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What Exactly are Muscle Knots?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

The phenomenon of muscle knots is not uncommon. Essentially, muscle knots are sections within the various muscles of the body that have constricted and create pain that is consistent. The condition is common enough to merit the application of a scientific name, which is myofascial trigger points. While there is not currently a definitive medical explanation as to why muscle knots form, several theories are undergoing testing. Here is some information about the nature of the muscle knot, as well as some of the treatment methods that are in use today.

The generally accepted answer to why muscle knots form is that something triggers a reaction where the muscle never relaxes. In effect, the muscle is always in a state where it appears to be actively rather than passively in use. This is unusual, since even with such activities as weight lifting, running, or any type of heavy lifting the muscle goes through a series of off and on cycles. The constant active condition of the muscle leads to muscle spasms, which in turn acts as the root cause the muscle knot.

Muscle knots can form at the back of the neck.
Muscle knots can form at the back of the neck.

Surgically removing a portion of muscle knots has led to the discovery of the presence of unusual deposits of protein within the tissue. There is also a theory that an excessive amount of connective tissue surrounding the muscle may also contribute to the development of muscle knots. However, very little research has been done on the matter of connective tissue, so most doctors do not recognize that as a contributing factor in the development of a myofascial trigger point.

Massage can be especially effective at loosening tight muscles in the back and neck.
Massage can be especially effective at loosening tight muscles in the back and neck.

There are several recommended treatments for muscle knots. Some involve the application of massage therapy to calm the knots. While massaging the knot may be somewhat painful during the process, there are reports of a temporary easing of the muscle spasm process. Other treatments involve the application of hot or cold packs to the muscle knots, as a means of helping the muscle to relax. Electrical stimulation, as well as ultrasound treatments are also common ways to deal with muscle knots.

Yoga can help prevent spasticity by keeping the practitioner's muscles flexible and relaxed.
Yoga can help prevent spasticity by keeping the practitioner's muscles flexible and relaxed.

At present, there does not seem to be any one effective means of eliminating the presence of muscle knots, although different people respond to one or more of these treatments over time. While it is rare, there are reports of muscle knots disappearing during treatments. However, in most cases, treatments are more focused on managing the condition, rather than eliminating the presence of the muscle knots.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including TheHealthBoard, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including TheHealthBoard, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Learn more...

Discussion Comments


I have knots in my back that resulted from spotting a wild kid on the floor who caused muscle tears when I caught her to prevent her from hurting herself. At the time I worked for a hospital in their orthopedic department so I had some PT and went on. Over the years (@30) the tears created scar tissue which was hard and tight. It got so bad that I had to come home and lie on the floor for 30 minutes before I could do anything else after work. My chiropractor used Graston to break up almost all but the oldest scar tissue which reduced the knotting significantly but not completely. I have also tried trigger point injections which worked very well once and not so great the second time. I would love to keep having Graston done but insurance will only cover a set dollar amount. If any of you have the opportunity to try Graston Technique to break up the knots in your muscles I highly recommend doing it as early as possible so you can get complete relief.


A cortisone shot directly in the knot did it for me. For 30 years I suffered with a knot in my right trapezius muscle. It bothered me so badly I wanted someone to drive a nail through it.

I would have the toughest, deepest tissue massage just in that area trying to get relief. Finally, after C-rays, exercise, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic services and an MRI, I found out it was referred pain coming from a pinch in my neck. My shoulder was compensating, causing a strain.

I went to an orthopedic specialist and got a cortisone shot in the trigger point. I was a little sore in that area for about three days and no more knot! One shot a year ago and the knot is gone, or at least I can't feel it!


A muscle knot is a particular area in our muscles that becomes sensitive. They are mostly caused by repetitive work, an injury, sometimes even from a bad posture. These triggers can spread to the body and this makes them difficult to find out and treat.

To treat the muscle knot, first you need to locate it, and acupuncture can be the best treatment. I had the problem and took two months of treatment from a physiomed clinic. For almost two years, the problem didn't arise, but I needed to take acupuncture treatment after that.


Infrared heat lamps helped relieve and shrink my muscle knots slowly over the last 10 months, and eating vegan diet showed a significant improvement.


Use muscle heat cream and heating pads and massage therapy.


I have also struggled with muscle knots around my shoulders and neck for years, the most satisfying commercial treatment I've found is acupuncture needles directly into the knots under a heat lamp followed by an acupressure massage on the points where the needle has been. The only time I ever feel relaxed is for those 20 minutes under the lamp where the pressure seems to be temporarily released off the muscle and for a few minutes after it's euphoric! You know the knots are bad when they 'grip' the needle as it's taken out. If I could afford this daily I would do it. It seems a logical way to break them down and is so satisfying.

Another thing I have introduced to try and manage them is the yantra mat. It's basically a mat of acupressure plastic pins that you lie on (I position it under neck and shoulders but anywhere you have muscle issues would work - there is a useful leaflet with it on how to position it!) It increases blood flow to the muscles so it's quite good at forcing those areas of your body to relax. I've started using it before bed and have been sleeping so much better. Hoping that with continued use it'll be another step in the direction of a knot free neck/shoulders as I refuse to accept I'm stuck with these things forever more!!

Hope the above is useful to others at least. I'm open to any other tips anyone can send my way! --Natalie


I have had a big muscle knot on my shoulder for three years now. The cause was from poor posture, a worn out bed, not getting enough rest, and overuse of my arm. I have been to doctors for cortisone shots that seemed to help in the beginning. I have also been to a chiropractor, I get regular massages that all help some but did not fix the problem. Recently I went to physical therapy which would have helped if they would have known a little more about my own body type.

The problem was and is flexibility. I have never been very flexible and never thought there was anything wrong with that.

To make things 100 times worse, I never was able to stretch my muscles in the correct way to make them actually stretch and not tear. According to something I saw online, there should be zero discomfort when stretching. This means I could only move my head and neck about three inches before I started to injure and tear the muscles instead of stretch them. Slowly, I have been able to stretch out the knot and get rid of the pain.

Don't forget about correct posture. I am convinced this is the source of muscle knots. Your ears should be directly over you shoulders, you neck should be straight and your shoulders down and back. If posture isn't natural, you probably have a lot of stretching to do.

I hope this helps at least one person. Good luck.


No one has mentioned the Alexander Technique. This may prove helpful for people like me with build ups of tension.


I have been getting massages recently. They have found muscle knots and have been getting them worked out, so we're making progress. But today when I went, they found about 10 more knots that were not even there last time. So that got me to thinking about what had I done in the last three days that was different? I normally eat very clean. No processed foodm or barely any. But what I did was make a chocolate cake and icing then proceeded to eat about four pieces in two days.

I am in agreement with Post 108. Diet must have something to do with the formation of knots. I know that I have food allergies and wheat is just one of them, but it's not bad enough to cause a trip to the emergency room. It causes inflammation and swelling of limbs and has a small effect on my breathing, and now I am realizing that it could also possibly be the cause of my muscle knots.


Something that has really helped me is The Stress Press. It's a massage tool that helps relieve stress and tension knots by focusing on trigger points. It's inexpensive and works wonders! Try it!


I am 26, and have been to five doctors. While I do have spine issues, they said my pain wasn't directly because of my spine and that it wasn't bad enough for surgery. I knew I had muscle knots, (I've had them before) but not this bad. I have neuropathy in my left leg. I just had a massage today. My doc said I had the myofascial syndrome, and is having me go through some tests for fibromyalgia and my thyroid.

I walk a lot, and my massage therapist suggested calcium and potassium.. I'm tired of hurting (over six months, two different types of physical therapy (one for two months), one steroid injection in the SI joint, taken prednisone orally, with no relief, so I'm hoping this provides some relief.

I need sleep, so I take ambien, but my concentration level is worse than normal and I'm so tired of being in pain. I would stretch but can't without being in some serious pain. Good luck to all who are suffering. May you find relief.


Honeybee venom, either through the sting itself, or injection, is very affective in treating this condition. Find an apitherapist to help.


I haven't read all of the posts here but it seems like a good place to talk about the situation I find myself in.

I am a man with pelvic floor tension where the muscles are permanently hard. It's affected my whole body where the muscles have also become hard, tight and painful.

No massage (PT) has helped of yet in relieving the hard, taut muscles and although I've been assured that it's just muscle knots how can I be certain it is just muscle knots and not something more?


Here is a relief for everyone. This is a simple method of self healing, something that you do with the tips of your fingers.

Before you start, please note: You must learn to make difference between nerve pain and muscle pain.

Muscle pain feels dull and funny but you kind of like it because you can go though it. You will be working with this pain. The pain will be your guide.

Nerve pain, however, is burning, hot, so avoid causing it. Nerves feel like very thin strings inside your body.

A released muscle is very soft, like a cat’s muscles. A muscle with a knot is hard to the touch.

To release a muscle knot, follow the muscle with the tip of your fingers until you find its starting or ending point (where it connects to the bone though a harder tissue - ligament). Press the ligament towards the bone, until you feel the relaxation of the muscle tension. After you untie yourself from the first muscle knot, you will shortly find out that now you can feel where the next is. Repeat the procedure with the next spot. Repeat the procedure with each and every muscle in your whole body. Yes, you will have to go though each square millimeter of your body, but you will find out that you actually like doing it.

