What Are Muscle Knots and How Can You Treat Them?

symptoms of muscle knots

Painful lumps that can appear in virtually any area where we have muscles, muscle lumps happen when our muscle fibers get tight and tense. Although they are not considered a serious condition, a severe case of muscle knots can require medical attention or even surgery.

In this article, we will be going over the most common symptoms of muscle knots and their treatment options.

Causes and Symptoms of Muscle Knots

Also known by their medical name – myofascial trigger points – muscle knots are usually caused by poor posture, bodybuilding injuries that are related to repeated motions, and prolonged bed rest. People who spend a lot of time sitting (for example in front of a computer at work) are at a higher risk of developing muscle knots as a result of keeping the same position for hours at a time. Insomnia and nutrient deficiency (namely vitamins and minerals) can also be risk factors.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Small, hard, and painful lumps in the muscle tissue
  • Jaw pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Ringing in the ears

Muscle knots most commonly show up on the trapezius muscles, although they can be seen on the calf, lower back, and shin muscles as well.

Treatment Options

Most cases of muscle knots can be treated with home remedies like icing, stretching, and aerobic exercise (e.g., swimming or cycling). You can also treat the affected area with heat pads and take ibuprofen to relieve muscle pain.

If your symptoms don’t go away after doing these things, your doctor may prescribe you a massage, local injections, or laser therapy.


Now that you’re familiar with common causes and symptoms of muscle knots, you know how you can prevent and treat this condition. Contact your doctor if your symptoms don’t go away after a week of home treatment.

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