3 years ago

8 Ways To Avoid Muscle Knots That Cause Back Pain 

Learning how to keep your body free and loose by stopping muscle knots from developing is key to living a life without back pain.

Avoid muscle knots

Tight, stiff, and sore muscles are no strangers for anyone that suffers from persistent back pain.

And when your muscles become tight in this way it can lead to the development of muscle knots.

Which is bad news.

Because it may be these muscle knots that are actually causing your back pain.

There are two reasons for this:

  • When a muscle knot forms it creates a blockage which cuts off the blood supply to that area, and this means your tight and damaged muscles can't get the oxygen, and nutrients they need to heal and repair.
  • This blockage also means waste and toxins become trapped within your damaged muscles which irritates them and makes them even worse!

So learning how to avoid these muscle knots is absolutely crucial if you want to live a life free from back pain.

Because not only can they cause you pain, they can also lead to further inflammation, pain, and irritation within your damaged muscles. 

What Causes Muscle Knots?

The first step to learning how to avoid muscle knots is finding out what may be causing them.

And there are a whole host of things that could be the culprit such as:

  • Having a bad posture - this puts your body under undue pressure and stress, causes muscle imbalances, and leads to muscle knots.
  • Over-doing things - whether at work or while exercising, muscle knots can form when you work them too hard.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle - conversely a lack of physical activity can also cause muscle knots to develop.
  • Injuries and accidents - anything that causes trauma to the body such as strains, breaks, and pulls can cause muscle imbalances which force the body to compensate and can lead to knots.
  • Becoming dehydrated - can cause your spinal discs to weaken which leads to more pressure on your spine, tighter muscles, and knots.
  • Suffering from stress and anxiety - this can make you hold tension within your muscles which leads to tightness and knots.
  • Eating an unhealthy diet - a lack of good nutrition can lead to painful inflammation in your back muscles.

So, if you think you may be guilty of any of the above, then it's time to change your habits.

And here are 8 ways you can do that.

8 Ways To Avoid Muscle Knots And Stop Them From Returning

It's much better to make a few changes to your lifestyle that will prevent muscle knots from developing than trying to treat them as and when they appear.

So take a look at the following suggestions and see what you can add to your daily routine to keep you feeling loose and free from muscle pain.

1. Stay Active

Our bodies were designed to move, however far too many of us don't get enough physical activity in our daily lives.

And this is bad news for our health in general but also for our backs.

Because a lack of activity = muscle weakness = your body being forced to compensate = muscle imbalances forming = muscle knots developing.

Staying active on the other hand will give you:

  • Stronger muscles.
  • A greater range of motion.
  • Improved flexibility.
  • A better balanced body.
  • Improved posture.
  • More support for your spine and lower back.
  • And far less chance of developing muscle knots!

So make sure you are getting enough exercise.

But at the same time don't overdo it, as this can have the opposite effect.

So aiming for 30 minutes of exercise at a moderate intensity 3-4 times per week, as this has been found to be great for people with persistent lower back pain.

Click here for 9 activities you can do safely with back pain.

2. Stretch Yourself Out Regularly

Getting into the habit of stretching yourself out regularly is one of the best things you can do to reduce your lower back pain.

And it's great for preventing muscle knots from forming too.

This is because regular stretching will:

  • Increase the flexibility of your body and spine.
  • Reduce muscle tension which helps your tight muscles to relax and release.
  • Improve your posture which takes pressure off your body.
  • Increase circulation so your muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy.
  • Loosen and lengthen your muscles to stop them from tightening and forming muscle knots.

So get into the habit of stretching your body at regular intervals throughout the day and especially before and after strenuous work or exercise.

For an idea of which stretches to do take a look at the video above from Fitness Blender or click the link below.

Click here for 5 good lower back stretches.

3. Maintain A Good Posture At All Times

If you are going to avoid back pain and muscle knots it's vital that you learn how to maintain a healthy posture.

And this is the case whether you are sitting, standing, walking, working, or exercising.

Because when your body is in a bad posture, certain areas of your body come under increasing pressure and strain.

This is because your muscles have to work harder than they should to keep you upright.

Which creates muscle imbalances leading to tight and contracted muscles, pain, tension, and the formation of muscle knots.

Good posture on the other hand keeps your body well-balanced and aligned.

This means that the pressure and workload of keeping you upright is spread evenly.

And there is no compensating, overworked muscles, imbalances, and far less chance of muscle knots developing.

So take steps to learn how to improve and maintain your posture if you want to free yourself of back pain.

4. Make Sure You Work Safely

Workplace back injuries are extremely common and can occur whether you work on a construction site, in a warehouse, or in an office.

As things like lifting and carrying heavy loads and long hours spent digging and shoveling can really take their toll.

But so too can extended periods of sitting at a desk working on your computer.

So you need to learn how to work smart if you're going to stay pain free at work.

Which for people with active jobs means:

  • Warming up and stretching your body before any strenuous work.
  • Maintaining a good posture at all times to take the pressure and strain off your muscles and lower back.
  • Using safe lifting and shoveling techniques to keep your back safe.
  • Keeping your core muscles strong so they can support your back as you work.
  • Taking regular breaks to give your body a stretch and a rest.
  • Not overdoing it.

And some things that can help people that work in offices and have to sit down for extended periods are:

  • Taking a microbreak for 5-10 minutes each hour to get out of your chair and stretch and move your body.
  • Using an ergonomic chair that can take the pressure off your body as you sit.
  • Keeping active outside work so your core muscles remain strong and can support your back.
  • Setting up your workstation so it's easy to maintain a healthy posture as you sit.

