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Has anyone had success in breaking up muscle knots
50 Replies
iliveinpain - January 29

My shoulder muscles in particular, are like rock, ALWAYS!! I went for 2 massages this week, the cold of January is just killing me. The second therapist was in amazement cause she said it feels like I've never had a massage in my life, and I go at least every other week. So I'm desperate to find relief, but have been unable to. I've been doing massage therapy for years, and I have the deep tissue massage which feels very painful, but helps alot. No matter who works on my shoulders and upper back, men or very strong women, are amazed that they can never and I mean NEVER break up all the knotted muscle tissue. It's like part of me now, and I'm just wondering if others here are experiencing this with their fibro or if it could be something else? Is this a normal part of fibro? Do you guys also have the rock hard muscles that refuse to ease up no matter what you do? I stretch and drink tons of water but I can actually hear the muscles in my shoulders move and make cracking sounds during massage.


belle1329 - January 29

HI iliveinpain,
Yes I too have VERY tight muscles, the calves of my legs especially! No matter what I do, exercise, stretch, hot tub jaccuzi, massage they are always tight and achy. My elbow cracks constently. Drives me crazy. The jacuzzi with massage, helps some but never competely. My husband cant believe how tight my muscles are. I hope that the tight muscles are what is making me heavier in weight :) Fibro sucks!! :(


Noca - January 29

There's always muscle relaxants or Benzodiazepenes.


iliveinpain - January 29

Hey Noca, actually I have tried a lot of different muscle relaxers and the benzo drugs, I'm taking zoloft and xanax, no help. Oh well, fibro just sucks sucks sucks big time and I'm sick of it! oh well, at least it's almost the weekend. Lets all try to have a good one!! :)


Fantod - January 30

I would suggest you give some thought to getting trigger point injections. They will break the pain cycle and allow the muscles to relax and stay that way for a while. There ahs been some recent discussion on this subject. Take a look at the other threads. Enjoy your weekend.


Bretongirl - February 3

You may have chronic myofascial pain which is a separate disorder from Fibro but they do work together fairly commonly. CMP causes trigger points in your muscles to contract and cause pain - the muscle can contract for hours. The trigger points are like small lumps of knotted tissue in your muscles. Sometimes you can feel a bump or a rope-like band in your muscles when they are sore. CMP can cause pain on the left or right side unlike Fibro which generally creates havoc on both sides. CMP is usually responsible for the non-cardiac chest pain that so many Fibro patients seem to have. CMP can be a dull, deep, aching pain but it also can be sharp, jabbing, stabbing, burning, or a tingling pain. It can also cause affected parts to go numb when the muscle is compressed like when you are sleeping. I constantly have numbness in my arms, hands, and legs when trying to sleep. CMP can cause widespread pain because of the interconnection between muscles. You can bang your arm and feel pain not only in the arm but in say your hip at the same time. The best quote I have read states that CMP trigger points create pain and the Fibro amplifies that pain. There are treatments - maybe you could discuss with your doctor at your next appointment. Good luck and take care.


Canada17 - February 3

After sustaining whiplash in a car accident, I had VERY tight neck and back muscles. To the point that I couldn't move my neck.

I went for massages three times a week for six months before I really started to get real relief. Then, I went down to twice a week for a few months and then once a week. Then, my doctor wouldn't sign off on my insurance papers to continue the treatments because he thought my pain was "all in my head". He is a quack and no longer my doctor.


Kjo80 - February 6

I don't know if I have fibro but I know the knots you are talking about. I have never had success breaking mine up. It feels like there are stones under my skin and my husband has never been able to break them up. It's frustrating and constantly aching. I too love the deep tissue massages but even when I go there is no success. I just wish I could stick my trapezius and neck muscles with needles or something or some how literally break it up. A massage therapist told me the reason using an analogy. He said think of your fingers holding up an 8 pound bowling ball all day. My head is a little forward which in turn causes my neck muscles to work harder since my spine isn't directly beneath my head as it should be. I don't think it can be reversed since it's a structural problem.


solanadelfina - February 6

I wonder if ultrasound treatment might help? Those are available at physical therapy places, or there are handheld ones you can use at home. My mom uses one on my feet for the plantar's fasciitis, and it's been breaking up and loosening things up since the heat penetrates instead of staying on the top layer of skin. I also sometimes have better luck doing my stretches after roasting in a bathtub for a while, since I can go farther if they're already warmed up. Good luck.


teacherceo - February 8

I used to go in every 6 weeks for trigger point injections. They weren't fun to get, but they did seem to help quite a bit. I would get 20 to 40 shots per session, and the injections would typically help for about 3 weeks. At the time I was getting them I was in so much pain that I didn't care if I was getting 40 shots at a time for 3 weeks of relief!


dhaynes1983 - December 22

iliveinpain - I too am in the same boat as you. I have muscle knots all over my upper back, neck, and now they are in my right arm. I have done massage therapy, epidurals, nerve burns, meds, trigger point injections, name it, I've tried it. But nothing seems to get rid of them. They hurt ALL the time. I now have to take pain meds just to get through the day. These knots are hard as rocks and NEVER break up. This has been going on for at least 16 years. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at Mayo Clinic back in 1995. I've been to many doctors who don't know what to do about it. The only dr. that has given me any relief was my pain management dr. At least he gives me meds to help with the pain.


