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Knot in Lower Back - Causes and Treatments

Suffering from a knot or lump in your lower back? Don't let it ruin your day. Discover the secrets to understanding, managing, and preventing this pesky problem with our guide to quick pain relief and a healthy lower back. Say goodbye to discomfort and hello to a pain-free life!

 Knot in lower back - trigger points


Knot vs. Lump in Lower Back - Understanding the Difference:

Have you ever felt a strange, unsettling bump or bulge on your lower back and wondered what it was? Don't be startled, it's not an uncommon occurrence, and recognizing the distinction between bump and knot can help you deal with the problem more successfully.

Bumps on Lower Back: 

When we refer to bumps on the lower back, we typically mean skin-level deviations. These bumps are frequently related to underlying skin disorders such as cysts, skin infections, or even an innocent pimple. Skin-level pimples can be unpleasant, uncomfortable to touch, and even filled with fluid in certain cases.

Knot vs Lump in lower back

Unlike muscle knots, these lumps in the lower back are frequently produced by problems underneath the skin's surface. Clogged hair follicles, bacterial infections, or other skin issues can cause them.

Knots vs. Lumps in Lower Back:

Muscle knots, as opposed to lumps in the lower back, are located deeper within the body, and buried within the muscle tissue. Muscle knots are usually caused by strain, inactivity, or improper use.

Unlike lumps in the lower back, knots are caused by internal muscle problems. They can be caused by a variety of situations, such as bad posture or repetitive motion. When muscle knots form they can cause pain, limit range of motion, and inflict pain on other parts of the body.


Knot in Lower Back Muscle - Dealing With Trigger Points:

A knot in the lower back, also known as a muscle spasm or trigger point, can be a source of discomfort and pain for many people. Learning how can stiff and tight muscles result in back pain boils down to trigger points.

"A trigger point is an angry knot in muscles that can cause pain locally or referred pain elsewhere in the body" [1]. 

Knot in lower back - QL pain pattern

It is common for trigger points, or small knots of muscle tissue, to develop in the quadratus lumborum muscle of the lower back. These QL trigger points can cause pain and tightness in the muscle and referred pain in other areas of the body.

Dealing with "small knots" may sound tolerable, however, the repercussions of leaving your tight tissue unattended can be debilitating. A knot in the lower back can cause a world of hurt and give off the impression that the underlying issue is more serious than expected. (Read more on our page about the quadratus lumborum tightness test.)

"The pain from quadratus lumborum trigger points is commonly mistaken for arthritis of the spine, disk problems, sciatica, or bursitis in the hip" [2].


 Check my video on "QL Trigger Points" for more information on dealing with pesky muscle knots.


Knot in Lower Back - Say Goodbye With Deep Tissue Massage:

In order to deal with these nasty lower back trigger points, you must elongate the tight clumped together tissue that has been left dormant causing tightness and pain. One of the best-proven ways to do this is through deep tissue massage (Read more on Trigger Point Massage). Deep tissue massage can help release the trigger points that are causing pain and discomfort in the lower back. This can help to reduce pain, improve flexibility, and promote healing in the affected muscle tissue.  


Knot in lower back - Deep tissue massage benefits:

knot in lower back - deep tissue massage
    1. Relieves muscle tension and pain
    2. Improves range of motion and flexibility
    3. Reduces stress and promotes relaxation
    4. Improves circulation and oxygen flow
    5. Can help with chronic pain conditions such as sciatica
    6. Can improve posture and athletic performance
    7. May help with recovery from injuries or surgeries
    8. Can improve overall physical and mental well-being

    In addition, lower back massage techniques using deep tissue massage can help to promote mental well being, relaxation, and reduce stress and anxiety by releasing tension in the muscles and promoting feelings of calmness (read here for more on Lomilomi massage).


    Muscle Knot in Lower Back - QL Rehab:

    A great tool for at home lower back muscle massage is the QL Claw. The QL Claw is currently the only trigger point release tool specifically designed for the quadratus lumborum muscle. Without the hands and elbows of a chiropractor or physical therapist, getting deep enough to release QL trigger points can be very difficult.  

    knot in lower back - QL Claw

    "To find the deeper, more problematic medial trigger points, it is critical to sneak in sideways underneath the vertical superficial spinal muscles" - Davies, Claire, and Amber Davies [2]. 

    And the QL Claw does exactly that. If you want to learn how to get rid of back pain (my story), begining with deep tissue massage is a great start.  



    Knot in Lower Back - Additional Rehab:

    Stretching for recovery: After a deep tissue massage to relieve lower back stiffness, it's key that you incorporate stretching into your routine. Stretching helps keep the treated muscles flexible and prevents them from tensing up again.

    Strengthening for long-term relief: It is recommended to strengthen the muscles around the trigger area to provide long-term relief from knots in lower back. Incorporate core and lower back exercises such as back extensions, reverse hyper, suitcase carry exercise, and bird dog rows. These exercises enhance the stability and endurance of your lower back muscles, which reduces the risk of knots in lower back recurring.


    Knot in Lower Back FAQ:

    Why do I feel a knot in my lower back?

    A muscle knot in your lower back is frequently caused by muscle tension or tightness. Factors such as poor posture, repeated motions in physical activity, or long periods of inactivity can all contribute to muscle knots.

    These knots (also referred to as trigger points) lie deep within the muscle tissue and can cause a great deal of pain.

    How to get rid of a muscle knot in the lower back? 

    Deep tissue massage is an effective way to relieve a knot (trigger point) in the lower back. This technique increases flexibility, improves circulation, and releases tension in the area.

    A personal therapy tool like the QL Claw can successfully reach and release trigger points.

    How long should a knot in your back last?

    In general, with good self care, such as targeted massage and stretching, knots can be relieved within a few days to a couple of weeks. If symptoms continue or get worse, the issue could be larger than muscle knots and may warrant professional help.


    Knot in lower back - back muscle solutions


    Other helpful tips for knot in lower back include; stretches such as the QL Muscle Stretch and lower back strengthening exercises (We also have a page on how to get rid of lower back fat above the buttocks).  Check out my Lower Back Strengthening Program - Back Of Steel 2.0 for the exact exercises and routine that got me and many others out of years of crippling back pain.  


    Read next:



    How to Release the Knot Behind Your Shoulder Blade 



    [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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