So by becoming more aware of how to keep your back healthy as you work. you have a far greater chance of avoiding tight muscle knots and lower back pain.

5. Don't Sit Or Stand For Too Long

One thing your body hates is being stuck in the same position for too long.

This is because pressure and tension builds which puts your muscles and joints under increasing strain.

And studies have shown that being stuck in a sitting or standing position for too long is a real problem for our backs and can be a big cause of muscle knots developing.

This happens because:

  • When sitting your vertebrae become compressed, which leads to a weakening of the spinal discs that protect your spine.
  • The core muscles that support your back are inactive as you sit, which also weakens them and means your back gets less support.
  • When standing there is increased muscle coactivation in your hips, trunk, and glutes, which means they are overworked and under constant strain.
  • Your lower limbs will also become fatigued after a while, which means your back muscles have to work harder than they should.
  • Blood flow and circulation become restricted when sat or stood in one position for a long time, meaning your muscles can't get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay healthy.

And these problems are made even worse when you are sitting or standing with a bad posture!

So to try and counter these effects you need to:

  • Maintain a good posture as you sit or stand.
  • Fidget, as small movements can help to release tension and stop pressure from building up.
  • Take regular microbreaks to stretch and mobilise your body again.
  • Alternate regularly between sitting and standing if that is an option for you.

By doing this you will give yourself a much better chance of avoiding muscle knots and back pain.

Click the links to find out how to sit and stand safely.

6. Take The Time To Relax

Stress and anxiety can quite easily lead to pain and tightness within your muscles.

This is because we tend to hold this stress within our bodies and our shoulders hunch, muscles tense, and our posture suffers as a result.

Putting our bodies under constant strain and pressure, which can lead to muscle knots forming.

So to counteract this try to find activities that help you to relax both in your body and your mind.

Because by learning to unwind you can reduce your stress levels and free your body of muscle tension.

And some things that may help are:

  • Taking a warm bath.
  • Reading a book.
  • Watching a movie.
  • Cooking yourself a nice meal.
  • Having a glass of wine.
  • Meeting up with friends.
  • Meditating.
  • Slow breathing exercises.
  • Practicing yoga.

The list of potential relaxing activities is pretty endless, so just try to find something that works for you and add this into your daily routine.

Because a relaxed body and mind will lead to a healthier back in the long run.

Click here for 12 easy ways to relax.

7. Drink Plenty Of Water

Drinking enough water is so important for keeping our bodies healthy and functioning well.

Which makes sense when you think that your body is made up of 70% water!

And staying hydrated is vital among other things because it:

  • Nourishes your cells, organs and muscles.
  • Flushes out waste and toxins from the body.
  • Helps to digest food.
  • Keeps your spinal discs healthy.

And this final point is important.

Because when you become dehydrated your spinal discs can begin to weaken.

And this adds pressure onto your back muscles meaning they become overworked, tired and tight.

Which leaves you at a higher risk of developing muscle knots.

So make sure you stay hydrated by regularly drinking water throughout the day.

You should be aiming for between 8-10 small cups.

And if you are not a fan of plain water, you can try spicing it up with these fruit-infused recipes.

Click here to find out more about dehydration causing back pain.

8. Eat A Well-Balanced Diet

A lack of certain vitamins and minerals due to an unbalanced diet can also be the cause of tight and sore muscles.

And this is an increasing problem in the world today as so many of us are so busy we tend to grab food on the move.

And the problem with that is this food tends to be heavily processed and lacking in nutrition.

Which means our bodies aren't getting the proper nourishment they need to stay strong and healthy.

And when it comes to muscle tightness and knots in particular there are three big problems with poor nutrition, which are a lack of magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

The reason for this is:

  • Good magnesium levels are vital for keeping your muscles healthy and relaxed.
  • A lack of calcium can lead to chronic muscle tension.
  • Keeping potassium levels up is vital for your muscles to be able to work effectively.

However you can counter this by including foods in your diet that are rich in these three minerals such as:

  • Magnesium rich foods - Green vegetables, whole grains, salmon, spinach, soy beans, nuts.
  • Calcium rich foods - Milk, cheese, broccoli, kale, almonds.
  • Potassium rich foods - Bananas, avocados, dried apricots, sweet potato, fish, pistachio nuts.

Or alternatively you could take supplements or multi-vitamin tablets instead.

But mostly it's about being sensible with your diet.

So limit sugary and processed foods and instead make sure you getting enough fresh fruit and vegetables.

And keep meal times regular (including not skipping breakfast!).​

As this can all have a big impact on how your muscles feel and on your overall health too.

We are what we eat after all.

Click here to find out more about good nutrition for people with back pain.

Rounding Up

Muscle knots are a big cause of lower back pain.

As they can irritate your muscles cause inflammation, and leave you feeling really uncomfortable.

So if you want to free yourself from back pain it's a great idea to learn how to prevent them from developing.

And the 8 methods I've given you here will go a long way towards doing that.

So try to make a few small lifestyle changes that will lower the chances of these muscle knots from developing.

As it will make a big difference to the health of your back in the long run.

Resources used in researching this article:






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I'm a psychology graduate and a veteran of 5 spinal surgeries. I want to help people learn how to fight back against persistent back pain just like I have.

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