If you cannot reach a point in your body due to limited flexibility, you simply start with the muscle group that is limiting your flexibility. Limited flexibility means too many muscles that stay contracted all the time, or in other words, hundreds of knots. After a couple of hours of releasing knot of after knot, you will soon realize that your body flexibility and ease of movement is increasing.

It can take a couple of days of intensive self healing to achieve good results for people suffering from invasive lack of flexibility, but this method will eliminate all kinds of pain and health issues. It brings the body to it’s full health potential. When you completely untie your body, all bones will return in their natural positions.

When a muscle contracts, it starts pulling the bone out of its alignment. When the tension is released, the bone returns to its natural position. Sometimes you will feel your bones coming into alignment and this is very good. If your body feels like it needs to make a sharp movement (like a kick in the air with a twist) give in to it; it might need it to put a bone into alignment. If you hear a pop, this is a good sign of alignment. Your goal is the ability to touch every millimeter of your skeleton without feeling hard muscles.

And the most important part: What is causing knots and how to avoid them.

Your physical body including your muscles suffer from the negative thoughts which you emit. This is your bad mental activity coming back to you. One of its names is Karma. You must cure yourself from that negative you, that Satan that is living inside you. If you keep living your old life, you will never find health and happiness. Either just happiness, or just health. God does not allow your ego to have both. You can only have them both if you start loving God more than you love yourself. This will bring you peace, both physical and mental.

I will not talk much about how this will affect your overall health because your doctor is not going to like it. Only that, if everyone does this to himself, doctors will die hungry.


I am a seventeen year old and due to the weight of my school loads, I have had a few back pains here and there, but recently I found this sort of small bump on the bottom of my right shoulder blade that feels as if my muscles are tense in that specific area. When I rub the area (especially with my knuckles) it feels good in a weird way but yet it triggers some nerves. What can this be?


This site is the closest I found to what I have happening to me for the last 30 years. In school I would get knocked around and the muscle impacted would swell for several minutes in the area impacted. This would lead to loss of use of the muscle for several minutes to hours. Sometimes the muscle would swell on its own from normal use. Now I have where I sleep at night and try to move only to have multiple core muscles having the same symptoms.


I have a huge knot found on edge of the right quad and IT Band. They have tried ultrasound and massage seems to ease it for awhile but comes back they have tried ice on it eases it, but not enough. It just comes back again and tightens back up again. What do I do? Is surgery an option?


post 111: Hi Amber. The knot you describe is a result of neck strain, quite common and easily repaired via a massage therapist who specializes in trigger point therapy. We have the patient lie on their side, with free elbow extended 90 degrees from the body, upper arm angled down to the table, exposing the knotted area from under the shoulder blade.

The technique involves holding acute pressure, until the muscle releases (about 15-30 seconds). Having the patient focus on the area, deep breaths, while exhaling and mentally commanding the area to relax makes a huge difference. We intermittently work around the knot, gradually spiraling into the center releasing parts of the knot as we go, thus minimizing pain. To prevent re-occurrence, neck and shoulder stretching via pulling the head forward and diagonally seems to do the trick.


I would just like to point out to 115 I am a fire fighter who trains six days a week with weights and CV and ran the London Marathon earlier this year. I suffer from muscle knots inside my shoulder blade that stops me from moving my neck.


I am Logan, and I have suffered with chronic muscle knots for over ten years. I think that you have to consider many options when dealing with it and first understand if it is a trigger point that is causing the problems.

I can give advice on what I know only regarding muscles. If it is a spinal related problem, then there is little I can say about that. But over the years, I have learned many things which only too recently have led me to discover other effective approaches to treatments.

You have to be very clued in if you are seeking osteo or chiro treatments. But in the end, if the problem has gone on for several months, the only person who can help you, is you! That's how I have found it to be.


I suffered a repetitive shoulder injury that was diagnosed as tendinosis by ultrasound; Massage therapy didn't due much of any good to release the knot/spasm. In the beginning the physiotherapist would give me TENS electrical stimulation which helped release the knot/spasm for the day, but it always came back, and any lifting would cause severe pain.

It took several years but i have gotten to a point now were if I don't use my shoulder for anything stressful, I can avoid the severe pain. Lately when it flares up, I take a wooden croquet ball, and lie on the floor and roll around with the ball massaging the knot/spasm; I had an MRI of my shoulder and found that impingement syndrome likely is the cause of the spasms/knots.

Trigger point injections into the spasm/knot hurt like hell, but they give me two to three weeks relief. Good luck to all. Peace out.


Advice please! I am a 27 year old male who feels like he's 40 plus. I have six golf ball or lager sized knots surrounding both shoulder blades (12 total). I can no longer lift any weights and even running can be hard because heavy breathing causes them to inflame around my rib cage.

I have tried massage, chiro, acupunture and none of them gave me relief. The injury first started five years ago and since has spread. I paint houses for a living and work can be very difficult. I need relief. Any suggestions? Besides getting a different job, which is out of the question.


To post 115: Obviously you've never had a muscle knot. I have, and do still, three years after my accident. I've tried everything from massage, chiropractic, e-stim, ultrasound, trigger point injections, and a nerve block. If exercise was the only thing to help, my knot, or my egg as I call it would have been gone long ago. How dare you judge someone for writing something on a forum when you yourself did the same thing? Do us a favor and go exercise and keep your mouth shut.


I am a Remedial massage therapist and a myotherapist. I have been treating clients with muscle knots almost every day. Smaller knots are easy to treat. They can be dissolved quite easily. Bigger knots are difficult; they need much longer time. Cases like "post 109" should be easy to treat.


@Post 115: How comfortable to hear that there are no such things as muscles knots and exercising is the answer. What a broad brush you use.


The answer is very simple. First you must make sure you are hydrated enough and have enough mineral salts in you, such as sea salt or pink salt, rather than processed table salt.

Second is doing one of either exercises. Google and search hindu pushups and the wrestlers bridge. These exercise strengthen and stretch the muscles in your body, which will help with any muscle knots. If you do this the only muscle knots you get will be temporary when adjusting to a higher exercise load on those particular muscles in your body, within due time the body adjusts it will go away.

You can also experiment with hot/cold showers and baths.


I hurt my lower back few years ago, tried all sorts of treatments, chiro, physio, injections,etc. All do help for a bit. But was told by someone to try homeopathy. I thought what more do I have to lose, so I tried it. Worked way better in my case. After my back injury, I couldn't go to the gym, now I can, I do still injure my back though when I push too hard at gym, but that's because of my impatience, trying to build too quickly.

I seriously suggest homeopathy, its very very cheap and completely natural medicine.

I wish everyone a speedy recovery. May the gracious, merciful God heal our aching bodies. Peace be to everyone.


i am a beauty therapist, so many people ask why they have sore muscles and what causes the bumpy feeling when massaged. can someone please give me an easy explanation for my clients? It would be greatly appreciated.


muscle knots do not exist. Quit complaining on a forum about your pain and exercise. That's how you will help your "pain."


Amber (question #111): You should consider going to a good chiropractor. Ask your parents to ask their friends and doctors for recommendations. I woke up one morning with this really terrible pain in my back; it was so bad I couldn't breathe. I went to the doctor and was told I had several ribs popped out of place.

Five years later, and I still have chronic problems with my ribs shifting. I have a minimum of five popped out of place as I write this! Going to a chiropractor or massage therapist are the only things that help me, and I've done everything from medicine to physical therapy. Hope this helps


It's normal to have fluid build up (knots) in your muscles all over your body. if it really bothers you, drink tons of water and stretch when you wake up in the morning and exercise regularly.

@28: there is no "permanent" cure for knots, unless you die and 79, my lord, you are thirteen. Quit playing X-box and go do something. you're going to be a full blown hypochondriac by the time you're eighteen if you're writing on websites about knots in your back.


my name's amber. i am 17 and i woke up and i had a really bad pain and so i went to the doc two days later and i found out that i have a muscle knot right outside of my shoulder blade, but i haven't been working out or anything and they gave me meds for the pain. after i told her the meds weren't working, she gave me more of the same thing only 50mg more and i hurt so bad.

i can't sit, stand, walk, lie down, sleep or anything without it hurting so bad. I cried the other night it hurt so bad. and today i was in so much pain i got sick. what do i do?


I recently started running. When I run on the treadmill my shins hurt so bad I can hardly get off the machine. When I run outside after about 2 miles I have to stop and I can't move my whole leg. My runs are 5-12 miles, as I am training for a half-marathon, but I'm not sure I can run the whole 13 miles because I'm dying now. I've tried stretching during the run but It doesn't help as good as it should. Please help!


I'm a 24 year old petite female (5'4", 110) and have so many knots around the base of my neck, in between my shoulder blades, on top on my shoulder blades and shoulders, along my spine, and basically everywhere in my back.

The base of my neck and in between my shoulder blades are the worst, and feels like a bag of marbles are in my back. i try to get a massage regularly (once a month) and i have my boyfriend give me massages all the time. i also feel like my arms and hands also need to be massaged regularly. can stress really be causing this (what I've been told in the past).

i do yoga as well and drink plenty of water. at this point i really don't know what to do and would just like to know what its like to live a day without this pain. is it possible something else is really wrong? worth it to see a dr? how can this go away?


