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How To Release The Knot Behind Your Shoulder Blade

Below is our effective method to help you untangle that irritating knot behind your shoulder blade! Relieve pain in a few simple steps while preventing future pain. Let's get rid of those annoying knots and embrace a life of comfort! 

 Knot behind shoulder blade

What Is A Knot?

Muscle knots are tight muscle fibers that can hold and accumulate tension, leading to pain, numbness, weakness, and tingling [1]. They can be the source of muscle discomfort as well as affect your range of motion and performance. 

These knots, often called trigger points, can form as a result of overusing muscles, poor posture, stress, or damage. Given the complex relationships between shoulder muscle and scapula structure, knots frequently develop in the deeper layers behind the shoulder blade, which involves the rhomboids. 

The Rhomboid muscle lies in the upper back beneath the lower trapezius and on top of the serratus posterior muscle. The Rhomboid connects from the spinal vertebrae directly to the shoulder blade in the back of the body. 

Knot behind shoulder blade - rhomboid pain pattern

Rhomboid Muscle & Pain Pattern [1] 


How to Release Knot Behind Shoulder Blade

Start by targeting the underlying causes for a knot behind your shoulder blade by treating tight pectoral muscles. Tight pectorals can worsen the pain, and is essential to treating rhomboid knots properly. *See the Rhomboid tear test for more

Step 1: Pectoral Muscles Release 

With a lacrosse ball, muscle gun or massage tool, work on the pectoral muscles, breaking up any tight tissue.  

Pectoral massage

Next for two minutes on each side, stretch the pectorals, focusing on extending to release the pressure on the rhomboids. 

Step 2: Rhomboid muscles Release 

Rhomboid muscle knots that contribute to pain can be released by rhomboid soft tissue massage. 

To release tension behind the shoulder blade, massage the rhomboids for two to four minutes using a ball against the wall or a massage tool. Find the area in the muscle that feels the tightest and begin applying pressure. (This may cause some discomfort at first, but the more elongated the affected tissue becomes, the easier it will be) 

Rhomboid masaage

Step 3: Back Mobility Exercises 

Below are 2 effective back exercises that will help prevent future knots behind your shoulder blade 

Mid back twist: 

Mid back twist exercise

Cat Camel: 

shoulder knot cat camelCat Camel pt.2


How To Prevent A Knot Behind Your Shoulder Blade

Preventing muscle knots is just as important as treating them. The following techniques help prevent knots behind the shoulder blade from forming: 

POSTURE! Hunching forward or slouching may feel comfortable in the moment, however, this puts major stress and tension on the muscles that surround your shoulder blades.  

Include strength training: Enhancing the strength of the rhomboids, traps, and other surrounding shoulder/back muscles helps maintain good posture and lessen the likelihood of developing knots behind shoulder blade. 

Knot behind shoulder blade - pull up

A few of these exercises include: 

Stay mobile, move around, and stretch regularly, especially if your job requires you to sit or stand for extended periods. 

Stress reduction: Believe it or not, stress may aggravate tense muscles, especially in the upper back. 


Benefits Of Deep Tissue Massage 

In addition to being an effective technique for releasing knots behind the shoulder blade, deep tissue massage has many other benefits and is helpful to many other muscle groups: 

Improved Circulation: Deep tissue massage promotes faster healing and muscular recovery by increasing blood flow to the muscles, which improves the supply of oxygen and nutrients and aids in the removal of toxins. 

Increased Range of Motion: By focusing on the deeper layers of the muscle, deep tissue massage helps to release tension and limitations that restrict your movement. Try giving your rhomboids a deep tissue massage and feel how much more flexible your shoulders and upper back feel afterward. 

Pain Relief: By easing muscle stress and tightness, deep tissue massage reduces chronic pain and offers much-needed relief from all sorts of bothersome knots and trigger points throughout the body. 

Stress Reduction: Deep tissue massage provides significant relaxation and stress reduction in addition to its physical benefits.  

Discover the full benefits of deep tissue massage by trying it out for yourself. 


Deep Tissue Massage Tool: QL Claw vs. Lacrosse/Tennis Ball 

It can be difficult to choose which deep tissue massage tool works best for your specific problem. While foam rollers are great for surface area massage and lacrosse balls are great because of their versatility they do not have the same effect as the physical touch of a medical professional's knuckle or elbow.  

The QL Claw is an excellent back massager for knots in those especially hard-to-reach places that a lacrosse ball or foam roller might not be able to reach. Because of its special design, the QL Claw has the ability, as well as the added advantage, of remaining stable on the ground. The QL Claw, when compared to a lacrosse ball or a foam roller, can efficiently break up muscle tissue that directly contributes to upper back, lower back, and hip pain. 


(Back Massager For Knots)


Knot Behind Shoulder Blade - FAQ 

How long until shoulder knots go away? 

There is no set time. Knots have the potential to stick around for a while, especially when left untreated. Fortunately, there are things you can do to speed up the process such as deep tissue massage and targeted stretching. 

Can stress cause shoulder blade knots? 

Yes, when muscles are held in a tense state for an extended period of time, knots can form. 

Is a muscle knot and trigger point the same thing? 

Yes, a knot and trigger point are both different terms for compact and injured muscle tissue.  

What does a knot feel like? 

Feels as though there is an area of stiffness or tension in the muscle. Pressing on a knot may cause pain or discomfort, which occasionally spreads to other parts of the body. In general, a knot is felt as a localized spot of tight muscles that can be uncomfortable and get in the way of your everyday tasks. 






[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019. 

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013. 

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