Tender knots in muscle. Any tricks how to treat it?

I accidentally ran into article about myofascial pain syndrome. Sounds familiar and connected to hashimoto. My only symptom is tender knots in muscles.

I have one large knot next to my right shoulder blade and both hips. Knot next to shoulder blade makes my back and head hurt , appatently it is pressing many nerves as the pain radiates all over. Massaging it relieves the head ache immediately.

Tender knots in muscles around the hips are a bit more tricky. Finding them requires a bit of work and massaging them hurts like h*** and the pain radiates down to my knees.

I am not in pain all the time , the ache and tenderness of these knots comes and goes. I can sleep normally, but feel extremely stiff and wobbly legs.

Massage would be good I assume, but it isn't long term fix. I guess I should avoid too heavy exercise and concentrate on stretching and so on, maybe yoga?

To massage I use tennis ball. Foam roll could be better. Anyone tried that?

I don't take pain killers, instead I use pain killer gel. Not sure if those are harmful in the long run so I use it only two or three days in a row.

Bag of snow placed on top of my shoulder blade in the sauna works very well and keeps the pain off for long time, but doesn't work for the hips as those knots are very deep and hard to spot.

So any other nice tricks I could try?

29 Replies

  • Acupuncture GB21.

    My endo thinks my terrible posture and deeply knotted neck and shoulders has caused a "civil war" in my body and caused my Hashi's (might account for raised CRP too).

    I went for my first acupuncture and acupressure appointment last week - crikey it hurt like Hell and I thought I'd been in a fight; at one point, I thought he was using a baseball bat on my shoulders (ha!) but I already feel looser and had no headaches this week.

    Blimey! I've had noooooo headaches this week :-0

  • I ALWAYS turn to the tennis ball! Much to the dismay of my dog 😁

    There are some really good, really gentle video routines to do with the tennis ball that can be found on the Internet. My favourite is by a yoga teacher named Simone Moir (sorry not able to link just now).

    I second that Acupunture is excellent for so many different ails and complaints. Just make sure you do your research and if you can, splash the cash on someone well-recommended and reputable.

    I personally practice yoga for my sore bits, of which I have many! Walking also helps to loosen me up a bit. Being on my feet at work all day really hurts me now, or, if I wake up on my day off feeling sore sometimes I will give into temptation and do less moving around - this doesn't help me at all.

    Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is really, really good 🙏

    *Forgot to mention that I also take Magnesium and use Arnica balm by Weleda for any really isolated areas of ache that I can't shift. It helps and means I can avoid taking painkillers.

    I also did a few sessions with a Chiropracter (even though I was warned that they are all quacks!) I was feeling rebellious and went anyway. Had I been able to keep it up regularly financially I would have, the sessions I went to definitely helped. Again, research.

  • I have seen all type of people who fix your back, chiropracter and all I cannot type in english :D I hated the chiropracter the most, because they make you snap painfully. But other type of massages and therapies have been really nice. Naturally not all chiropracters are from h***, the one I met was awful :D

    I will google Adriene , thanks :)

  • Hi Justiina! Not all Chiropracters use the more aggressive technique.

    You could try to find a therapist who practices the Alexander technique which is much more gentle and excellent for poor posture etc. 😊

    Good luck!

  • Baseball works so much better than a tennis ball because it's harder... They cost next to nothing from sports shops.

    Best thing for knotted muscles apart from stretching, is a thumper massager....


    Xx g

  • I have destroyed quite a few tennis balls, as eventually it gives in and cracks. Will see do we have good baseballs, maybe squash ball would work as well, think it is solid rubber.

  • Justine, try to get your hormone levels right. Longstanding undertreated hypo/adrenal makes this a difficult condition. I know a lot about it now. The fascia is an interesting organ. If you have perineural cysts, fibrosis, etc. they are difficult to treat. I have not tried acupuncture but have read it may be good for this. Trigger point has helped and I've gone from tennis ball to a tin can which has a sharp edge and can be more effective. Miracle Balls help stretch the back muscles, look those up.

    This article shows how to use the foam roller for your legs.


  • Thanks. Yeah I guess fixing hormone levels would be ideal, but at this point they ignore my thyroid panels so I am sort of alone with this. Until I manage to get an appointment I have to try to do something to release the pain.

    I am not going self medicating yet as there is something else wrong too and I want that to be fixed too, I mean I worry self medicating without fixing other issues could work against me.

    Tin can? Well I will try anything that works as my fingers hurt a lot trying to massage the knots. Foam roller would be gentler for the sore spots on back of my thighs than tennis ball. That hurts so bad it is hard to do, but works so well.

  • hmmmm, can't make sense of that. If your lack of hormone initiates other problems (as it usually does) how can you fix the others without fixing that? Have you watched Dr. Bergman's videos who looks at the entire picture?

  • True. Can only cope with it and hopefully prevent more damage done until on medication. At this point I just try to stay as functional as possible.