Try changing your diet. Many of the foods we eat are causing inflammatory reactions in the body such as joint and muscle pain. After changing my diet to whole foods and no flour and sugar, my pain symptoms have been relieved tremendously along with supplemental support. With the help of a Naturopath I no longer have that chronic debilitating pain. Good luck and bless you all.


I'm suffering from a muscle knot on my neck and my grandma is trying to rub my neck so i can move it around but it's so much pain for me. what do i do?


To Geno (or #63): Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have been trying to figure out what I was feeling and have been unable to get adequate help. But this sounds exactly like what I am feeling in terms of the direction of the muscle fibers and that it's definitely a fluid. I'm so glad that I know what to look for as I work toward living with less physical pain!

Also, to those who see chiropractors: If you have to keep going back for treatment, it's not worth it. I know it feels great to have those joints cracked, but I can tell you that dealing with any muscular issues first will serve you all much better.

When the muscles are relaxed, the skeleton will adjust and they'll crack on their own. The 'adjustment' only exacerbates the (t)issue. Also, shoes and arches cannot be taken too seriously when it comes to back pain. My entire body developed wonky because of this, and the work I've done to correct it has been helping enormously.


I've been suffering with upper body pain and weakness for a few months now. I noticed the upper portion of my body couldn't handle much. I had a cather ablation for atrial fibrillation in January 2010 and it's been about 98 percent successful. I still get flutters, but the trade off is a blessing, I believe.

I thought perhaps the reason why I was feeling the way I was had something to do with the CA procedure, but after reading these blogs I'm thinking maybe not.

I have a real sore and tender spot right at the tip of my spine below my neck on the left side. When I touch/press on it (I'm hypersensitive) it feels like it radiates to the left side of my brain and eye. It also goes down through my left shoulder blade where it appears to have started.

I don't have medical insurance. I have an appointment at the free clinic in March. If no one cancels before then, I must wait. You have to wait all night at the county hospital here in LA and they wouldn't consider this an emergency.

Check into Adrenal Fatigue as well. Because we are such a stressed society, I believe we are experiencing these kinds of ailments that are relatively new to some doctors.

Acupuncture, which I tried several years ago for shoulder pain, really worked. I lost my job back in Sept so I can't afford it right now as I'm on a fixed income but I will definitely go back when there is the money to do so.

Thank you all for this helpful information. I wish you good health and happiness, and if you have anything you can add regarding information or things you do for this problem, please let me know. Peace and blessings!


I have tried everything to get rid of knots in my calf, I had ankle surgery and it seems to have triggered them. I have gotten on to rolfing, deep tissue massage. It seems to have worked out the knots and I have only had two sessions. It is very painful and left bruising, but if it gets rid of them, I am more than happy!


I have a knot in my lower back right side, close to my spine. at first i thought it was a knot (contracted muscle)but then it got worse and worse and grew in size. it started becoming painful then one day at work it was unbearable.the knot had got bigger and was really hard.

i saw a physician at a free clinic (no insurance) and he told me that it was a growth which totally shocked me. he said he doesn't know how they get there and that it needs to be surgically removed. I'm nervous and don't have any idea what they're going to charge, or if they even know what they're doing. any information would be very helpful and i hope my message helps someone. thanks.


in response to post #87/anon119727: i totally am in the same boat as you. 28 years old, been through countless MRI, x-ray, mammograms, electronystagmography, etc. convinced by docs i had MS, parkinson's disease, and worse.

i thought i was heading toward a slow, young death. then my current dr. felt my back, and said "oh, you have a knot smothering a nerve back here. that is where your breast pain, hand numbness, headaches, and stiff jaw are coming from!" then i fell onto this site and it is all confirmed. i had my husband deeply beat the crap out of the knot daily, and it already 50 times better. my massage is scheduled next week, and i can't wait. i am alive! cheers!


I have had a lump to the side of my left shoulder blade toward the spine for over four years. I painted a faux finish on a ceiling, and used my left arm when my right arm got tired.

Because I'm right handed, I think my left side wasn't used to being overworked. I noticed the lump a few weeks after I actually painted, but there was nothing else that could have caused it. I went to my doctor, and she said it was a muscle spasm, and that it may not completely go away, unless I wanted surgery - which I don't.

It isn't painful anymore, and it is smaller, but I was wondering what to do at this stage to get rid of the protrusion that I notice through thin shirts, and when I wear a bathing suit.

I'm a 48 year old petite female. I have had massages to help it, and even went for acupuncture (but don't think that helped). Will the lump eventually go away by itself?


I have been dealing with knots in various places with in my whole back, mainly upper back middle back surrounding my spinal cord, my neck, shoulder blades are the worst and some times i get them so bad that i can't breathe! so my solution so far is to grab a hammer and hit the spots that had a knot. it works for me but then again i am a bodybuilder! thanks. Martin


And also to the one about having knots for four years and a back of steel, I am a petite female.


I'm 17, and I've had knots in my shoulder blades, upper back, and quads for four years now. I've yet to see a chiropractor, but my back has become so stiff that it is literally steel. I am always asking for massages, but I only enjoy extremely hard massages and it's very hard to pinpoint all the knots, and everyone who has touched my back recommends I get it checked out. But my back is so messed up, will a massage therapist really be able to fix it up?


Hard foam roller. I have had muscle knots or trigger points for many years and have recently reduced them dramatically by rolling on a hard foam roller, with instruction and feedback from a HFR practitioner. Look for the videos...there are a number of them


For all you women who get muscle knots try using progesterone cream, better yet if you can get a script for Prometrium which is a natural plant progesterone, take two caps at night. You sleep great and the knots and pain will go away. You must keep it up though. No side effects. A doctor won't believe you, but it works better than any muscle relaxer.


I have been dealing with knots along the tops of my shoulders and down both sides of my shoulder blades for six years now.

I was taking anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers until i got fed up with them not working. I found a wonderful masseuse. I would get neuromuscular and deep tissue massages and would go back for maintenance. I recently moved and had to go through a few masseuses before i found the right one for me. Currently i have been taking anti-inflammatories and having regular massages until the knots work out. I have been more aware of my posture and the ergonomic habits of sitting at my computer. I have also been looking into visiting a chiropractor to see if they can help me at all.

All of the things i have mentioned have helped me to manage the knots i get in my upper back. I hope this helps.


Massage Therapy is the best approach for relieving trigger points/knots. I also get adjusted regularly at Health 1st, which my treatment plan includes massage therapy and physical therapy. It has done wonders! Plus relieves stress which in turn prevents knots/trigger points!


Tennis balls! I have found that placing a tennis ball between the wall and my back and sliding up and down is almost as good as having someone massage you. I also hold the ball in my hand and run it along my shoulders and neck. It feels great! Try it!


today during school (third period is when it started) my neck or lower neck started hurting randomly. i don't know why though.My mom has tried popping it, but it only made the pain go away for a while. I don't drink that much water. would that probably be the reason that i got a muscle spasm (the nurse said that i had that on my neck muscle)?


After stumbling upon this site after researching fibro/trigger points, i find out that many people suffer from this dominating muscle knot pain.

i have read every post and one commenter has done the same thing i did to combat the pain, albeit temporarily.

The iNeed massager from Brookstone totally crunches the muscle knot and besides theracane, is the only device that really works.

But it never truly goes away. I'm getting incrementally better with fibro after being diagnosed last month- with meds/sleep/vitamins but trigger points still remain.

i have defeated everything that i set my mind to for the most part, but this time i have been defeated and really depressed that i will have this pain forever.


I thought I was going crazy until I read this site!

I am 29 years old and had an accident at work on an aircraft pulling a trolley 18 months ago, after countless doc appointments scans and x-rays we found I have a slipped disc in T6-T7 and a number of bulges surrounding. I was told nothing they can do and to take a paracetamol and anti inflammatory! Totally dismissed me. I'm now waiting for a second surgeon's opinion!

Since Jan of this year the pain has been immense, I can't stand on a morning, can't feel my right hand and I'm in constant pain. Recently I've been diagnosed with depression as I would rather die than continue like this.

After reading all of your injuries/problems I now know what is wrong, the electric tingling, headaches, tiredness and constant excruciating pain. I am about to lose my home due to being off work and not earning any money, and I can't afford the 24 tablets a day I have been prescribed!

I am off to the doctors now to show them this page and hopefully get some correct treatment.

Thank you all so much for sharing. I'm actually crying with joy that I'm not crazy and I'm not imagining all these weird symptoms. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


I have four huge knots in my lower back and it stinks. It stinks to be only 25 and in as much pain as my mother (if not more, since she gets treatment for her pain and I can't due to no insurance). Nothing helps. My husband used to try to help but he gave up. He would rather see me in pain then rub out the knots every day or at least once a week. His rule of thumb is, he can't feel it so who cares.

I fell down the steps and the pain is so much worse!

I've had these knots in my back for the last eight years now. They started when I was 16, but when I was 16 it wasn't that bad, but they grew and grew and just got worse.

Giving birth to my son natural was painful, more due to the back labor then anything else.

But I deal with it and live with the pain. it could always be worse, right.


