Get Rid of Your Muscle Knots

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Anonymous, Lynn, Graeme and 16 others

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When you least expect it, painful muscle knots can come on suddenly, and their effects can range from mild to debilitating. Even if you're in top physical shape, you're not immune to this painful condition. The wrong movement at the wrong time could leave you in pain for days. Muscle knots often occur in the neck or back, but they can occur in just about any area of your body. Muscle knots may occasionally go away on their own, but in most cases, you'll need to take some steps to loosen the tense muscles and get rid of the pain. Follow the advice in this article to get rid of painful muscle knots and keep them from coming back.

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Muscle Knot Causes

Muscle knots, also known as myofascial trigger points, are a common occurrence. Muscle knots are often caused by repeated tensing of a muscle, and a part of it gets stuck in the tense state. The area of muscle is tensed up or flexed and does not want to relax. Experts believe that there are several causes for these painful, obnoxious knots. Lactic acid buildup and sustained or periodic contraction of the muscle can cause it to get stuck in a tense state, especially when the muscle isn't used often. The pain caused by some muscle knots is believed by professionals to be neurological in nature, meaning that they often don't show up on imaging scans. Another reason they are thought to be so painful is a lack of blood flow to small, tense parts of the muscle. The area hurts to the touch and often feels like an actual knot in the muscle. This is because of swelling caused by the inflammatory response. Muscle knots often occur after prolonged or intense physical activities, but they can also be caused by poor posture or a sedentary lifestyle. Here are some of the most common causes of muscle knots:

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  • Acute trauma (muscle strains, severe falls, joint strains)
  • Overstimulation from strenuous activities like exercise and sports routines
  • Stress due to poor posture while performing improper lifting techniques
  • Sitting without proper back or neck support
  • Movements or positions that your body is not accustomed to, especially after remaining sedentary for a long period of time

Shoulders that are rounded and protruding forward tell you that your back muscles are already overstretched. At this point, muscle knots are already developing in your middle back, upper back, neck, and shoulders.

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How to Get Rid of Knots

  1. 1
    Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
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    These medications will help to decrease the pain and inflammation associated with muscle knots and injury. The most common over the counter NSAIDs are ibuprofen-based pain killers often sold under the brand name Motrin or Advil. Another NSAID that can relieve the pain is naproxen, often sold under the brand name Aleve. Only take one type of NSAID at a time. To benefit from their anti-inflammatory effects, you will need to take the maximum dosage allowed according to the instructions on the bottle.
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  2. 2
    Relieve the pain with heat therapy.
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    . The heat will increase the flow of blood in the affected area, and it may also reduce muscle tension by helping you to relax. Stand under a warm shower for 15-20 minutes, or warm up a hot pack for 30 seconds in the microwave. Place a towel between your skin and the hot pack to prevent your skin from burning. Apply the hot pack to the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time. You can use heat therapy three to five times a day until the knot disappears.
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  3. 3
    Massage the knots.
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    This is a very effective way to get rid of your muscle knots. The kneading motion of massage helps to increase blood flow to the area and relax the muscle knots. For the most effective massage technique, you can visit a massage therapist, who is trained in relieving painful trigger points, especially in areas that you can't reach.
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  4. 4
    Trigger point release.
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    This is a common massage technique that helps target muscle knots in the muscles of the back like your trapezius muscles. This involves applying firm pressure on the muscle with the use of one or two fingertips until it finally relaxes. You can also massage the area with a small ball or a foam roller while applying firm pressure. Note that this is painful, but as the pressure is applied continuously, the pain will gradually disappear. You can apply this on your shoulders or neck for 20-30 seconds, or until you feel your muscle knots relax.
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  5. 5
    Exercise regularly.
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    Regular physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, will help your muscles become flexible and help you avoid injury. It's important not to overexert yourself. Gradually ease into a workout routine if you're not used to it, and make sure to take a few days' rest every week.
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  6. 6
    If all else fails, see a doctor.
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    They can inject an anesthetic into the area to numb the pain. They may also inject corticosteroids to reduce swelling, or botox to relax the muscle. The injections may be painful at first, but they will bring fast relief. Acupuncture is also a suitable option for stubborn muscle knots.
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Back Stretches for Muscle Knots

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Gentle stretches can help reduce muscle tension and pain from knots and pulled muscles. They can also help prevent muscle knots from occurring in the first place.