    Seen that video :) I find it very informative! Slowly learning these things and understanding the connection.

  • A short tin can has an edge that can roll between the back ribs. I do it in my office chair with a slightly padded back. I suppose it's not good for the chair but works well in releasing the knots.

  • Justina,

    I have used a golf ball and a roller for massage (depending on what part of the body I am working on) for years.

    I find both have worked well and give instant relief but the trick is to use them regularly. Press the ball right on the knot (which is agony) and practise deep breathing until the knot dissipates. Stretch in between sessions when the pain has been alleviated and hopefully the knot won't return so bad ( if at all.)

    Fascia (connecting tissue) isn't really recognised in medicine but needs to be kept free of obstructions as interconnects our circulatory system, nervous system, muscular-skeletal system, digestive track, organs and cells.

    In Traditional Chinese Medicine the collagen (that makes up the fascia) is thought to conduct energy through pathways (meridian lines) and a healthy fully integrated body is one that is entirely free of restrictions on these meridians, allowing a flow of energy signals. Taoists incorporate the yin & yang idea that balancing the more resistant connective tissues and skeletal system (yin) with the energetic of yang is essential to maintain the free flow of energy through the meridian lines. Diet & herbal remedies and treatments such as acupuncture would also be considered.

    Obviously it depends on what has caused the knot but if it is a repetitive action or a muscle that is just under/over used, I would say massage is definitely a long term fix, as this will encourage the muscles to elongate and stretch and discourage the fibres from shortening and becoming bunched up and "knotty". Massage will also bring healthy oxygenised blood flow to the sore area and carry away toxic waste, so eliminating inflammation.

    I actually haven't needed to use my ball or roller for massage for a long time now as do a daily yoga practice (and sometimes more ! ) so keeping muscles lengthened. Even if tired, I will still stretch and meditate.

    Feeling better, living more mindfully and relaxed will help prevent knots forming in the first place.

    A bag of snow in the sauna sounds fun ! ! . I guess this is one of the advantages of living in Finland.

    I hope you feel better soon.



    Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.


  • I discovered the magic of snow and sauna years ago when my back was so inflamed I could not even wear bra let alone lean back in a bus going home.

    I was given strong medication which did not suite me. I had horrible diarrhoea. Nothing else was offered. Grabbed a bag of snow from balcony and went to sauna. The pain was gone next day and was able to get back to work. I guess it reduces swelling so effectively especially around the know close to shoulder blade so nerves are not under that much pressure.

    I meant massage is not a long term fix for me as I can't afford it. But yeah I figured I should do some "maintance" work continuously to get results instead doing something when in pain. B12 has lessened the irritation a lot, pain is not that intense. I am glad it is not worse than this but realised I am getting older so need to get a routine to keep it under control!

    As so many has benefited from yoga I will try to do that more often. I do like yoga but I am so lazy :P


  • You can massage yourself Justina with the ball & roller.

    Ice is great for reducing inflammation. My sons are rugby players & regularly use ice (& massage) after playing. They also do the heat-cold thing using ice after a hot bath.

    I couldn't bear ice on myself ... except maybe in a sauna! !


  • I often walk bare feet to sauna during the winter :D refreshing!

    Sometimes we run out and jump into pile of snow and then back to sauna... sober! As many think we must drink liters of vodka to be able to do that.

  • Haha Justina.

    That sounds amazing fun ! !

    I think I would need lots of vodka to be able to walk bare foot in the snow, though it must be very liberating.

  • :D

    Every winter first times feels awful, running across the yard without shoes. But many finns like me go to sauna 3 to 4 times a week you get used to it and eventually you walk normally and enjoy. Sort of very masochistic and then you get to sauna and beat yourself with a bunch of branches.

    Like it was not hot already 60 to 80 C , beating yourself with branches makes it feel even more burning.

    Typing this makes me realise how weird it sounds that someone would do that :D

    But for finns there is so long history sauna being big part of our culture.

    People gave birth in the sauna as it was very sterile after being heated up to 100 C and rinsed with boiling water. It was also place to say goodbye to deceased people. ( naturally not heated up when delivered the corpse in)

    Bride and groom were given a bath before marriage and beaten with brunches to drive out spirits of old lovers.

    In the sauna children were supposed to be quiet and behave not to disturb sauna elf ad if the elf was mad he could let the sauna burn.

    To scare bad spirits you bang the walls of the sauna with your fists. And so on.

    For us finns it is very sacred place in a way. Place to clean up yourself all the way from your soul to skin. After a long week you go and wash off all stress.

    It is very natural for us to go to sauna with friends or the opposite sex. Nudity in sauna is pure and innocent for us.

    Funny that many pets like to go to sauna too. So sometimes you go to sauna with your dog or cat.

  • LOL.

