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How to get rid of muscle knots in your neck, traps, shoulders, and back



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what's up guys hey Jared Beck strand

here doctor of physical therapy tone and

tighten calm today we're talking all

about muscle knots and specifically

muscle knots that you're going to get in

your neck and in your upper shoulders

we're gonna talk about what they are why

you get them and most importantly I

wanted to share with you guys ten simple

things that you can do right now at home

to help eliminate yours coming at you

right now

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all right so what exactly is a muscle

not in order to understand what that is

we need a little bit of an anatomy

lesson now your body is a series of

muscles that are kind of stacked on top

of each other in layers these muscles

pull on bones that move joints and

that's how we can move in in all the

different motions all the different

directions that we can go now when

muscles contract basically what they do

is in their lengthened state they're

kind of elongated and they're relaxed

when they're in their contracted state

what happens is those muscles have to

slide over each other kind of looks like

this so we're relaxed here when we're

contracted we're right here what a

muscle knot is is a muscle that kind of

gets into this contracted state and then

gets stuck there that's why and so when

it's when it's all kind of balled up

like this and again we're talking about

the neck and upper shoulders today you

can kind of push on those spots and you

can find those areas that are not there

basically a little bit at a tighter than

that normal muscle tissue feels and

that's what that is it's when those

muscle fibers contract and then just

don't let go so why do we get these

muscle knots now the three primary

causes that I see the most often are

going to be poor posture muscle weakness

and lack of activity so let's talk about

posture for just a second in normal

posture my ears should be right over my

shoulders unfortunately that's not where

most of us hang out all day maybe you

have a desk job where you're here and

you're typing you're looking down at a

computer screen

I mean gravity is always pulling us down

most of our activities are right here in

front of us

causes our shoulders to round forward

our head to come forward and put strain

on those muscles here we're depending on

muscles to hold our head up and to keep

our gaze up right here we're depending

on gravity to do that this is a very

passive activity this becomes a very

basically muscle strenuous activity

causes those muscles to remain in this

tightened contracted state for hours on

end they're not supposed to do that

they're not used to doing that that's

what causes those muscle knots in there

so posture is the first thing and muscle

weakness is another thing which is

directly related to our third cause

which is inactivity if you're just not

doing a whole lot especially if you're

not doing a lot of resisted exercise

a lot of pulling a lot of rowing a lot

of just activating those muscles in your

back and between your shoulder blades

chances are you're going to have some

muscle knots that creep up into there

and so most importantly I want to show

you now ten of my favorite things these

are so easy you guys you can do these at

home very little equipment required

these are some simple things that you

can do to help eliminate those muscle

knots all right so let's get into it the

most important part of this video the

part that you came for how do we get rid

of these muscle knots in our neck and in

our upper shoulders I brought my wife

not only is it easier to demonstrate

these on someone else but this is

something that she struggles with also

just just not who doesn't get knots who

doesn't carry tension in their neck

let's show you some easy ways to get rid

of that so she's gonna circle around to

the other side of the table here and the

first thing that I like to tell people

is just reach for a heating pad and so

I've got a couple of different options

you know these rice bags you know you

throw these throw these in the microwave

get them nice and hot and then you can

kind of drape that over wherever that

knot is if it's kind of up higher on

your neck a lot of times these electric

heating pads are really nice sometimes

that's a little harder to keep on there

so what we like to do and she'll just

hold that for a second is if you get a

towel and then you can kind of put it on

the right spot and then wrap it around

that's kind of an easier convenient way

to hold it heat is actually a

vasodilator meaning it's gonna open up

your capillaries brings blood flow into

an area and actually helps those muscles

those knots to relax and so it's not

only a vasodilator but it's a way that

we can promote oxygen and blood flow

into an area to promote relaxation so he

is the first thing that I like to reach

for and thing number two that we're

gonna do is just stretch it out so again

most often it's the upper trapezius

muscle right here and then you've got a

muscle that kind of comes down this way

it's called your levator scapulae comes

in and hooks right into the top part of

that shoulder blade so from the base of

her skull to her shoulder blade those

are the two muscles that we need to

