Treatment for Muscle Knots

Updated: May 8

Most of us are familiar with muscle knots, also known as myofascial trigger points (myo=muscles; fascial= fascia or connective tissue) that occur in the back of the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Muscle knots form when muscle fibers are held in a contracted state and get stuck there; they shorten and don’t let go and become “locked short” . The affected area is usually sore, tender and tight and feels compact like a knot.


There are many reasons why this might happen. Here are the most common cause of muscle knots:

  • Acute traumatic injury; falling down, accidental injury during physical activity that places strain in the joints or surrounded muscular tissue.

  • Prolonged poor posture; sudden strain due to improper lifting; maintaining the same posture for a prolonged period of time. For example a slouched position while sitting with head projected forward.

  • Continual arduous activities. Eventually muscle tissue becomes fatigued and can no longer relax; the tissue remains locked short and knotted.


1. Rest

  • Stop repeating the activity that generates pain such as prolonged sitting or arduous exercise or activity.

2. Promote blood flow into the area and relaxation. This can be done in many ways:

  • Heat pads

  • Massage

  • Massage therapy balls

  • Stretching. Contracting and releasing the area repetitively 4 to 6 times. Promotes tissue relaxation and elongation in the knotted area, increases blood flow, releases accumulated lactic acid.

  • Medication: there are many topical applications to reduce muscle soreness.

Illustration showing the difference between a normal muscle and muscle knot.


  • Instead of maintaining the same posture for a prolonged period of time, change your position or take frequent breaks.

  • Gentle physical exercise helps maintain muscle elasticity.

  • Regular exercises prevents sudden muscle contraction when stretching, fast movement or lifting. Fatigues the area and helps the muscle to reset.

  • Stay hydrated; water intake helps prevent muscle contraction when active. Alcohol and caffeine have the opposite effect – they dehydrate.

  • Posture Corrections. Perform exercises to improve strength of postural muscles. Learn how to sit, stand and lift in a way that improves postural strength and eliminate the strain causing the knot in the first place.

Written by Joanne Pineau, HBSc., C-IAYT

If you'd like to learn more about posture correction and exercises to release muscle tension register now for my classes on the Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders in Meaford.

Date:Thursdays September 19 - October 17, 2019

Time: 6:00-7:30pm

Cost: $107 +hst

Location: Meaford Hall, Terrace Room.

Register with the Meaford Recreation Department Online Click Here

In Person: Meaford Hall, 12 Nelson St. East

Phone:519-538-1060 ext. 1203/1200

Register early - Program cancellation decisions are made one week prior to the start date.

I have extensive training beyond that of a Registered Yoga Teacher to qualify me to work therapeutically to guide people safely with health conditions.  As with any exercise program, please consult a physician to make sure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
The information on this Website is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical, legal or professional advice whatsoever and should not be relied upon in that respect.
Joanne works from her home studio in Thornbury, or by video conferencing  by appointment times only.