Lower Back Stretches

  1. 1
    To stretch your lower back, lie on a flat surface.
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  2. 2
    Bend one knee and bring it toward the chest area.
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  3. 3
    Slowly pull your knee closer to the chest until you feel the muscles in your back stretching.
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  4. 4
    If you feel pain upon stretching, relax and stop stretching.
    Continuing to stretch while in pain will damage the affected muscles.
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  5. 5
    Hold your stretch position for about 20-30 seconds.
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  6. 6
    Repeat with your other leg.
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  7. 7
    Stretch three to five times daily, three consecutive times.
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Upper Back Stretches

  1. 1
    To stretch your upper back, clasp your hands together in front of your chest.
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  2. 2
    Straighten out your elbows.
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  3. 3
    Arch your back until you feel a degree of stretch on your shoulders.
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  4. 4
    Hold your position for 20-30 seconds.
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  5. 5
    Stretch three to five times daily, three consecutive times.
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Preventing Muscle Knots

There will always be activities that will result in muscle knots. It's inevitable. However, this doesn't mean you need to suffer. Work towards a healthy lifestyle and treat your body well to reduce the occurrence of painful muscle knots. Here are some tips to prevent the knots from happening again:

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  1. 1
    Drink plenty of water.
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    Most people need at least 8 glasses of water a day. If you drink coffee or alcohol, it can actually dehydrate you, so make sure to include an additional glass of water for each cup of coffee or serving of alcohol.
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  2. 2
    Include enough calcium, potassium and magnesium in your diet.
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    These minerals are essential for proper muscle health and relaxation, and without them, you can end up with painful muscle cramps, stiffness, and knots. Magnesium in particular is often lacking in the modern Western diet. Cut out sugar and processed foods as much as possible. Many fruits and vegetables are good sources of minerals, such as bananas, potatoes, dark leafy greens, whole grains, broccoli, spinach and sweet potatoes, so make sure to consume them as the main part of your diet. For mineral-rich protein, include cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna, cashews, almonds, milk, eggs and legumes.
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  3. 3
    Be mindful of how you move.
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    Sudden or awkward movements can lead to knots or muscle cramps, especially when they involve muscles you don't use often. Use proper posture and bend with your legs, not your back, when you're lifting things.
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  4. 4
    Avoid slouching or hunching.
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    Poor posture is a common cause of muscle knots and stiffness. If you work on a computer, make sure to sit with your back and neck straight.
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  5. 5
    Take breaks for walking and stretching if you have a desk job or if you're studying.
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    For every hour that you've been sitting, get up for a few minutes and walk around, or do some stretches for a couple of minutes. If it's feasible, consider purchasing a standing desk so that you're not sitting all day without any physical activity.
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  6. 6
    Always stretch before you exercise.
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    Rather than static stretches, perform dynamic stretches to increase flexibility without injuring your muscles
    .
    To perform dynamic stretches, keep moving slowly and deliberately while you stretch. Make sure that your stretches include the movements that you'll be making during your exercise or sports routine.
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  7. 7
    Visit a massage therapist once or twice a month.
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    Having regular massages can reduce chronic tension and prevent muscle knots from forming in the first place
    .
    If you can't visit a massage therapist, self-massage with a small ball or foam roller can be effective.
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Questions and Answers

How to get rid of muscle knots on neck using cup?

You can apply pressure onto your neck using the cup and let it suction your skin and muscles onto the inner sides of the cup. After a few minutes, release it off and do the same cycle again. The suctioning of the skin and the muscles will help a lot in soothing the muscles and eventually relieving muscle knots which can get painful after a while.

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See more questions like this: I keep rubbing it out but it keeps coming back, how do I get rid of it

Where do muscle knots disappear to?

Muscle knots appear anywhere that their are muscles located on the body. If there is any type of muscle on the body understand that a muscle knot/strain can appear in these locations. A muscle knot disappears when the muscle is stretched/relax and disappears in the muscle tissues when the knot is relaxed.

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Does ibuprofen help get rid of muscle knots?

This medicine will not get rid of the muscle knots but ibuprofen will help for you to get over pain that you are feeling at this current time. This will help you in order to relieve yourself of pain that you are feeling.

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How do I get rid of a knot in my neck?

How do I get rid of a knot in my neck

  • Determine your trigger points by pressing down on the sore area and where the muscle is firm and dense will be a trigger point. You could have one or more trigger points so do not stop until you feel from the base of your skull to the ends of your shoulders.
  • Massage the trigger points to relax the muscle fibers. You can roll a tennis ball over the trigger areas if they are hard to reach by laying down and moving your body over the tennis ball. Make sure the ball is under your trigger areas.
  • Move your arms. Some of the best ways to prevent and relieve knots in the neck is swimming, jumping jacks and rowing. If you can't do those activities, stand up and stretch your arms outward. Rotate your arms and lift your shoulders up and down.
  • Consider your stress level. One of the most common places we feel stress is in our neck and shoulder area. Hence the phrase "weight off your shoulders" when we get good news etc. Exercise is not only great for keeping your body in great shape but also is one of the best ways to alleviate stress.
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I have a knot in my elbow how do I get it out?