stretch out to work some of those muscle

knots out and so what she's gonna do is

she's gonna tilt one ear over to her

shoulder and then with that same here so

she's going right ear over to right

shoulder with her right hand

at the left side of her head and then

she's just applying a little bit of a

gentle pressure to get a stretch so

again so upper trapezius we're going

base of the skull out to the tip of the

shoulder you should fill this on the

outside part of your neck that's muscle

number one where we tend to get a lot of

muscle knots muscle number two is again

that levator scapulae so now rather than

straight ear to shoulder I call this one

the smell your armpit stretch so what

she's gonna do is she's gonna kind of

duck her head down towards her armpit so

it's kind of this oblique angle down

toward your armpit and then it's that

same overpressure again this time we're

kind of diving more forward than

straight lateral and this one we were

practicing this one earlier and she said

oh gosh that's pain and so this man

she's gonna feel again base of the skull

up to the top of that shoulder blade is

another common area where you're gonna

give those muscle knots that's another

great stretch that's gonna take care of

those okay and so then while she's

sitting right here another great way to

take care of those muscle knots is to

actually fatigue that area to promote

movement to promote muscle contraction

in that area again it's going to bring

blood flow and oxygen and just kind of

help the muscle to reset so in order to

activate as many of those muscles up

there as we can what we're gonna do is

some shrugs so she's gonna shrugged her

shoulders up towards her ears and then

retraction so when we say retraction

we're gonna squeeze our shoulder blades

together so she goes she goes up and

then she's gonna squeeze the shoulder

blades together hold for about a

three-second count and then relax if you

want to add even one more muscle

contraction whoo what she can do is

actually shrugged her shoulders up let's

say that knots over here on the left

side she's gonna tell her ear to the

left kicks on one more muscle right here

and now let's retract from there

hold two three and then come back down

you should feel that you should feel

that those muscles working those areas

where you're tight those areas where you

do have your muscle nuts that's what

we're trying to do again to just kind of

promote relaxation promote those muscles

to more or less reset as what we're

after okay cool let's go ahead and let's

see can you turn sideways so the next

thing that we're going to work on is

again we establish that a lot of this

problem is due to postural issues so one

thing that we

can do is help those postural issues

basically what we need to do is get the

head back from from too far forward we

need to get it back up over the shoulder

where it needs to be thus eliminating

the fatigue and the stress on that

muscle and helping that not to eliminate

and so what Camille's gonna do are some

chin tucks and so she's gonna tuck her

chin kind of straight into her throat

and pull her head backwards now do it

incorrectly so a lot of times people

will just do a chin tuck by ducking

their head down kind of tucking their

chin down into their chest

we're not nodding we're not going up and

down rather we're going straight back is

the motion that you should look for with

this we're gonna get a good stretch kind

of right here at the base of the skull

these muscles are called your

suboccipital muscles we get a good

stretch there we get a good elongation

here and it's a great way that we can

stretch those muscles and train your

posture train your head to kind of sit

back over your shoulders where we need

it to be that's another way to call it

what it is is the double chin exercise

okay next I'm gonna grab this foam roll

these foam rolls were on this oh these

are so great if you guys don't have one

of these I'm gonna leave a link in the

description to this video I like these

this is it's six inches in circumference

by 36 inches in length I like it the

bigger size just because they're a

little more versatile there's a little

bit more that you can do with them and

so I'm gonna lay this down and she's

actually gonna lay right on top of this

so we're gonna sit down on that and it

yep and then you can lay all the way

down just like that okay and then the

exercises that I'd like to run people

through on this is she's just gonna take

her hands she's gonna go up and over her

head kind of in a big why hang out right

there should feel a stretch through the

front of your chest the front of your

shoulders hang out for about 10 seconds

and then come back down arms come back

down to that starting position again the

goal here is to get out of this position

where there's going to be a ton of

stress in your neck and shoulders get

back and up into this tall position and

so that's an exercise that I love to do

for that very good it feels good - nice

yeah this one this one patience when I

put them on this they all say oh my gosh

that actually it kind of is

uncomfortable but after you kind of

stretch it out for a second that's one

of my favorite exercises very cool okay

so now we get her up off of there we're

done on the table for a second and so

now the next thing that I like to show

people is she's gonna come over the wall

and we're gonna do what we would call a