I have a continuous growth on my right shoulder, above my clavicle. There is no pain in my shoulder or arm. I play softball and golf and use my right arm quite a bit for my career. Should I be concerned that this large "knot-looking" bump is still growing? What could this be?


I get a muscle knot under my right shoulder blade periodically. I bought a Homedics TherapistSelect Wave Action Massager with Heat. It is heavy enough so it sits firmly on your back when using it, and doesn't bounce all over. It works really good to break up the knot, but you should also drink plenty of water after using it or you can get a headache from the "toxins" that are released into your blood when the knot breaks up. Hope this helps!


I have found that the following work for muscle knots.

1) Physiotherapy.

2) Drinking plenty of water, is sometimes needed to work with other approaches.

3) Deep massage with the fingers. Controlled, not too painful. Also "rubbing the muscle" between fingers.

4) Massage with arnica massage oil, the more arnica in there the better.

5) Treatment with a Scenar, electrotherapy device. Very effective. The knotted area often gets warm and red for a while after treatment.

In many cases, I find you can eliminate the knots.


I take vitamin D3 supplements. This has helped ease my pain. Vitamin D3 boosts your immune system as well. I normally am sick three or four times a year. I haven't been sick since I have been taking this vitamin. I have been taking it for 1 1/2 years.


I hurt bad for a month - entire upper right side hurting a knot below my shoulder blade. My right arm was hurting like crazy, I couldn't sleep, had knots popping up on my entire arm muscle, I lost strength in my right hand.

I went to an orthopedic doctor and he said it was a pulled muscle, gave me anti-inflammatory meds. It kept hurting so I went to my GP, and he said Shoulder Impingement Syndrome, sent me to therapy, and it kept hurting.

Two of my friends begged me to see their chiropractor so I did. He said probably a pinched nerve in my upper spine/neck. He said that he would "adjust" me and for me to come back in four days, if it wasn't better he would order an MRI. If it was gone, I could "name my firstborn after him" (joking, because I'm 64). He did his adjustment then used bio-freeze and some sort of instrument on my neck/shoulder/arm for about 30 minutes (electrical heat/massage). The next day I was pain free!

The next day it started hurting again - slightly, so I did go back last Friday for the same treatment. I have had no more pain! I'm not saying any chiropractor could do this, so ask around for referrals. I thanked mine - he said, "Don't thank me, God gave me this talent and I love using it". He didn't tell me to come back for treatments like many of them will, just said "if it starts bothering you again, call."


I'm Pete and i have had this issue as well. keep active (yes i know this might help contribute to the knots), eat healthy, stretch and get a massage from time to time to help relieve some stress. if its too costly for a massage then see if a friend can help you out (or relative). anyway good luck and take care!

I'm in no way any sort of professional of any kind. I'm simply posting some ideas that have helped me out!


I'm 13 and I have really bad muscle knots. I don't know what to do; it hurts all the way through my left side. The thing is there is always something wrong with me. sometimes my back is in pain and sometimes its my leg and sometimes my foot or ankle. I really need help.


I am 19. Not sure how long, maybe for years, I've had these knots. I know of two major knots. One on my lower right back, which is only a burning sensation one (I'm very used of it, but it irritates me) And the one I hate most is right beneath my right shoulder blade. I believe its the one that causes sharp pain every day. It seems that my right shoulder could be loose or something, because when I try to keep my back aligned, it tends to hurt badly and wants to hang forward.

So I don't bother with keeping my back straight and keep on slouching.

I was wondering if maybe these back pains or knot results lead back to my leg that I've broken before, when I was three.

I am thinking maybe one leg could be longer than the other, but I can't tell.

I'd rather die than to live the rest of my life like this. I'm not 80 yet. I'm only 19.

I'm from an Alaskan village, but health aides don't do much; they're crappy.

I want to get some sort of x-ray or something to target that darn knot and get rid of it.

PS Alaska is where everything has to be worked for harder. More physical doings and whatnot. So help me Lord.


i have a knot the size of a tennis ball in on my upper right side of my back. I've tried heat and my boyfriend massages trying to get it out but it won't go away. Any advice?


Having good posture, whether walking or sitting is important. i have experimentally practiced bad posture at work and on my computer at home while remaining committed to weight lifting and discovered the same result while not working out and having bad posture. there is less tension when your back is straight as opposed to slouching.


- anon87633: my knots are so bad, i can't reach my back.


I have been getting trigger points, or muscle knots on and off for about seven years now. Lately, they have been really bad. I just turn to the right and there are knots up and down my left side, so sore it hurt to have my clothes rub against them.

I get nerve pain up and down my legs from the ones in my back and in my butt and hips. I get bad arm pain from the ones in my neck and shoulders. I have taken muscle relaxers, lortab, used my TENS, did warm epsom salts baths. Stretching, therapy, massage.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I also do aqua therapy. Thanks, Kris


I have struggled with knots in my back for a few years now. Lately it spread out so tense and bad that I could barely move my neck. It caused horrible headaches that I struggled with 50 percent of the week. But then a lady prayed for me and the next day I was checked; and there´s no knots in my back! None!

Praise to Jesus Christ who took all our sins and sicknesses when he was sacrificed for our sakes on the cross.

Put your hand on your back as you read this, and I pray that Jesus do the same for you. May you receive all his grace, goodness, healing, and salvation through faith. Amen

Synnøve 22, Norway


I didn't realize I had knots, and then my friend started giving me a shoulder massage, working away at them, saying "your back's pretty messed up, huh?"

Afterward, it felt so amazing -- like my arms could move properly, and my neck wasn't tense, and wouldn't crack if I laterally flexed it. It was incredible.

Will be taking better care of my back now.


I have been dealing with muscle knots for eight straight years. The pain never goes away. Some days are better than others, but more bad than good. I have taken every pain pill, over the counter, patches, creams, therapy, injections, etc.

My heart palpitates and I get very bad headaches, and feel light headed sometimes, the pain is so bad. I do notice when i stretch, pull, bind, roll on a ball, use umbrella, tennis balls, back brace, trigger point, lortab, flexeril, diazepam, flector patch even tried morphine patches but my body couldn't handle them. I've tried soma, tramadol, lidoderm patches --i mean everything possible.

Please help me. I don't know what to do. I'm about to lose husband over pain all the time. I have a mold in my couch from the heating pad. i cry, i drink, i laugh, but no matter what i do, it's still around. I think people might think I'm crazy because it's something I've complained about every, every day for eight years straight. Please help with some advice.


If you have muscle pain, tensions, tightness, knots, chances are you are not utilizing your body's full potential! We all are born with capacity for beautiful, effortless, economical movement, but from an early age we learn "short cuts" where we get into muscular habits that involve very poor muscular use.

How much effort are you putting into picking up that glass of water? How many extraneous muscles are you using in your regular walk? This may seem like an overwhelming concept, but through Feldenkrais lessons you can slowly "re-learn" how to walk, sit, stand, etc. in a more efficient manner than you do now.

The simple lessons slowly retrain the body's nervous system, rerouting subconsciously the most simple of movements, so that you may begin to move better in your daily life. I have been dealing with a chronic hip injury from when I was 14 (I am now 21) and after only a few months of Feldenkrais ATM lessons (Called "Awareness Through Movement") I have noticed a considerable change.

Please, if you are experiencing problems with muscle knots or any type of chronic pain, look into it!


I've had knots all over my body since I was 25. Some are so deep they go from the bone to the surface. Some are the size of golf balls, others the size of dimes. They never stop hurting and they always come back even after deep muscle massage (which is beyond excruciating) until I tried lyrica or gabapentin -- they will completely get rid of the knots. But once you go off the medicine they come back. Hope this helps.


I am a tennis player and have had knots in my upper back for years. I actually like chiropractics, however, cannot do that all the time due to cost.

The best advice I would give is to lay on the floor with one or two tennis balls, between you and the floor, on the knots. This will put just the right amount of pressure.

Hold for five minutes, taking deep breaths.

The other thing, a quick amazing cure, is something I bought at Relax the Back. I don't know the name of it, but it looks like a bra without the cups (it goes around the shoulder blades and adjusts in the back - would highly recommend for men and women). Wear it for a day and it corrects the posture, strengthens the back, and drastically eases the pain.


I am a runner (38, female), used to be a ballet dancer for 10 years, and I still have a lot of flexibility so I practice stretches every two to three days a week. A few weeks ago I discovered a dull pain in the back of my left knee that restrains some movement when I am stretching, the pain is only present in certain positions, never when running or standing, but I am curious because it does not seem to fade. What can this be?


To anon71634: These muscle "knots" are not a build up of lactic acid! Although we have been told this for many years, this is actually a myth. I too am a massage therapist (for seven years now) and have been told this same information.


A knot is not a knot, believe it or not! I am an Olympic Massage Therapist (both summer and winter games).

I have dissected over 20 cadavers and studied muscle fibers under the scope in my Pre-Med classes at three major universities.

Fluid buildup, trapped within muscle fascias (such as epimysium, perimysium, endomysium etc.) can create that "lumpy" texture. Proper "muscular massage" therapy, based on each muscles unique shape and fiber pattern, will help tremendously to move fluids out of their trapped environment.

Wiping the skin over "fluid build-up" areas will do little. Any therapist that uses the term "knot" with their clients are showing a lack of anatomical knowledge.

