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Why do Back Muscles feel like a Knot or a Rope?

What Are Muscle Knots?

Often people refer to the pain in their shoulders as “knots” or “ropes”. Knots and Ropes are muscles that are being overstretched. 

Muscle knots are tight, painful areas of muscles that remain contracted even when the muscle is not being used. When pressure is applied to these tense muscle fibers, it can lead to pain elsewhere in the body. Muscle knots can occur anywhere in the body, but they’re usually found in your back, shoulders, and neck. Untreated muscle knots can cause chronic pain and lead to other health issues.

Symptoms Of Muscle Knots

Pain is the primary symptom of muscle knots. Also, muscle knots feel swollen, tense, or bumpy, and cause an aching sensation. Muscle knots can also cause additional symptoms, including:

Causes Of Muscle Knots

Common causes of Muscle knots are:

  • Stress
  • Poor ergonomics
  • Bad posture
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Unhealthy eating habits 
  • Sleep disorder

Treatments For Muscle Knots

Easing those troublesome muscle knots can be a lengthy process. To tackle the problem, you must untangle the bound tissue and soothe aggravated nerves. Here are some methods to help disperse these knotty areas and get much-needed relief.


If you have muscle knots, it’s essential to take a break from the activities that are causing them or exacerbating your pain. Allow yourself and your body some time to rest so that you can recover, relax and rejuvenate.

Heat and Cold Therapy

Using a combination of heat and cold can help to relieve pain and inflammation due to muscle knots.


Gentle stretching that elongates your muscles can help you to release tension in your body. Avoid straining your body or doing any activity that causes discomfort. As per Dr. Jon Conner Cuevas DC, a leading Chiropractor in Seattle, the solution to any type of overstretched muscle is to flex the muscle in the opposite direction.

If you have knots in your shoulders, you need to flex your muscles behind you. So laying down and flexing your head back into a bed or arching your back will strengthen and shorten your overstretched muscles. The muscle will no longer send the signal of pain if they are not overstretched. By correcting your posture and consistently flexing/shortening your muscles, you can alleviate your own “knotty” pain. Flexing your overstretched muscles 5 minutes a day is a noticeable and effective technique.

Chiropractic Treatment

Muscle knots can be the result of joint dysfunction and restrictions in the body. Chiropractors will remove dysfunction and restriction through hands-on chiropractic manipulation techniques. Once those have been dealt with, then the knots themselves can begin to be worked on to release them.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy increases circulation and improves blood flow. That can improve muscle function and help loosen up your muscles. This helps to relieve pain and stiffness. There are various types of massage. The type you’ll benefit from most will depend on the severity of your muscle knots.

At Ballard Seattle Chiropractic Center, when a massage therapist rubs knotted muscles, they feel like bumps and to the person receiving the massage, it feels like knots or ropes. They are a little painful when rubbed. When a cross-fiber technique is used on muscles, which is a rubbing motion that is 90 degrees to the muscle fibers, the muscle will start to separate and relax.

If you are struggling with muscle knots, see a chiropractor at The Ballard Seattle Chiropractic Center today!


Content Reviewed by
Doctor Of Chiropractic