polo - December 22

i def have the same issues with the dreaded muscle knots in neck and trapezius. i have tried everything and every damn day the pain is still there...

literally depresses me that there is no cure for it


kimzsoa - December 23

I had the same thing and thought it was just tention related. The chiro I went to put the electrodes on my back then a warmer then ran his finger downward starting at the knots and they went away after 2 visits with a day in between. I have since taught my husband to do this to get rid of them. it can hurt like heck if you over do it but just find the knot...gently massage then press froward, well downward if he were standing at your head and you are face down...then do it a few times and leave it alone til the 3rd day and for me. Hope this will help :)


hazelhealthnut - January 30

I would suggest trying to find a massage therapist who knows positional release and muscle energy techniques. It's not strength your massage therapist needs - its knowledge of positional release, reciprical inhibition and/or use of contract-relax followed by very gentle stretches after the muscle is releasing. There is a wide range of skill sets for massage therapists and from my experience, much to learn after you graduate.

As one writer mentioned, head forward posture will repeatedly result in tight neck muscles - so if you get relief, you may need be aware of posture or other activities that aggrevate. My suggestion to many is to lift the sternum, breath in - basically stick your chest out and bring your head into balance over a balanced torso.

Check nutritional status if you have any tendency toward muscle cramps, I would check mineral balance. Low magnesium and/or low potassium can affect muscle cramping.

And I love the book, "What your doctor never told you about fibromyalgia." It was invaluable to me.

And for fun, watch Richard Neils Youtube "How to Shiatsu" for more ideas on body work.

Be well.


hazelhealthnut - February 2

More thoughts on overly tight muscles. I am a massage therapist (6 months out of school) and I keep studying to improve my success rate. Sometimes simple techniques I know work, sometimes not. One thing you might try is getting your own book on self care: "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" by C. Davies. Its not the last word and I don't agree with his dismissal of accuppoints, but it does have some helpful stuff.

You need to consider whether a missing nutrient is contributing. In the book "Applied Kinesiology" by R. Frost discusses how chronically tight (hypertonic) muscles can result from mental/emotional stress, nutrient need, structural such as bad posture and inhibited muscles elsewhere, and dehydration. I'll add this: an overloaded detoxification system can also play a role. Many nutrients/supplements can help detoxify the body such as Guifenisen, glutathione, chlorella, and others.

In the discussion by R. Frost p. 95, he talks of Gerz's findings that causes of hypertonic muscles (or contributors) include: the antigen of candida (yeast), zinc, magnesium, opper deficincies, and constipation (iliocaecal valve treatment). Breath holding patterns also play a role in muscle tension.

Let me mention that standard blood tests do not provide a full picture on magnesium deficiency. Read Sherry Rogers, M.D. for the correct way to test. Or just try an epsom salt foot soak - if you feel very relaxed after a 20 minute soak in a cup or two of epsom salt in warm/hot water, you probably could use additional magnesium. Mag. oxide gives diarreha so get magnesium citrate capsules or a magnesium liquid. Getting enough calcium is also important, but don't take calcium without balancing magnesium than day. Note that muscles cannot relax without adequate magnesium and our typical diets do not get enough. Magnesium is given to pregant women, in large quantities, when necessary to prevent contractions.

Candida can contribute to a whole host of digestive and pain and brain fog issues.Candida tests are unreliable. Symptoms lists will indicate that you may have a problem.

When you get massage or self treat, even when its your neck that's hurting, (likely) you would benefit from arm, chest, and abdominal massage and treatment of trigger points and neurolympatic points there. Just pressing K-27 under the collar bone near the sternum, pressing between the ribs, and along the bottom of the ribs where the abdominals attach, and on the pubic symphysis can improve breathing. Tightness below the base of the sternum can contribute to breathholding. You want deep belly breaths for good health.

If you find a naturpath, accupuncurist, or pracitioner of applied kinesiology, or study Donna Eden's wonderful book "Energy Medicine" you can muscle test to determine the best supplements for your body. I know it sounds whoo-whoo, but it can be very helpful to take some of the guess work out of supplementation.

Hope this is helpful.


January - February 2

Hi. I had great results with an anesthesiologist/ acupuncturist years ago. I had terrible knots in my upper back. He did several rounds of injections with lidocaine, using a very fine needle and going slowly, numbing me as he went deeper. It wasn't painful and it worked well. I was also getting massages. The two things probably worked together.

Later, the acupuncturist retired and I asked my regular MD for a lidocaine shot - but he just stuck in one dose with a big needle and it really hurt, so - never mind. Maybe a pain doctor could do trigger point injections?


Fantod - February 3

I have had injections of sarapin which is a natural pain killer. It is a deriviative of the pitcher plant and completely nontoxic. Unlike cortizone, it does not cause tissue damage and can be used as often as needed. My rheumy uses it and so do holistic doctors. I used it to break the pain cycle in my lower back. The effect lasted about 6 months. I did not need to have more injections but I would certainly do it again if needed. Take care.



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