What IS a knot?
Knots, or myofascial trigger points, are bumps or bands of tense, tight muscle or fascial tissue. They may be active (sore and causing compensatory movement behaviours) or latent (tender if pressed). They can also cause ‘referred pain’ – resulting pain reactions as a result of the knot that appear in other areas of the same or surrounding muscles or tissues.
They may also be referred to as a ‘spasm’, as the tissue becomes stuck in a permanently contracted state, unable to relax and release when not in use. Another word sometimes used is an ‘adhesion’ due to the affected connective tissue layers appearing to ‘adhere’ to each other, reducing functionality across regions.
In horses, there are common areas in which trigger points will form, including:
- Hips/pelvic structures
- Lower neck
If left unaddressed, eventually other muscles will begin to compensate for the reduced functionality, possibly creating compensatory movement, strain and asymmetry throughout the entire body.
What causes them?
Knots can be caused by overuse or repetitive strain, poor posture, emotional stress, injury, dehydration, ageing, vitamin deficiencies, joint problems or lack of muscle use.
Any of these factors may cause a dysfunction within the tissues, providing a blockage which will grow and negatively affect surrounding areas.
What can we do about them?
There are various therapeutic methods of release, including massage, stretching, ‘trigger point therapy’, laser therapies, electrostimulation and mechanical vibration. Preferring to utilise ‘feel’ in my hands-on approach, I specialise in the first three, all of which I have found to be successful and well-received by my equine recipients!
I have been focusing my recent energies on developing my knowledge and skills in ‘Equine Trigger Point Therapy’, an eye-opening technique that has evolved my regular massage routine for the better, and which I’m keen to reap the benefits of with my lovely clients going forward!
How will this help my horse?
Release of these painful and restrictive trigger points will result in:
- Improved muscle function
- Enhanced range of motion
- Restored symmetry
- Improved posture and resulting correct muscle build
- Reduced risk of future injury
- Healthier footfall and resulting hoof growth
- Improved performance!
- A relaxed, happy equine companion
Hands on Horses is offering a limited time offer for November to get on top of your horse’s performance-limiting knots, restrictions and soreness – please get in touch to book in ready for your winter training season ☺️