Dealing with muscles knots at the back

Muscle knots are called “trigger points” which happens when the fibers of muscles cannot relax. They are usually found in the trapezius muscle which is a large muscle located at the bottom of the skull down the back and out to the shoulder.

Causes of muscle knots

  • Acute trauma is a single instance of shock caused to the body such as incorrect work outs, intensely working out and sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
  • Chronic microtrauma happens on extended periods of time such as living and working with poor posture, muscoloskeletal disorders, physical imbalances and repetitive bouts of acute trauma.

    Apply an ice pack on the area for at least 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times every day on the first 2-3 days after the injury.


  • Seek the help of a massage therapist to apply massage techniques in relieving muscle knots.
  • Apply hot or cold to the affected area. Apply an ice pack on the area for at least 15-20 minutes at 3-4 times every day on the first 2-3 days after the injury. The cold temperature will lessen the flow of blood and lessen the inflammation, pain and the bleeding of the affected area. After 2 days, apply a warm compress on the area.
  • Apply heat on the affected area to lessen the muscle knots at the back, promote flow of blood and relaxes the muscles. Heat can be in the form of a heating pad or a wet towel warmed for at least 30 seconds in the microwave. Apply heat for at least 15-20 minutes at 3-5 times every day.
  • In a bathtub filled with warm water, add a cup of Epsom salts and mix until totally dissolved and soak in the solution to relax the knotted muscles.
  • Perform stretching and relaxation techniques such as tai chi or yoga to keep the muscles flexible.
  • Take the prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to lessen any swelling in the affected area.
  • Perform exercises regularly to stretch and maintain the flexibility of the muscles and lessen the tension.
  • Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles as well as lifestyle changes to prevent muscle knots.


  • Maintain good posture to prevent muscle knots. Sit up and stand up straight and avoid tensing the shoulders.
  • Proper back support for the chair and the desk should have an appropriate height to avoid slouching while working. Another alternative is using ergonomic keyboards to assist with correct posture.
  • Perform meditation to relax the muscles.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on muscle knots is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage muscle issues by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.


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