If you don't know what a "knot" is, don't use the term "knot". It is a dead end term. In my courses, we never use the word "knot", believe it or not! Geno


I am a massage therapist in Cambridge, MA and have been working as such for more than five years.

There's one thing that the article above doesn't mention. That is, that muscle knots are caused by a chemical in the body that responds to stress and/or overexertion called lactic acid.

This substance forms between the layers of muscle tissue like a crazy glue and forms adhesions or road blocks which can impede movement and therefore also cause imbalances in your structure and the muscle tightens and contracts in response to these imbalances if help from a therapist is not sought out.

Massage is the only method that will eliminate knots in muscle tissue. However, you need to be massaged regularly, about once a month at least or more for serious issues, to eliminate the aches, pains and imbalances caused by the buildup of lactic acid in your system. It's a toxin that you need to be rid of!

Also, muscle tissue needs hydration. Drink water! This will not stop knots from forming, but will help with contractions anywhere in the body or i.e.) a 'charlie horse' as some refer to in the calf muscle in the back of the lower portion of the leg.

To anon4180, make sure that it's a knot and not a groin pull or hernia by seeing your primary care physician. I can't believe that it doesn't hurt? Anyway, take care of your muscles and they will take care of you! GM, Cambridge MA


Number 52: Thank you so much for all of your advice. I will take it heart and try to get these knots out of by back. I'm glad that you're alive too. I've never liked chiropractors. I had one when I was 8. Can you believe that?

He used to say "listen to the popcorn sounds" and I thought "what? sounds like you're breaking me." Anyway, I haven't gone to one since then and I don't intend to. I might try a massage therapist, but who knows?

I'll try what you suggested first to save money. Thanks again.


I have chronic back pain from muscle spasms as well. My natural build is curvy. I have an above average chest size and also tend to carry weight around my stomach. These are huge risk factors for developing back problems.

Back pain is a daily problem for me that's getting worse. Managing the pain with anti-inflammatory meds is not longer enough. I am now focusing on weight loss, along with exercises and yoga to relax and strengthen both back and abdominal muscles.

Some other things I do to manage pain which helps: heat, ice, stretches, sports creams, massage and a back support wrap when the pain is constant(can buy in any pharmacy).

For women, I know it isn't in fashion any longer but a girdle helps tremendously to stabilize and support the back. Also give attention to your mattress, pillow and the positions you sleep in.

A tempurpedic pillow has worked wonders for my neck and a pillow between the knees helps the lower back.

With all of that said, these are only aids to for getting some pain relief. I have become convinced that the only way to eliminate the pain is through exercise, muscle toning and a healthy lifestyle.

I know people who have gone from chronic back problems to being fit and pain free and I'm a believer. However, starting slow and working up is the way to success and avoidance of further injury (remember the story of the turtle and the rabbit? Persistence is key!).

Always consult your doc if you have a diagnosed back condition before beginning or altering any exercise plan. Good luck everyone.


My name is Tonia and I will be 39 years old in a few months. In 2001 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

The last few months I have been having severe pain just in one place on my body, not counting my regular chronic pain from the fibro, but the pain will last for a few days and when the pain goes away, I'm left with a good size knot where I had the pain.

I have them on my head, my arms, and legs. The pain is very very severe and when I'm having the severe pain and after I'm left with a knot, my muscles are very weak. Please help.


To 42: i have a similar thing in my lower back alongside my bottom vertebrae. My physio nurse has told me it is very common in women after child birth but it can also happen to men quite easily. It can be a fall on that side or just simply a step awkwardly off a kerb.

She is treating me for that next week but i can imagine it will involve stretches and maybe some manipulation. i will keep you posted. i also have a piriformis muscle problem. It is deep in your buttock and can remain in spasm. It causes a throbbing pain and sciatica when it swells as it sandwiches the sciatic nerve.

To stretch it, get a partner with a fist to press down for 90 seconds lightly massaging and release, repeat a few times and then apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling. the alternative is to sit on a potato. Sounds strange, i know, but without a partner it can be quite easy to do and as they are not round it is a stable thing to sit on.

this is advice i have received from my nhs physio nurse and i thought i'd share as this is very similar to knot symptoms as i forever get them in my back.


Response to post 54. I know very well exactly the amount of pain you are experiencing! You sound like me for over two years now, and my injuries were also from an auto accident at about 40 mph, though I was hit on the front right of my car when the other car crossed the line and my path coming from the other direction.

The other car spun around 180 degrees as we impacted at their rear passenger quadrant. If it had been a direct head on hit, we'd all be dead.

Look, you need a good accident lawyer who will help you get MRIs on your entire cervical and lumbar spine, your shoulders and anywhere else that hurts because it sounds like you have similar injuries to mine.

I have very serious injuries. My left ankle is still messed up with swollen Achilles tendon and the tendons that follow along each side injured so I have to wear a brace for months. My right shoulder has torn rotator cuff, two muscles and multiple tendons are injured, plus torn bicep so I have multiple muscle knots all over my upper right arm, upper back and shoulder. The shoulder injury is called Impingement Syndrome.

The worst injuries are a herniated compressed disk at L5-S1 with compressed nerve root (pinched nerve). Then I have three herniated compressed disks in my neck at C4-5, C5-6, and C6-7 with compressed nerve roots.

That pressure caused me multiple chronic spasms in my neck and shoulder and down my back, especially next to my spine and across my shoulder blade on my right side. In fact, the physical therapist said I had my entire upper back in chronic unrelenting clinched spasms and it took 12 treatments to get most of them to relax enough so I wasn't about to scream every minute from the intensity of the pain.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that you need MRIs over your entire spine and especially up in your neck, possibly shoulder/s and any other place that hurts chronically. Then you need a good neurosurgeon (the lawyer should help you get the best) and an orthopedist.

I am facing multiple surgeries, starting with a partially frozen shoulder.

I did find some relief for the muscle spasms in my upper back with ultrasound, massage and stretching exercises from a good physical therapist. I was in total agony for months until then and I went three times a week for four weeks.

They couldn't do ultrasound on my neck as it was too close to the carotid artery, but massage and acupressure did help to give me some relief from the huge knot I had in the side of my neck that protruded over an inch and could be seen without turning my neck to the left it was so bad.

I still have it, but it's much smaller now so if I turn my head to the left and move my hair, you can still see it on the right side.

Every time the weather is changing, especially when it is about to rain, I know days in advance and I don't watch weather or local news reports. I am infallible about predicting rain and I suffer something awful. My injuries are all soft tissue.

In addition, from the upper back injuries, I now have Fibromyalgia that I never had before the accident. At the Mayo Clinic website, I learned an upper back injury to the nerves probably caused me to develop this from months of unrelenting pain (creating hyper sensitive nerves in my upper back and neck) so I have to take expensive medication twice every day.

I don't know if you had a good doctor check you out, but it does sound to me like you need at least one and probably several, sooner rather than later.

My great GP doctor was a little dismissive about the pain I was in, calling it soft tissue injuries that would take a long time to heal. The truth is I should have had MRI right away, but Medicare wouuldn't pay for it.

Now that I found a lawyer, literally five days before my statue of limitations expired, and he arranged for payment of the MRI, Medicare has to pay for treatment until the insurance company for the other driver can be forced to pay.

I am always in pain, but it varies by degrees. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the least and 10 being the most, I range from 2-3 up to 8. I equate the pain to being similar to labor from childbirth on a bad day.

And before everyone starts thinking I set out to make money, I waited for a year and eight months before I contacted a lawyer, then he disappeared for months. I couldn't find him to fire him and no other lawyer would even talk to me while I had a lawyer hired.

I was lucky to find one by posting on a legal website. My lawyer is young, but he's been doing this for two years and literally filed the suit to protect my statue of limitations one hour before the courthouse closed and the statue expired.

I am the least litigious person around and lived in agony all this time. It has now been 27 months and I'm about to have my first surgery (non-invasive) to release my partially frozen shoulder with follow up physical therapy, ultrasound and massage.

I know quite a bit about medicine for a lay person and I know better than to see a chiropractor when you may have spine or neck injuries because the insurance doesn't want to pay for proper expensive tests and treatment to fix you.

If I had gone to one with the seriousness of my injuries, well I shudder to think what might have happened. I could be paralyzed and possibly forced to live on a respirator the rest of a greatly shortened life.

I am not meaning to sound like I am on a soapbox, but it really sounds like you have serious injuries that go way beyond muscle knots. Please get good medical help and a good lawyer.

Don't wait and be foolish like I was. I wish I'd immediately gone straight to a top law firm that specializes in auto accidents, though I lucked out finding this young lawyer. And don't hire them unless they have a good track record and are willing to go to trial instead of just settling.

I suffer from lifelong injuries with pain for the rest of my life. We're just hoping the degree with be lessened with surgery, but I will never be the same. This is considered a genuine whiplash and shouldn't be dismissed when people are in pain and say they have it.

Thanks and good luck.