wall angel and so on this her feet can

come out from the wall a little bit but

I want your but your shoulders in the

back of your head up against the wall

and then she's gonna get her knuckles to

the wall also now in this position she's

gonna slide her arms up and over her

head

knuckles stay in contact with the wall

up at the top and then come right on

back down and that rate looks perfect

what I shoot for here is about ten reps

and then we repeat that for three sets

this is a great way to again work on

posture but then we're also promoting

fatigue and muscle activation in those

muscles I'm sure you feel that so you

shake that between your shoulder blades

and then as we come up and down we're

also gonna get it in those muscles where

there's where there's those tight muscle

knots so that upper trap the rhomboid

group that levator scapulae all those

muscles she's working out we're

promoting basically activation and

hopefully relaxation by doing this

exercise okay next we're gonna flip

around and to the other side and we're

gonna do what we call some wall slide so

I'm gonna give her this towel she's

gonna put her forearms against the towel

kind of helps to decrease friction and

then she's just gonna take both hands up

as high as you can over her head so

she's kind of leaning into the wall a

little bit up nice and slow and down

nice and slow I tell people you can kind

of spray a little cleaner on there like

if you need to wash the walls this is a

great way to do that and so again what

we're promoting here is just a lot of

extension through her spine we're

working on these muscles were again

promoting blood flow into that spot

hopefully we're Kenna she's she's

feeling a stretch through her shoulder

through the front of her chest through

her shoulders as we get up there to the

top and then coming right back down and

so wall slides is another great way that

we can eliminate that tension and those

knots in the in the upper shoulders okay

the last thing that we're going to talk

about and you can do

SiC well actually you know before you

sit down massage is a great way to do it

and so if you've got don't laugh you got

a spouse at home who happens to be a

physical therapist he's gonna work out

he's gonna we're going sometime

oh okay fair enough I deserve that but

if you have a significant other who can

kind of help to work on and rub those

knots out a little bit that's great if

you don't there's actually some ways

that you can self mobilize those knots

that you can take care of those by

yourself the simplest one is you just

get a tennis ball and then what you're

gonna do is put that on the wall you're

gonna turn around backwards there it is

and so to kind of creep that up to

wherever that knot is and then she's

gonna mobilize it just like that and

again what you're gonna what you're

gonna find is there are areas where that

tissue again we're talking about those

contractile layers that are come

together and they're tight like that and

so when you find them with miss ball

you're actually gonna feel it's gonna be

a little bit tender sometimes we refer

to muscle knots as trigger points yeah

so it can be a little bit tender it can

be a little bit painful but you find

those spots and then she's doing a

perfect job you can kind of massage your

way over there you go you can massage

your way over them another thing you can

do is find that spot and just leave it

right there and just apply what we call

an acupressure or a trigger point

release is the technique that we're

going for there the idea is that you

kind of starve that area of blood flow

for a second hold up for you know 10 20

30 seconds and then when you release it

what that does is promotes blood into

that spot and it's a good way that you

can promote relaxation and those knots

nice so I'll take that from her go ahead

and sit up here facing this way please

and then if you're really prone to these

there there's a couple of these actually

self massage tools that you can use this

one's my favorite this one's called a

theracane if you guys have never heard

of these or seen one again if you're

prone to these muscle knots you're gonna

want one immediately because this is

going to save your life I will also

leave a discreetly to one of these in

the description to this video again it's

called a theracane or a self massage

stick those are the types of things that

you're going to search for you can see

that it's kind of got these nodule

and these handles all around on us what

she's gonna do is just grab on to that

and then from here it's just the same

thing she's gonna find those areas and

those knots in her back and just kind of

work them over a little bit this is

another good way that you can apply that

acupressure technique you find one of

those knots you just kind of dig that

theracane into it hold it there for

again about you know ten to thirty

seconds and it's a great way that you

can promote it to release and relax like

that okay unless you want to keep it I

was gonna take it from her but I think

that she's pretty comfortable like that

all right so there you have them about

ten great techniques that you can do at

home to treat those muscle knots in your

neck and in your upper shoulders hey I

hope you guys found this beneficial I

hope that this helps you out if you

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