How to get it out, its a pain I get every once in a while

First determine where the pain is on your elbow:

Tennis elbow is a common injury and occurs from activities where you use your arms over and over. The tendons within your elbow become inflamed and your whole elbow can even become swollen as well as warm to the touch. To treat Tennis Elbow you apply ice to the elbow to relieve swelling as well as take NSAIDS. To avoid Tennis Elbow you can use an elbow brace which is available at any pharmacy. Olecranon bursitis is caused by arthritis or gout. There will be swelling at the tip of the elbow and can also be accompanied with an infection. You would treat again with NSAIDS and apply heat to the elbow to relieve the pain and swelling. Tendinitis can impact the inner and outer elbow regions and you would treat that with ice and rest.

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I have a knot behind my right shoulder blade. How can I get rid of it in 1-2 days?

The pain is bearable but it hurts every time I move my body to the floor. I went to the trainers room and they massaged it out, but last night I couldn't even sleep from the pain I was getting. Can you please help

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You had a massage which should have relieved some of your pain. You should see a doctor if the pain is still there more than 2 days as right shoulder pain is a sign of gallstones among other things. Gallstones will not be relieved with just massage. Also after you get a massage you need to intake extra water to help flush out toxins so increase your water intake. Stretching and exercise of the arms and shoulders and NSAIDS should give you relief in a few days.

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See more questions like this: Headache from muscle knots next to my right shoulder blade

How do I relieve neck knots? And how can I keep them from coming back?

I have had neck knots for quite some time now, might be as a result form a few non-life threatening car accidents that I have had in the past 10 years. I have had some neck knots on the right side, but lately I get them on the left side as well. I also have to lift heavy things at work. I work a lot and hardly ever home, but my question is, what ways are actually effective to help relieve neck knot symptoms. I know cold may not be the best option, but I have heard heat may actually help. Any other ideas as I hate having a tight neck all the time, and would like to lessen my headaches too.

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Please refer to the other neck knot question in this article as well as many of the steps in this article will help your injury. The left side of your neck could now be sore because you were overcompensating that side to avoid hurting your right side further. Consider swimming on a regular basis. This will help strengthen your muscles and you will be stretching in a proper range of motion for neck injuries.

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How much calcium and potassium tablets should I take every day?

Lower back problems muscle knots

You are missing a key supplement to the calcium and potassium which is magnesium:

  • 600mg calcium
  • 400mg magnesium
  • 200mg potassium

Take this combo daily to alleviate your lower back pain as well as rotate your hips in a circular motion and stretch your back by bending over reaching for your toes.

My back has been killing me, and same as my neck what should I do? Also when I'm getting to go to work in the morning it kills me to even get up and I don't know what to do?

I had a real bad seizure and I've been really sore since last week and my back has been killing me and same as my neck what should I do? Also when I'm getting ready to go to work in the morning, it kills me to even get up and I don't know what to do

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Seizures can cause your vertebrae to shake and move in a way that a person can't move them if not in a seizure. Muscle soreness after a seizure can last for several weeks unfortunately. Get on all fours and arch your back up as far as you can. Hold the stretch and gently move out of the arch until you are flat on the ground stretching out. Do this several times. If you are taking seizure medications, make sure that the medication does not interact with NSAIDs. If the pain is still intense consider seeing a chiropractor. Your spine may need to be adjusted.

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How can I relief pain in my throat?

It feels like there is something stuck in my throat. When I swallow it hurts and feels like something is stuck there. It is really uncomfortable and I'm not sure how can I relief it.

Pain that feels like a lump in your throat when you swallow can be caused by numerous things including toothaches and throat infections. Acid reflux for instance can damage your esophagus over time to cause the feeling. Gargle with a solution of water and a bit of salt. If the pain persists with fever please seek medical treatment from a professional.

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I got a pain in my right side of the neck?

I think it is some kind of a knot, because of the knot I get pain in my right eye, right ear and right cheek. It was very serious as I was unable to tolerate any sort of light on my eye. I went to many doctors but it did not help. I consulted neuro-muscular therapist who improved my condition, but still pain persists.