I'm a 22 year old female and I have many knots in back. I try using a heating pad and then working them out with self massage (for the ones I can reach) and the tennis ball treatment thing for them as well. I can't take NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medicines because of my stomach ulcer. When I try to work the knots out that are in my shoulder blades, I get really bad shooting pain in my shoulder. I was wondering if anyone else experiences this? I can feel the knots in the shoulder blade "crunching" however they don't "release". I just don't know what else to do, seeming as I can't currently afford to go to a chiropractor or get a real massage. (By a professional, I pretty much have everyone and their mother rub my back if I can) Is there anything else I can try at home? These knots are very painful and are beginning to disrupt my sleep. Does it sound normal to get pain in my shoulder, shooting down my arm, and in parts of my face when I try to release the knots? I'm at a loss.


Try drinking lots of Gatorade or PowerAide as it relaxes the muscles for some reason. Try it -- it works.


In early January I was in a bad rear end accident. I was hit at speeds of about 55 mph. My accident was worse than just a regular rear end accident at that speed because she clipped me on the rear driver side, about six inches left of my license plate.

She sent me off into a ditch to where I hit loose dirt and my right front passenger tire got buried and I was stuck. Anyhow, I have been seeing a physical therapist three times a week and the muscle knots that have formed in my neck seem to not go away. He has been working on it for seems like forever and it is just staying there and it does cause pain and head pain as well.

I also have some knots in my shoulders and my mid back near my spine hurts. I'm just worried about the one in my neck and is there any chance I will pain free at any time in my life or do I need to prepare myself for the long term?

The pain is causing quite a bit of stress on my body, I'm 30 years old am very active. I lived an active pain free lifestyle, never smoked, drank or did drugs (still don't).

The pain has started me having heart palpitations and also my left eye had a very bad twitching attack on one day (these things do not happen unless I'm severely stressed). Any insight? Thanks in advance.


Thank you 50 for clearing that up for everyone because I was getting a little annoyed with the ignorance. And then comes 51. Yes 51, we all came to this site to read about muscle knots and their treatment, so it is equally important for folks to have a clear understanding of what a chiropractor/therapist/doctor does and is qualified to do.


I used to get huge painful knots between my shoulders and in my neck that left me bedridden. I used to go to a chiropractor who used electrical stimulation therapy and adjusted my back and neck until he actually dislocated my neck, requiring a C-1, C-2 to skull fusion.

I was in a halo for six months and was told by many doctors and surgeons that I am not only lucky to be alive but they all can't believe I can still walk. The pain and muscle knots never went away, they only got worse.

I thank God every day that I am still alive and am not paralyzed.

I finally found a physical therapist who really knows what they are doing. I was given quite a few stretches and exercises that I still do everyday. As well as massage therapy. I can tell you from 20 years of experience that Chiropractors and electrical stimulation therapy made my condition much, much worse and are never an answer for anything but more pain and knots and can easily result in even more serious conditions.

The only things that help are: Sleeping flat on your back, stretches, exercise, proper posture, massages, eating right and drinking enough water. Sleeping on your side can only make these conditions worse, as does alcohol consumption, any fibromyalgia meds, nutrasweet and any other artificial sweeteners, eating processed foods and stress.

Please take heed to my warnings as I do have over 20 years of experience with these problems. But if you like hurting all the time please continue with your chiropractors and electrical stimulation therapy, as those are the absolute worst things you can do.

Electrical stimulation therapy can actually fry your nerve endings and force the nerves to sent pain signals to the brain when there is actually no pain present.

Chiropractors don't do the proper tests before they work on you. Has a chiropractor ever asked anyone to get an MRI? A CT scan? I think not. I hold my former chiropractor's license in my hands right now. He can no longer practice in any state and he lost everything because of his lack of medical knowledge and mostly because he dislocated my neck, almost killing me and coming very close to paralyzing me.

If you want to live life please stay away from chiropractors and all forms of electrical stimulation therapy!

(I know there is a Chiropractor who posts here who is trying to drum up business. Please do not listen to one word he says, just ask him for an MRI or CT scan. That should shut him up).

I still get knots but they are not severe like they used to be. Now they are just a little annoying. And as long as I stretch and exercise everyday, and drink lots of water, I can keep them at bay.

The seven best things you can do: Stretch, exercise, watch your posture constantly, sleep flat on your back, get a professional massage, eat nothing with artificial sweeteners and drink lots of water. Try it for a month and you'll be shocked at how much better you feel and how your knots have decreased.

The first two weeks may be painful as your muscles get used to it so make sure to get a massage or two. Stretch through the pain. Don't let any pain stop you from exercising or stretching unless the pain is so severe you simply cannot get out of bed. If that happens go to the hospital; you have something severely wrong.

Remember these simple rules for exercising and stretching: No pain = no gain. Some pain means progress. Super severe pain means You need professional help ASAP, (and not from a chiropractor)!

I wish you all have the same excellent progress that I have had and continue to have!


To 50, you are so worried about your point about Chiros not being a doctor you have written a whole post about it on a website for muscle knots. Good luck in life. I stopped on here to get some info because i have a bad knot and i read your post. good job.


Response to post 35- Chiropractors are doctors- the word "doctor" represents the level of education a person has. Just like a PhD Chemical Engineer is customarily referred to as "doctor" because of their education level. If you've got a PhD or Doctorate, PharmD (doctorate in Pharmacy), etc. you are a doctor. I am a chiropractor, have an AS, BS, and DC degrees- eight years minimum and licensed as a chiropractic physician in my state. Some people confuse the ability to write prescriptions as a hallmark of being a "doctor"- the truth is that a nurse practitioner and physician assistants write them all of the time and they are not doctors, they have the equivalent of a Masters Degree. Hope that clears this up a bit.


I'm a massage therapist, and see people every day with knots. Theracane is awesome to work on yourself. You really have to work out the knots and it takes a long time.

The best way is to apply pressure to the knot and keep the same amount of pressure for a while sometimes up to five minutes. this works best if pressure is applied by someone else and you just focus on taking deep breaths.

Try to find a massage therapist who knows trigger point or deep, and i don't mean a swedish with applied pressure. You need to get massaged at least once a week until you're out of pain, then do every other week, depending on how you feel.

As a response to 41 and 43: Chiropractors are doctors, that's why their titles are

Doctors of Chiropractic. They have a great deal of school and don't claim to be MD's. However like everything else, be sure to find a good one who knows what they are doing and truly cares about their patients.


I have muscle knots on my neck and shoulder area. I just both the Theracane and also a wooden kendo sword called bokken/boken.

I suppose you can use any round wooden stick of similar size and strength, but boken has a round and concave curve surface that you can press and roll against the back of your neck and shoulders. I can hear the muscle knots cracking and loosening up when I roll the boken around my neck. Great relief.


Suffering from muscle knots in my upper back. 90% of my pain is next to the right shoulder blade. I've been using a Theracane for 10 years in order to get instant relief on a daily basis. Chiropractic/electrical stimulation helps, but the longest lasting relief I've experienced is when my chiropractor dug into the knot for a few seconds -- painful, but the knot lost that battle.

Not completely pain free, but I was feeling better than I had for several days. Thank God for the Theracane. Bought mine at 'Relax the Back.'


I work at a natural foods store and I've had some knots in certain spots and I've found that when I really get in and massage them with my hands, if I can reach, or a tool to reach my back, then it helps a lot.

But here is the trick I've found to heal them up for good. There's a product called Topricin I use and it's being used now nationwide in hospitals and pain clinics. You put a ton on after you work it out multiple times a day and it heals up totally!

It could take some time depending on severity but it will work but you know you're doing it right when you are sore the next day or maybe even that same day. I feel that's key. You can't just rub it out you really have to dig in to break it up.


my husband has been suffering with these "knots" severely for about 20 years now. It is getting worse as he gets older. He has tried a chiropractor and "deep massage" therapy, both of which had worked for maybe a day or two then immediately comes back.

He hates pills and will refuse to "pop pills" {he is very stubborn}, but I need to do something. any suggestions? he suffers daily. db


I get painful muscle knots in my back, right next to the left scapula, which cause bad headaches much like a migraine.

The only relief seems to be a deep muscle massage. While it is very painful to massage this "knot", this is about the only method of relieving this "problem".


to 41: If I take medical classes then go into engineering that doesn't mean I'm a doctor. I'm an engineer. Simply taking the classes doesn't mean you're automatically a doctor. Don't want to be inflammatory, just wanted to point out a piece of logic.


I don't know if i'm in the right place or not but i'll give it a go anyway. I've got something in my lower back, left hand side that feels like what a knot sounds like.

It's a sort of lump under my skin, maybe 1/2 to 1/3 the size of a table tennis ball (sometimes feels bigger than others). There's no mark on my skin or anything, and it's only a sort of dull aching pain when i put pressure on it or move it around on the spot with my hand - not sore otherwise.

It just feels really strange to touch, don't know if i'm making something out of nothing or not?


Post 35: Chiropractors *are* doctors. They have the same class requirements as MD's and upon graduation receive a "Doctor of Chiropractic" degree.


I have muscle knots around my scapula on my left side. I also have full on failure of my long thoracic nerve on my right side my best guess is that too much stress has been transferred to my left side creating the knots. My physical therapist had a good technique where he identified the taut muscle originating from the spine, massaged the muscle stem and then lifted the scapula to release some of the pressure. It gave good temporary relief but is not a permanent solution.