    Fab interesting stuff Justina.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

  • That's so interesting! I want to try it 😁

  • I use spikey balls recommended by my physio. They can be purchsed on amazon and come in different sizes for different parts of the body.☺

  • For the knots in the hip muscles, it works really well if you lie down on the tennis ball where the knot is and roll along it. This way your whole body weight is pushing down and makes the massage deep enough to reach. It hurts a lot but it really cures it.

    For the shoulder one see if you can get someone to push down on it with repetitive movements up amd down pressing movements. They stop when it stops hurting. Over a few days the knot should disappear. Good luck

  • the knots are active trigger points, myofacial pain indeed. ball work and stretching should switch them off. stretching in the shower is good as your warmed up. there is a treatment called trigger point therapy which switches the active trigger point (trps) off. Done by physios in the uk and sports therapists know more than most.

    My hips are permanently switched on, as is my shoulders and upper back, knees and thighs. Knowledge is no good if its too late :(

    I bought a book called 'winners guide to pain relief' by Hal Blatman md and Brad ekvall bfa, they show you the right stretches for specific areas as the trp may not be where the pain is. Using this book has helped me turn off new trps that activate but I have not been able to turn any of the permanent off ... yet .

  • Sometimes if the muscle had to compensate for bad posture, the trigger points will develop. Until you have a correction the muscle will always be trying to compensate. If you watch the video I posted by a chiropractor (above) you will see how important that is.

  • I've just bought this book, the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook amazon.co.uk/Trigger-Point-... as saw it recommended. I haven't read it yet, but flipped through and it has loads of diagrams of muscles and things, looks very thorough.

    It's really useful for me to hear all these responses. I am only just starting to think about self massage, I was sure being hypothyroid has itself messed up the flexibility in my back. Although I still spend a lot of the day in bed, and I'm sure it does terrible damage to the body.

  • Yeah, I think my low T3 is related to my stiffness , muscles are short and suffering. And/or low temperature. I have now had few colds where my temp has been 37. And oh boy I feel different. Normal temp helps all enzymes work as they supposed to. My normal temp is 35.5-36.1. So in hypo state your body can't work normal and the build up of lactic acids is higher and shaking it off very difficult.

    Yeah laying down is not good ,but not much choices when you feel rotten and weak!

  • massage back chairs work really well for me, argos sells em, they die after two years but still cheap, I used to get so knotted I could be seen massaging my knots against the edge of items of street furniture like a cow on a gate post.

    massage chair in a search engine should bring them up.

  • I use a mixture of tennis ball, lacrosse ball and foam rolling.

    I first made friends with the tennis ball to relieve my plantar fasciitis and it worked a treat!

    The lacrosse ball is good for small areas around the shoulders but my favourite (for want of a better word) is the foam roller......on the calves, quads and IT band on the side of the thigh and to release the piriformis/hip flexors in the gluteal area. Yowser it hurts! :D ...........just roll slowly and when you hit a painful/sore point, pause on that spot for 20-60 seconds, all the while grimacing like an idiot!

    Lots of videos on YouTube from physiotherapists and sports medicine types to show you how.

    It does eventually get more bearable. Everything hurt when I first started but it's something you can do in front of the TV whilst being given funny looks by your OH's and pets :)

    My shoulders are really tight and I find it easier (and a little less painful) to start by rolling between myself and a convenient wall before submitting to full bodyweight.

    This is something I will not do at my local gym, who have oodles of different rollars (smooth or knobbly) as the groaning and cursing is far too OTT from me :D So I bought my own roller from a local sports shop but their are dozens on Amazon.

    I'm also thinking of having acupuncture done. Hubby goes to a traditional Chinese place in our town which he says is very effective for a back problem that the local osteo hasn't quite remedied. As a bonus he has also been able to come off his sleeping tablets which is marvellous as the therapist said that he may find that he is now able to get full, proper and beneficial sleep.

    Have to add that I'm a huge fan of Hot/Cold, especially after a workout, I'm convinced it helps in the battle of alleviating Delayed Onset Muscle soreness. Alternate between either the sauna or steam room and a very cold rainfall-style shower.

  • I just ordered foam roller! I want to do it privately as well as massaging with tennis ball makes me moan and whine in the way it might sound a bit weird :D

    My boyfriend hates needles, but he went to physiotherapy and he had no choice as he was not asked if he wants to try acupuncture. Now he is happy about receiving acupuncture as his shoulder was really stiff causing pain and headache. Headache is gone and shoulder getting better. I think I will try acupuncture at some point too.

  • I love x-country skiing and that relieves all stiffness but my T3 is so low it causes me so bad fatigue. I do try to exercise, but try to balance so I don't end up bedridden.

    This winter it has been cold after cold so have been resting to recover properly. Just ordered foam roller and borrowed pilates in sauna book and will start slowly to build up strength.

    When my all other health issues are properly examined and no reason to postpone self medication I will do it if doctors are not willing to prescribe me meds. I do believe it would fix the problem at least partially.

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