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Working with a neuro-muscular therapist is a great solution to treat the problem and to relieve your pain take NSAIDs and avoid bright light which will irritate your optical nerve further. A pinched nerve can cause your issues and over time the pain will be alleviated.

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Wife has serious knot in her upper left back?

Wife has serious knot in her upper left back.. I have tried: Massaging it out

She may have pancreatitis. Consuming foods with high fat content can irritate the pancreas and cause the pancreatitis. The pancreas swells and becomes irritated. She can take anti inflammatory medication but she also should see her doctor as there is medication to treat pancreatitis and eventually she may need a surgical solution if it begins to occur more frequently.

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I am feeling something, like a small ball swelling on my shoulder?

It doesn't pain but on pressing it feels rubbery like and shifts sides a little bit, its size is as a table tennis ball

Most likely it is a lipoma ( small fatty benign tumor) however you should seek medical advice as the lump should be assessed in case it needs to be biopsied for further information. Lipomas occur in middle age and are not serious or need intervention unless they are causing you pain.

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Mussel knots in upper back close to the spine?

How do I get ride of these, I have worked on my daughters back with oils but she has a large knot

Knots, or tension points, in the spine form when muscle tissue has not been relaxed. The knots appear in case of overexertion in the trapezius muscle, which is located near the nape in the upper brachial muscle and in the upper or middle parts of the back. There are several methods to get rid of the knots: massage, stretching, or regular exercise.

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  1. 1
    Massage.
    Find the knot with your fingers and press and hold it. Your daughter should feel more pain in that spot. Ask her to take a breath and relax her chest and hands. Release the knot. If you touch it again, you should feel it softer a bit. Repeat this massage several times per day. The more you exert pressure on the knot, the less pain your daughter will feel and the smaller the knot will become.
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  2. 2
    Exercise.
    Ask your daughter to lie down on the floor and put a tennis ball under her back, right below the most painful muscle spot (not under the spine itself though!). Ask her to breathe in, relax, and, using her body, try to as if squeeze the ball.
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  3. 3
    Stretch.
    Stretch the upper part of the muscle after the exercise: turn the head in the direction opposite to the painful side, trying to reach the shoulder with the ear. Keep your daughter in that position or ask her to stay in that position and count to 20. To increase the stretch, take the hand by the wrist on the painful side of the back and gently pull it to the painful spot to stretch the middle and lower part of the muscle. Ask her to sit down upon a stool and bend her head down. Ask her to cross her hands and hold the opposite knee (the one that is at the side with no pain). Stay in that position for 20 seconds.
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  4. 4
    Relax.
    To relax the muscles, it is a good idea to apply a warm wet towel to the spot at the spine for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a day.
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  5. 5
    Ask her to change her lifestyle.
    She should do yoga, aerobics, or swimming. Moderate physical training will decrease the pain and fortify the spine and back.
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I got this knot in my lower back and its annoying?

Agitating, annoying, makes me feel like I want to break my back. I have tried: Stretching. I think it was caused by: Bad posture and soreness

Bad posture is a common cause for lower back pain. You are performing stretches which is great but also sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees.

Right Knee stuck towards chest area?

Was just searching around to see if I could find out any information for a friend. He has developed a problem, where he cannot straighten his right leg out at all. It is actually bent & his knee is touching his chest area. It is very painful, tried some therapy, where they actually straightened the leg out, which caused severe pain as well. But, it will not stay straight, it goes right back into that odd position.. I have tried: He has only has portable x-rays done, and therapy. I think it was caused by: Have no clue, he woke up with it being like that approx close to 2 months ago

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Is the knot on my back somehow connected to my inner front leg pain?

I pulled a muscle recently on my back and it didn't get better. Unfortunately my right side leg is now hurting as well. I think the problem is somehow connected. I never had problems with my leg before.. I have tried: Different pillows, back roller and self messages.. I think it was caused by: Weight lifting

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See more questions like this: What causes my leg knots? It is always accompanied by pain and short paralysis?

I have small muscle knot on back near left kidney. There is extreme electric current like shocking pain on that spot. no pain killer or muscle relaxant works. I massage regularly there but no improvement at all.

I have small muscle knot or pea sized area on back near left kidney. It is only about half inch deep.There is extreme electric current like shocking pain on that spot. no pain killer or muscle relaxant works.I am so fed up that at least thee should be some medicine to calm down my pain. I massage regularly there but no improvement at all. please advise in this regard. Is there any effective medicine to lessen my pain?

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See more questions like this: I had a deep muscle massage and my left armpit is knotting up because I had to drive 4 hours to my son's graduation?

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