Knot in Neck: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

What is Meant by “Knot in the Neck?”

The phrase “knot in the neck” alludes mainly to muscle knots that occur predominantly in the neck and upper back area. Muscle knots in the neck and the upper back are quite common place and often result in discomfort, pain and even swelling. Bearing in mind that this condition is widespread; it does help to have further information about the causes, symptoms and remedies for muscle knots in the neck and this article aims to provide accurate and relevant information on this subject. Read further to know more.

Causes for Knots in the Neck

Muscle knots in the neck or what is also simply known as knots in the neck can be caused by various factors. These neck knots are overwhelmingly attributed to a sedentary way of life, overexertion of muscles in the neck and upper back caused by strenuous exercise and activity, sports injuries and even poor posture.

Symptoms of Knots in the Neck

Symptoms of Knots in the Neck

Knots in the neck or muscle knots in any part of the upper back region are easily identifiable owing to the symptoms that this condition results in. The primary symptom is a knot like swelling in the neck region that is painful to the touch, can present as a tension point and is distinctively bumpy. A feeling of tightness and contraction in the affected area of the neck is also quite commonplace. Inflammation and swelling is also reported in many cases.

Treatment for Knot in the Neck

Bearing in mind that muscle knots in the neck are a commonplace and temporary condition; treatment is generally home based and medical care is required only when the problem persists. There are a range of measures that an individual can take to treat a knot in the neck at home itself and some of them are as mentioned below.

Hot and Cold Compression

Any kind of muscular inflammation and swelling is quite responsive to hot and cold compression and the same applies for muscle knots in the neck. Those afflicted by knots in the neck can avail much relief by means of hot and cold compression. This is an easy to execute, home remedy that goes a long way in relieving the pain caused by knot in the neck, muscle sprains and strains.

OTC Medication to Treat Knot in Neck

While you definitely do not need prescribed painkillers to deal with a temporary muscle knot in the neck, you can resort to OTC pain medications for relief. Ibuprofen is a common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that is used to treat common aches and pains including knot in the neck. Pain relieving creams and gels can also be of help to relieve pain caused by knots in the neck. These gels and creams can be effectively massaged into the affected neck area where the knots are present and mild pressure can also further alleviate the symptoms of pain and discomfort caused by knots in neck.

Rest to Treat Knot in Neck

Resting the neck can help treat the painful symptoms of a knot in the neck. This is especially true if this condition is caused by strenuous physical activity and exercise. Abstaining from your regular workout that puts pressure on the upper back muscles and neck muscles is your best course of action when afflicted by a knot in the neck. Avoid lifting of heavy objects and any other physical stress on the affected neck.

Correct Your Posture to Get Rid of Knots in Neck

As mentioned before; poor posture can put stress on the neck and lead to muscle knots in the neck. Posture needs to be corrected; not only to heal the condition, but also prevent a knot in the neck from recurring in the future. Incorrect posture is closely linked to a sedentary lifestyle. If you are spending many hours in front of a computer or television screen or have your neck bent over your work at your workstation; it could lead to knots in the neck. Avoid prolonged pressure on the neck, which can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle.

Massage Away the Knots Present in the Neck

Massage therapy can be very effective for treating knots in the neck. Many individuals find relief with chiropractic massage for muscle sprains and strains including muscle knots in the neck. Deep tissue massage and Swedish massage by qualified masseurs can also help with treating the problem and relieving pain and stress in the affected area. The emphasis here should be on relieving stress and strain on the affected area and decreasing muscular stiffness and contractions

Neck Stretching Exercises

In spite of the pain that may be caused by neck movements; neck stretching exercises might prove to be effective in treating muscle knots in the neck.


In conclusion; knots in the neck can be easily prevented by ensuring correct posture and avoiding excess strain and exertion on the neck muscles. Additionally; swollen lymph nodes can also be mistaken for knots in the neck and one should watch out for symptoms like cold, cough and fever to rule out swollen lymph nodes.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 17, 2018

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