Long story short. I got in a wreck in December of 2008. I was told that my pelvic on the right side was shifted up and that my neck and shoulder had muscle strain. I've had physical therapy, chiropractor visits, mri, blood work, nerve testing. I've been to my normal family doctor, orthopedic doctor and a neurologist. they all say it's my muscles. i get knots in my back, neck, back of my head and shoulders. I have a big deformed looking hunch in my neck located at c-7 that never goes away and when it rains it kills me and gets full of hot fluid. my shoulder i have stabbing pains in. i feel so confused because i know my body best and i feel like, okay if it's my muscles then why is it taking so long to heal? i just feel like the doctors are trying to figure it out but are not and are washing their hands of me and keep calling it muscles. The testing I've done so far is nerve damage, muscle damage through blood work, lophus screening. Help -- is there anything I should be demanding them to test for?


i have had knots in my neck and the crunchy sounds people talk about here. Finally after trying many things, with some workin very well, i have started to apply testosterone gel to the skin above and around the region of the knots. my theory is that, even though the gel is systemic, meaning that it goes into all the body, there are receptors for testosterone in the muscles there and i may stimulate growth and help grow the area, also i think that the stretching is more clear and permanent now because of the muscle growth. in other words, the gel caused the muscles to grow and repair so they feel safe to stretch and relax. how are growth stretching and relaxation related to muscle growth and testosterone would be interesting questions to answer. I know the gel goes to the capillary bed of the skin then forms a reserve where it slowly goes into the blood stream but i can feel some effects. also in mexico and many countries they have a strong cream which is anti inflammatory and perfect for these trigger points. it is a strong med in a cream but not approved here.


POST 32: Chiropractors are *not* doctors.

POST 31: I experience the same thing, primarily in my shoulders as well. I have been going to trigger point massage therapy and it helps a lot. It is important to ultrasound the areas prior to the massage as that warms the muscles and they respond better to the treatment. I also take an anti-inflammatory and use ben gay (no smell) in the evening so they don't tighten up while I sleep. It hasn't cured me but it is much more tolerable.


31: It could be that you have an active trigger point or points that are referring pain. Find yourself a good trigger point therapist (usually massage therapists who have been trained in this) not someone who specializes in Swedish.


In response to post 31, maybe it's fibromyalgia. I have fibromyalgia and it's extremely painful. Many of your symptoms fit the disorder. The popping or cracking is unusual but it may be worth a try. There are medications out there that may help. Mine isn't bad enough to be on the medication.


Everyone here that is complaining about pain, but there is relief out there. The problem goes deeper than muscle knots. You all need to get your spines checked by a chiropractor. These doctors care about health and well being, they align the spine, and instantly your body starts to heal itself once the nerve interference is gone. check it out!


I have no idea if anyone can help me but I figured it couldn't hurt. I have a crazy pain condition that has been traveling in my body for three years. I don't know if it is an auto immune or an orthopedic problem. My upper arms and left shoulder are in pain every day. It seems to be in the connective tissue and/or muscle because it hurts me to move my arms but doesn't bother me as much if i am still. Also the tissue in my upper arms pops and cracks. It is literally as if the tissue is cracking in different spots. when it cracks it somewhat relieves the pain, however, it's momentary and i literally wake up every day with this debilitating pain. I have no other medical issues but this one is becoming so overwhelming it makes it difficult to exist. I have been to eight different physicians, been tested for a ton of things and no one knows what is wrong. One suggestion was early stages of a connective tissue disease but three years later and a variety of medications have not helped or pointed to any specific diagnosis or solution.


I have had neck problems for 2 decades. The worst when I merely slept wrong and was immobilized for 3 months because of a pinched nerve, I'm assuming (conventional doctors didn't know or help), that even caused black-outs. I am in a profession where I use my arms a lot so that only exacerbated the problem. If you ran your fingers along my neck it was crunchy. I finally started doing some upper body weight resistance training (push-ups, military and swimmers press, etc.) just to get toned but found it completely eliminated the crunchiness in my neck and I have not had neck pain/problems since. Your posts have enlightened me on some things that I can do to prevent any further muscle issues, i.e. A.R.T., lots of stretching and more water. Thanks.


About twice a year I wake up with wicked uppper back / shoulder / neck knots. I've noticed that sometimes I wake up in the night and "crack my neck" if I'm feeling a little stiff but it can actually send my back/shoulder muscles into a knot. I take a hot shower and reach with the opposite arm and massage myself with a slippery film of soap during the shower and if possible get someone massage me right after hot shower. If the pain allows, I will go for a 3 mile run which heats up all my muscles, fills them with more water, and allows me to stretch further than usual. Slowly after 3 or 4 days things are better.


I am only 18 and for the past 3 years I have had knots in my shoulders. I get massages once in a while but they come back, is there a way to permanently get rid of them or at least for something longer than a week?


I experienced cracking shoulder blade muscles for the first time today only after having an Indian head massage! I often hold tension in that area and it can be achy, but has never been sore as it is now after the massage. It has been 8 hours, I expect it to be worse in the morning. I'm wondering if I should get regular massages to go over them to sort it out long term, or if it's better to go with gentler treatments like heat/baths?

28 female - likely causes of knots for me = sitting at desk for extended periods, stress, lack of water, carrying heavy bags on shoulders


Water, water, water.

Drink more water. Ever see a plant wilt? That's a big part of what's happening with muscle knots.


I've had muscle knots in my back and neck for several years now. Heat, massage and chiropractic adjustment all make a positive difference but the most effective has been botox injections into the muscle. My neurologist was using botox for muscle pain and migraine headaches. It made a huge difference in the amount of pain and reduced the knots to manageable levels.


Active Release Technique (ART) works great on "knots". Most injuries, pulls, tears, over use of muscles... will cause dense scar tissue in the affected area which binds up and ties down tissue that needs to move freely. ART is a non-invasive hands on treatment mixed with movement that will help to break up the scar tissue and get oxygen to the tissue. And yes, stretching and posture are crucial to keeping these "knots" and scar tissue away.


I've been dealing with this for 8 years, it came on suddenly a week after my daughter was born, from poor posture while breast feeding my daughter. My hands and wrists were painful, tingly and numb. I wore splints constantly for 5 months. The ONLY one who helped me was my chiropractor. He adjusted my back, and did electric stimulation of the muscles in my upper back. I was out of splints and had substantial results within a month of visiting him 3 times a week. Eventually, I saw him only 1-2 times a month.

Now, I get much milder symptoms occasionally when I do gardening, painting, or work that requires upper body strain. My current chiropractor (I go only when I experience symptoms now) adjusts me, and breaks the knots up- which hurts like hell- but after it's done, I get a flushed feeling (slightly euphoric)and feel immediately better. But I know I need to give my muscles time to recuperate (a week), and I do use Ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory only if I really hurt, and celebrex ONLY if I really over did it (I discovered that does AMAZING pain reduction after accidentally giving myself whiplash after jerking my head backward when I walked into a hanging bike in the garage (doh!).

I also just bought a back massage mat that fits on a stiff back chair, that has a shoulder massager, and I break those knots up really good using that. That seems to be very helpful to.

Anyhow, I continue to do what I love to do, I just need to learn to let my body heal when I have pushed it too far. In summary- a GOOD chiropractor (find one that is younger (they tend to be more excited about it, and up to date on newer technique I've found). Find one that will break up the knots and will work on muscle too (ask if they do that).

If you don't have insurance, a lot of new chiro's will work with you "out of pocket", and negotiate a visit rate you can afford. My first one accepted $15 per visit (because I went 3x a week) until I had insurance that accepted him.


I have been reading through these post and find I am experiencing something with similar symptoms in a different region. I have what feels like a muscle knot in my lower right abdomen near an old hernia surgery scar. It goes away when it is treated with ultrasound and heat but comes back for no apparent reason. It rarely shows up during or after physical activity. I have done MRI, Ultra Sound and EKG and they have found nothing. Both my doctor and my pain specialist have referred me to a surgeon to double check for a hernia and it has come back negative. I first noticed it after a fall i took about a year ago where i did the splits on a pair of stairs. I have been physically active most of my life and was in fairly good shape when the fall happened. Since then I have transitioned to a job that requires sitting for 8 hours a day. i have backed off on exercise just as a caution. anyone have any ideas or suggestions i would greatly appreciate it. i have been using anti-inflammatory patches that my doctor prescribed but they are only minimal help. The area feels like a knot or a charlie horse but like i said, 4 test and two surgeons later they don't think it's a hernia...


I am now 27, male, 6'3" tall and very athletic.I have had muscle knots in my back for about 4 years now (mostly around shoulder blades and upper shoulders). The problem started when I began working full-time in an office. I started going for massage which helped as a treatment, but my therapist was experienced enough to tell me that bad posture was the main problem. I was reaching forward too far to my keyboard and phone, which kept my back, neck and shoulder muscles stretched for prolonged periods, preventing blood and oxygen to flow effectively through these muscles.

Correcting posture is huge to prevent and calm trigger points. However, prolonged sitting is NEVER good. get up and walk around every 20 minutes or so and stretch throughout the day.

When my Son was born (3 years later), i changed jobs and was working only part time, 3 days a week. During the next few months, my knots went away completely and I felt 100% again. I'm very sure that the prolonged sitting was the main cause but through consulting with many experts and extensive reading I know that regular stretching, strengthening exercise, drinking plenty of water and relaxing are all part of the healing process.

