Knots in the back are extremely common and can be painful. That pain can last a few hours, a day or even weeks or months. Mostly, knots aren’t anything to worry about and will usually repair themselves over time but sometimes, you need a helping hand with restoring comfort.

As with any pain, if your back pain renders you immobile or is intolerable, or if it just won’t subside, you should visit a medical practitioner for professional advice.

What causes knots in the back?

Normally, knotted muscles are caused by over-exertion, a sporting injury, other injuries, sitting in one position for a long period of time, inactivity or stress. Unfortunately, when you become stressed, you subconsciously tighten your muscles, this can be painful.

Knots feel like tight areas that ache constantly, or on and off. There are a few things you can do to try and release knots in your back.

9 Ways to release knots in your back


Of course, you can try painkillers but don’t take too many and remember, painkillers often mask the problem. They might give you relief but sooner or later, the problem will re-occur so it’s best to get to the root of your back pain.

Keep active

Firstly, don’t stay inactive.A lot of people will tell you to rest and lay down but this won’t release the tension and is likely to make it worse. It’s very important to continue moving around, carry on with your daily routine.


You can also factor in back stretches and other activities. Try going for a walk in the fresh air or go swimming, the latter is very gentle and the water helps to support you. Yoga or Pilates are two other forms of exercise deemed safe and good for alleviating back discomfort.


The question whether you are under stress or not. If you are, then you should try and factor in some rest and relaxation time. Meditation, listening to soft music in a calm environment, essential oils, scented candles or even simply reading a favorite book, all of these ideas are good ways to calm an over-active mind.

Get comfy

Consider your bed, is it comfortable? When was the last time you changed the mattress? Mattresses should be replaced every eight years so if yours is long-overdue, find a good, firm, orthopedic mattress to give your back sufficient support while you sleep.

Ergonomic chair

Question how long you sit at a desk and how you sit. Your back should be supported, your feet flat on the floor and your bottom to the back of your chair. You should also make sure you move around hourly, to stop your back going into spasm.

Deep tissue massage

If your knotted back is down to injury or sports related, try and get a good, deep-tissue massage to untangle the knots and release your muscles. These types of massages are almost always successful, especially if they are targeting knots.

Thermal therapy

You can also use hot or cold compression packs which are available from a pharmacy. Or, if you don’t have time, just take a bag of frozen peas from your freezer or fill up a hot water bottle and rest it on the area of concern.

How to release back knots at home, with a tennis ball

Of course, sometimes you want to get out of pain fast and you don’t have time to change a mattress, get a massage or even go for a walk. There are various things you can do yourself, including self-massage. All you need is a tennis ball:
Lay on the floor and place a tennis ball between your back and the floor, just under a muscle (avoid the spine)

  1. Roll the ball up and down over the tight area
  2. At the point of pressure or discomfort, press into the ball until you feel the knot disperse
  3. Keep breathing!

You could also purchase a massager online, these come in all different forms, from small, rubber or plastic massagers that have lots of knobs and balls on them to long-handles massagers that reach parts of the back difficult to get to. These are designed to rub over uncomfortable areas.

Alternatively, try the electric massagers which are more expensive but can offer you a Shiatsu or Swedish style massage with heat to get rid of unpleasant knots.

Hopefully, these tips will help get you out of back discomfort fast!

tips to release back knots


Carmen is an entrepreneur and content marketer. In a former life, as a corporate business executive, she relied on yoga, reflexology and other alternative practices to fight stress, anxiety and find balance. She’s on a mission to build healthy habits for a balanced, healthy life, connecting body, mind and spirit.