What Causes Muscle Knots: 5 Astonishing Causes

What causes muscle knots could be quite confusing sometimes, as it is not easy to detect the causes of muscle knots 1just by seeing them. It also depends on the intensity of the pain. Sometimes it’s difficult to touch the muscles’ knots as they’re extremely painful.

Many experts said Muscle knots (myofascial trigger points2) are small bump-like structures on your muscle area.

These knots come out when the band of tissues (muscle fibers) is tightened or tensed. You may find this article helpful if you want to know what causes muscle knots.

What Causes Muscle Knots?

Before learning about muscle knot remedies or treatments, you must learn more about what causes muscle knots. Here is a list to answer the question of what causes muscle knots.

1. Stress and Tension

Stress and tension are the real enemies of our health. You can’t expect yourself to live a happy and disease-free life with these disorders in your body3. Stress and tension may cause muscle knots.

A person under high stress and tension would suffer from the excess release of hormones (stress hormones). Not only this, but stress causes your muscles to stress up and become tenser due to excess stress hormones, which will knot your muscles.

The spasm in muscles would bind the muscles and create a bump-like band in your muscles.

What causes muscle knots
Photo by Anna Shvets

2. Dehydration

Dehydration is one of the big causes. Having some gaps between muscles is important to prevent them from sticking and making knots. With low water intake in your body, that gap starts decreasing, and your muscles stick to each other very easily.

A well-hydrated body will maintain that gap between muscles preventing muscle knots4. Also, it will keep your muscles hydrated and not dry.

Hydration is also required to prevent the tightness of muscles, as your muscles will become stiff without a good amount of water. Overall hydration will relieve trigger point pain.

What causes muscle knots
Photo by Daria Shevtsova

3. Bad Posture

Correct posture is another requirement or remedy to help myofascial pain syndrome (muscle knot). Correct posture prevents muscle knots as it will help people’s circulation and stress on muscles.

The physical therapist recommends correct posture for treating muscle knots or muscle pain. To prevent muscle knots or treat them, you should try correcting your posture as it may also create tension, causing the inactivity of muscles.

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By Marinesea on Shutterstock

Muscle spasms are another reason for muscle knots that could come from poor posture. A good posture will also help to reduce muscle tension and improve connective tissue.

4. Fatigue

Fatigue aggravates the myofascial trigger points, as they will increase tension and stress on your muscles. Fatigue affects your relaxed muscles and increases muscle contraction.

Fatigue generally comes from the repetitive motion of any part of your body that will call for muscle knots.

Repetitive work or stress in your muscles would cause them to bind together, making knots due to lack of space or gap. To treat and prevent muscle knots, you need to charge your body and reduce muscle tension.

5. Unhealthy Eating Habits

Unhealthy eating habits can cause knotted tissue, affect the blood supply to organs, and cause pain in knotted muscles. It’s all about the food you feed to your body will help reduce pain due to muscle knots and help knotted muscle, muscle fibers, and other muscle tissue to stay healthy.

Sometimes few foods could trigger your muscle fiber to knot together, causing pain and irritation. Therefore it’s vital to have good food in your stomach to prevent risk factors related to tight muscle and blood flow5. A plant-based diet is really helpful for muscle and muscle knots.

How To Treat And Prevent Muscle Knots?

To treat muscle knots, follow the below-mentioned treatment:

  • Gently massage your muscle knots to get your normal muscle structure slowly.
  • Gentle stretching would also treat muscle knots.
  • Massage therapy (physical therapy) would help tense muscle fibers and muscle knots; you can also take advice from a massage therapist. You can also use a foam roller while doing exercises.
  • Relaxation techniques would help fight and relax the pain due to muscle spasms, inflamed nerves, and myofascial release. Try to take frequent sessions for muscle knots.
  • Self-massage (deep tissue massage) is another boon for treating muscle knots and other joint problems that may trigger muscle stress and tension.
  • Play sports to avoid any muscle issues and to keep your muscles healthy.

To prevent muscle knots, follow the below-mentioned habits:

  • Eat healthy food to reduce pain and not active trigger points. Unhealthy foods will result in tight muscle fibers.
  • Use a foam roller regularly while performing stretching or normal exercises.
  • Say goodbye to muscle knots by doing yogic exercises every morning. Yoga also helps in reducing chronic pain. It will also help with back pain, neck pain, and poor posture, preventing muscle knots.

Read more about Muscle knots.


If you are still looking for what causes muscle knots, it’s better to take medical advice for better clarity. You can try all the treatments and massage techniques to help sore muscles and pain in your upper back and other body parts.

Many academic research institutions found bad habits to be the main reason behind what causes muscle knots. It may be a bad posture, scar tissue, tight muscles, and many other muscle problems.

You need to fight the trigger points and reduce myofascial pain by taking the help of a physical therapist.

Sometimes you will see muscle knots the size of a tennis ball; these need special care as they may cause immense pain. You can also try Swedish massage and leave a sedentary lifestyle to treat referred pain in muscle fibers due to muscle knots.

A sedentary lifestyle is the most popular answer to what causes latent trigger points and muscle knots, as you stay in the same position for hours with no physical activity.

Talk to your professional massage therapist about having a good massage session and a healthy diet to reduce pain from knots muscles.


Q. Why am I getting so many knots in my muscles?

  • Overuse, poor posture, and other lifestyle factors may cause muscle knots. These painful knots often go away with treatment, including massages, stretches, or acupressure.

Q. Can muscle knots cause other problems?

  • If left untreated, a muscle knot can cause increased pain over time. This can lead to the development of poor habits, such as poor posture, which can cause even more severe conditions.

Q. Are muscle knots serious?

  • A muscle knot is a painful or tender spot in a muscle. It feels tight and sore, and it often happens in the upper back or legs. They’re not usually harmful, but they can certainly be uncomfortable. In rare cases, muscle knots are a sign of a long-term (or chronic) pain condition.

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  1. Simons, David G. “Diagnostic criteria of myofascial pain caused by trigger points.” Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain 7.1-2 (1999): 111-120. ↩︎
  2. Lavelle, Elizabeth Demers, William Lavelle, and Howard S. Smith. “Myofascial trigger points.” Anesthesiology clinics 25.4 (2007): 841-851. ↩︎
  3. Veale, David. “Body dysmorphic disorder.” Postgraduate medical journal 80.940 (2004): 67-71. ↩︎
  4. Saunders, Richard A., and James W. O’Neil. “Tying the knot: Is it always necessary?.” Archives of Ophthalmology 110.9 (1992): 1318-1321. ↩︎
  5. Benetos, Athanase, et al. “Influence of age, risk factors, and cardiovascular and renal disease on arterial stiffness: clinical applications.” American journal of hypertension 15.12 (2002): 1101-1108. ↩︎

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