold you back. At Crist Chiropractic, Franklin’s go-to pain clinic, we’re committed to offering effective, natural solutions for your discomfort. Sign up today and embark on your journey to a pain-free life. With our expertise and extensive experience, you can trust us…

Read More

Recommended for You

How to Have Your Best Year Ever

January 25, 2024

3 Steps To Go from Exhausted to Energized If you’re leaving the holiday feeling sluggish and low on energy, you’re not alone! The changes to your regular sleep and exercise routine can drain your energy levels and leave your body struggling to keep up without a quick caffeine fix. But, as we head into the…

Read More

Experience Lasting Pain Relief at Franklin’s Top Pain Clinic

January 9, 2024

Ready for Relief? Choose Crist Chiropractic for Your Pain Management Don’t let pain hold you back. At Crist Chiropractic, Franklin’s go-to pain clinic, we’re committed to offering effective, natural solutions for your discomfort. Sign up today and embark on your journey to a pain-free life. With our expertise and extensive experience, you can trust us…

Read More

Knee Flexion vs Extension: Achieving Optimal Knee Health

December 18, 2023

Knee flexion and extension are vital for movement, yet they are often misunderstood. The knee joint, a complex hinge joint, involves various muscle groups that play distinct roles in these movements. Both knee flexion and extension are crucial for maintaining knee health. This article aims to demystify and compare these two pivotal motions, enhancing readers’…

Read More
Crist Chiropractic & Wellness exists to help as many people as possible achieve optimal health through natural and holistic means. Our team is committed to restoring the body’s ability to express its true health potential. We strive to serve our patients and our community with a spirit of complete caring, by radiating health and promoting well-being.

Goodbye Back Pain. Hello Pain Relief!
Crist Chiropractic of Cool Springs Helps You Live Better Now