General Question

Glow's avatar

Why do I have so many knots in my shoulders and back?

Asked by Glow (1352 points ) October 21st, 2009

I get a lot of muscle knots in my shoulders and back, especially when I have a migraine, but only when I do. I wonder if these knots are actually causing my migraines? A chiropractor that I saw a long time ago was the first to point out the knots, and my boyfriend tells me that my muscles are so knoted, they feel like bone! Im just so tense, and I cant understand why.

Is their any reason for this and is there some thing I could try to do? Ive tried a lot of things, but they only temporarily help, since the knots just keep coming back, probably every day.

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10 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

Is the tension in your muscles caused by stress? Lack of sleep? Lack of stretching? Do you slouch?

Have you tried acupuncture? Yoga? Meditation? Are you on medication for migraines?

More details, please.

I suffer from chronic migraines & insomnia, take meds, do exercise/meditation-etc also

Glow's avatar

Well, I’m not exactly sure what causes my knots (or even some of my migraines sometimes). There are times when I get little sleep, and i’m perfectly fine, and times when I get decent sleep and suddenly I’m tense in the shoulders and a migraine is developing. I have wondered if stress is a cause, but if it is, then I sure am weak, because I’ve seen other people under more stress than me and not get even half the pain I do. Same goes for stretching. I dont do it very day, but at least once a week, and some people who never do it don’t get half the pain I do. I only slouch when I’m not watching myself though. I tend to catch the slouch quickly, I and sit up right away.

Never tried acupuncture, but mostly because I’m terrified to, haha. I know I should, but I worry bout the needles, and the person. What if they make a mistake? What if something goes terribly wrong? But I guess it cant be as bad as liver damage caused by too much tylanol ):

I’ve taken imitrex for my migraines, but once my insurance ran out, I wasnt able to afford it anymore. Thing is though, the imitrex packet never lasted more than a month! Mostly because my migraines are chronic, and I haven’t been able to find out why :/

I exercise regularly, but recently I havent in about two weeks due to studying for exams (which could be a possible reason for my current knots and migraine, but doesn’t explain the rest).

Anyway, I guess thats answers about all your questions :P Btw, I do plan to see a doctor soon, but its going to have to be a school doctor, since my lack of insurance prevents me from being able to see a neurologist or migraine specialist.

markyy's avatar

Little sleep > perfectly fine, Regular sleep > tense.
So the more sleep, the worse it gets. It might be your posture in bed, you wouldn’t happen to be one of those people with 14 pillows under their head?

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Glow Instead of migraine meds, describe all of this to your doc.

I finally have a doctor that listened to ALL of my symptoms. He put me on a low-dose of a common anti-depressant for chronic pain management. It has changed my life.

He prescribed 10mg of Amitriptyline to be taken at bedtime. I now sleep at least 6hr per night and suffer from less than 5 migraines per month.

Maybe some other type of therapy would work for you. For now, I’d recommend a warm bath or shower along with Tylenol or Advil to help ease your muscles.

Glow's avatar

@markyy Nah, I actually have a flat pillow and when I sleep on my back, I prefer no pillow. I usually only sleep with pillows when I am on my sides. Whether or not my sleep posture has anything to do with it is also something I do not know though :/

@SpatzieLover – A doctor put me on low dose of wellbutren a loong time ago, but I wasn’t on it long enough to see if it was making a difference (I was on it for maybe 3 weeks), mostly because using drugs, especially anti-depressant ones, make me worry a lot, so I stopped out of fear. Haha. Yeah, I tend to worry about things a lot don’t I? Another possible reason for the pain :P Less then 5 a month huh? I get about one a week with out meds! I want to get it down to once a month. Even that would make a difference in my life.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Glow Any anti-depressant used for chronic pain therapy needs at least a month to establish effect. I was leery of the effectiveness myself. My doc reminded me the worst the meds could do were not work, and asked me to give it a month. By day 2, I had already gotten a great night’s rest, and by week 3 I’d noticed the reduction in migraines.

There’s no cause for worry with a drug that’s been safely used for 30–40yrs. I have read studies on the one I’m on. There’s little cause for concern. Especially when compared to the health risks of living with insomnia…or the risks of some long term use of migraine meds.

Judi's avatar

If you have an hour Here is a youtube video with a good yoga shoulder stretch. The guy is a little funny looking but I did a few minuets just sitting in the chair and I am more relaxed already.

ubersiren's avatar

If you have the means to get a good massage once a month (or more) I’d recommend it. What kind of work do you do? Do you sit at a desk in front of a computer? Do you do any lifting?

Like @SpatzieLover mentioned, hot baths can help greatly. Heating pad, hot water bottle, a body wrap such as this could do wonders. Heat and friction.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you lifting a lot? I don’t mean in the gym necessarily, could be young children, boxes, etc. Any chance your thyroid is slow?

Glow's avatar

@SpatzieLover – understandable. I admit I am desperate to do something about the pain, but I want to use the meds a last minute measure, if nothing works and I can’t get rid of it. I guess going so many years of this should get me back into the doctors office to try again, but that is only going to happen once I get some medical insurance, sadly.

@Judi – Wow, I would need to learn some major patience to try that one, haha. But I will definitely give those yoga exercises a try.

@ubersiren – I dont have the money to get a massage regularly, but at least I was blessed with a wonderful boyfriend who is willing to massage me when he can. But he can’t every day, and he isn’t a professional. I would LOVE to see one though. And yeah, I’m on the computer often, at home and at school. As far as lifting goes, I dont do a lot. Don’t think my thyroid is a problem though. Doctors haven’t really said anything.

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