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Whether it’s from an intense day of strength training or from stress (or a combo of both!), I’ll often wake up with a painful, piercing knot in my upper back. Or sometimes it’s lower, between my shoulder blade and spine — you know the spot! The pain can radiate up my neck, which makes it hard to turn my head to the side. My PT has been able to work it out with dry needling, but I obviously can’t run to her every time I’m hurting. Here’s the two-step remedy she’s recommended that I use at home to alleviate that sore and sensitive spot.

How to Relieve a Knot in Your Shoulder or Back: Heat

The first step is to warm up the area and get the blood flowing. While a hot shower works well, I don’t always have time, so I use this Huggaroo Weighted Neck and Shoulder Heating Pad. I just pop it in the microwave for four minutes, and then let it rest on my upper back, neck, and shoulders for 15 or so minutes. That’s usually enough time to warm up the area. Sometimes just doing this is enough to get relief if the knot isn’t too big.

How to Relieve a Knot in Your Shoulder or Back: Massage

After heat, I massage the area. If my husband is around, and I’m noticeably uncomfortable, he’ll use his thumbs and while it’s intense and painful, it really loosens the tightness. I also like to use a massage gun since I can control the pressure. If I don’t have access to those, a lacrosse ball on the wall works too, or I just got a Mobility Wall, and that has been super helpful. I only need to do massage for two to three minutes, and after this two-step process, which takes about 20 minutes, I always feel better. If you have a sore knot, give this remedy a try.

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