Our bodies are simply not made to stay in the same position for 8 hours a day. The only position that is OK for prolonged periods is lying flat on your back.


Thank you. :> [Formerly anon20427 ]


anon20427: I was going to post a link for you but it won't let me. Try a google search for "Upper Back Pain Rehabilitation Exercises"


anon20427: I had similar problems due to computer work that became almost debilitating. What worked for me was physical therapy: a combination of "trigger point therapy" massage, stretching, therapeutic ultrasound, cardiovascular exercise, and specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in my neck and upper back to improve my posture. A good physical therapist should know about all of these treatments. While all of the treatments were helpful, exercise is what ultimately seems to keep the pain from reappearing. I highly recommend that you see a physical therapist! Best wishes.


I'm currently 16 and female, and I've had a very bad back since I got into my car accident a year or so back. I have terrible posture and I know it - I'm an internet addict. There's always a hotspot of burning, fiery pain that sits under my right shoulder blade (I assume it's from my mouse/computer posture and drawing as much as I do), but recently it's been some serious stiffness in my neck that's been throwing me off. It hurts, for sure, but it's not the pain that's tormenting me so much as the pinching, numb feeling at the back of my head. A couple times I have fallen against walls from the sudden loss of balance when getting up that comes from this foggy feeling. It's like I'm barely keeping myself from losing consciousness when it starts to stiffen up. It's done it 3 times today in my different classes, and it's starting to affect my ability to focus on schoolwork. I'm constantly plagued with tense muscles, soreness, and knots.. And my sister (parent..?) never takes me seriously when I start complaining that I need something to be done about it. Heat packs don't seem to help because the knots aren't loosened or come back extremely fast. Any tips, tricks, or solutions would be greatly appreciated. :<


I was diagnosed with arthritis at an early age (in my teens) so now, in my 50s, I have the joints of an octogenarian! Muscle knots have been a problem for me for the last 2 decades. I have both chronic trigger points (feet, hands, gluts, thighs and upper arms) and some that appear suddenly and dramatically.

The worst muscle knot ever was in my upper back in the shoulder blade region. I had helped push a car off on to the side of the road in the morning and by evening the knot had assumed massive proportions. It ended up being the size of a large (semi-submerged) grapefruit. My doctor prescribed oral muscle relaxants (cyclobenzoprene) - which do work on my chronic trigger points. Unfortunately the oral drugs did nothing for this alien-looking mass.

After several other failed attempts (mechanical massage, heat, cold, etc) the doc injected the "lump" with a rather substantial amount of Valium. The results were immediate and dramatic, with the bulge reducing in size by half within the first 30 minutes. It took 2 more injections over the course of a week to get the muscles to unknot completely.


A lot of people underestimate the power of posture, which can either create knots or dissolves them. I sprained my back in three places about year ago, and it was so painful that I went to the doctor three times and finally the physical therapists. Although I diligently exercised and stretched according to the physical therapists instructions there was no result. The pain was still there. I finally figured out that the knots surrounding the sprain couldn't relax because my posture was constantly activating it; I was arching my lower back too much. Tucking in my pelvis while rolling my shoulders back was like a magic cure. Instantly the pain went away and stayed away. I therefore encourage everyone who has chronic back and neck pain to examine the way he or she walks, stands, sits (especially at the computer) and lies down. Eventually, one can find and rest into the natural curve of his or her spine, which will allow the neck, shoulders and back to take a much deserved and needed rest.


About a week ago, while I was playing in my football game, I had a 230 lb. guy land on my front left ribs area. I was winded for a few, but felt a crushing pain in my rib area. Had the sport doctor look at me and she said no ribs broken and probably just winded. And she said to just keep stretching the muscle. Days go by and the pain is there and those first few days is very painful getting up off the couch etc. Then went to urgent care abour 3 days later and took an x ray which came out negative. Then I worked out and did tricep and chest workout and and I had to stop in the middle because I felt like I irritated it a lot worse. Then, about 5 days after the game, went again to urgent care clinic and the doctor said it was a muscle spasm and to lay off the weights and all physical activity for about 10 days and to take ibuprofen and then he prescribed me these pills to take one only at night as it relaxed the muscles. This pain to me feels like it's not going away. It's lingering on the left mid section of my body under my arm front and back. Also, I read online that it might be a knot if the spasm does not heal after roughly three days. What can I do to make this go away asap?


I had a "crunchy" knot in my lower-mid back and successfully got rid of it by regularly stretching that part of my back. When stretching that part of my back, it felt like something in the muscle was being broken up and as I continued stretching and working through the breaking in the muscle I could gradually stretch further and the crunchiness would go away. It would sometimes be quite sore afterward but not in a bad way. The next day the crunchiness would come back, but after doing this several times a week over a few months, the crunchiness is now gone completely and doesn't come back.


Yes this pain is very common and I have read information which states that this pain is autoimmune. The problem is very common and when I went to the doctor they wanted to do surgery.

So I said goodbye and went home to stretch and followed the advice of the web site and I got better. I gave up my health insurance and for 100 dollars a year I am under the care of a remote consultant at the web site.


I have those "crunchy" spots too. They almost feel like stringy tendons when you rub across them, although I know I have no tendons there. I have had them in various spots on my back. The only thing that seems to help is a deep tissue massage. I don't know if anything is causing them, except that they do coincide with some stress I've been going through. Have you guys had stress lately as well?


I have the crunchy knots by my shoulder blades too. I bought a Iknead from brookstone and that beast does some real damage to it. I can also rotate my shoulder backward and if I angle it just right I'll crunch that knot right out. Now I have to figure out how to get rid of the pain i have near my tailbone. I kind of want to hang upside down and let my weight drop from my feet I bet that would work. I'll let you know!


I've been a practicing Massage Therapist for 3 years now. Many times these "knots" are just latent trigger points. They can stimulated by sudden unexpected exertion, excessive heat/cold, lack of or over use, over stretching or over contraction, and to a lesser extent- stress and dehydration. If it is in your abdomen, I wouldn't be too alarmed. You may just want to try a different method of abdominal work. I will always and forever suggest pilates. It works the core to create balance through the body. The AbGlide that you are using is actually a very advanced technique that TV commercials have managed to make easy for everyone. Hope this helps.


I have had an issue with a very sore spot in my muscle in my back, just over the shoulder blade. When I rub it, it feels for lack of a better term, "crunchy". It's like a spot of muscle is very hard and cracks and pops under your fingers as you rub. If someone intensely and deeply rubs it (very painful but with the aid of a hard rubber ball works very well) it will relax a bit, but always comes back in a few days. I just started working out last January and about a week ago I strained the area below my neck, right next to the spot. Now I'm getting concerned that I'm not going to be able to work out like I normally do because my back has been sore for about a week now. The "Crunchy" spot still causes the most issues. Has anyone ever had this or heard of it before?


If you have a specific muscle problem like in the piriformis, you should try Active Release Technique (A.R.T.). Its very well known in the sports world. Its a hands on treatment method, somewhat like massage, but involves movement and is far for effective in treating muscle knots. Many chiropractors do A.R.T. but its not limited to chiropractic and some massage therapists are certified in it as well.


First off, i'm a 27 year old male. I have had a muscle knot in the left thoracic portion of my back since sept of '07. The injury originated from painting a ceiling for 4 hours. I have had an xray and MRI done on my spine and found nothing thus far. The only medication/s i've found to work are 1000mg of aspirin, 2x daily and recently i've found 1mg clonazepam daily to work wonders. I must have this in order to do my job and all I do is accounting work at a desk all day! I took the aspirin for 3 straight months daily and it tore me up inside. My doc told me it was "OK" to take that much. The clonazepam has been working great for two weeks so far. If you can get your doc to prescribe it, it works great for me, but does have side effects. My insurance through my company is just going to start next week, thus far i've been paying out of pocket so maybe I can find out more down the road and update. This has been a horrible problem for me and i've just started to believe that it is an active trigger point. Good luck and feel better.


Massage therapy seems to be the main course of treatment other than surgery. Keep in mind the massage therapy can take several forms, including use tools such as tennis balls or massage sticks as part of the treatment. If massage or electrical stimulation therapy to relax the knots does not work, surgery may be the best option. Discuss with your doctor.


I have stress knots on both sides of my neck. They get smaller by massage but never completely go away. Sometimes they hurt really bad and my neck feels tense. Taking a warm bath and getting a massage helps sometimes. Is there a permanent cure?


i get muscle knots in my back. i usually get them after i sleep in a wrong spot or walking home carrying a heavy bookbag. i am only 16 and i get them all the time. i usually have my mom press real hard on the muscle knot over and over and it eases it away but it hurts really bad while she is doing it.


I have a muscle knot/spasm in my gluteal region. At first I thought it was a bump and had gone through and MRI and Ultrasound to diagnosis and nothing was found. I had a pelvic exam and they discovered my Piriformis muscle is in a knot. I have gone through PT, Acupuncture and now getting massages and it is like I am sitting on a rock. It is so stubborn. the last Masseuse was so shocked at the size of the knot. I just don’t know if it will go away. Any suggestions?


I have got the muscle knot in the middle area of stomach by overdoing he AbSlider machine. It is not painful though but its been there now for a while?

What should I do?

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