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How to Get Rid of Knots in Biceps

author image Beth Greenwood
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.
How to Get Rid of Knots in Biceps
Woman smiling and flexing bicep

Knots in a muscle are the result of an injury that causes muscle spasms. If the spasm is not treated, it goes on to form knots in the muscle. As you move around during the day, muscles cycle on and off with different movements. An untreated spasm makes the muscle stay contracted all the time. Eventually the muscle overloads and forms knots. Treating muscle spasm can help reduce biceps knots, but if the source of the pain isn’t treated, the spasm and knots will recur.

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Treatment for Biceps Knots

Arm massage.
Arm massage.

Treatment for muscle knots in the biceps can be self-administered or obtained from a health-care professional such as a physical therapist. Self-treatment options include stretching, local massage, the application of heat or cold and acupressure. Other possible treatment modalities include massage therapy, acupuncture and the use of ultrasound or electrical stimulation. Physical therapists and massage therapists perform massage therapy; physical therapists also apply ultrasound or electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture needles and tools.
Acupuncture needles and tools.

Acupressure and acupuncture are traditional Chinese bodywork therapies. Each is applied to specific points on the body called meridians. Acupressure is a variation of acupuncture; deep finger pressure on acupuncture points takes the place of the small, fine needles used in acupuncture. You may be able to perform acupressure on your biceps muscle, but someone who is trained in acupressure should instruct you on the correct location and show you the technique.


Woman self-massaging arm.
Woman self-massaging arm.

Some forms of massage can be self-administered, while others require a trained massage therapist. One form of self-massage you can use on a knotted biceps is the glide. To perform a glide, place your palm over the biceps muscle; keep your fingers together but hold your thumb so the thumb and index finger form a V. Glide your hand up and down the muscle with just enough pressure to indent the skin. Glide until you feel the muscle warm beneath your fingers.


Woman stretching arms.
Woman stretching arms.

Stretching a muscle can reduce spasm and decrease the tendency for knots to form. Stretch after you have warmed up to prevent increased spasm. To stretch your biceps, place your outstretched hand in front of you on a wall at shoulder level. Keep the hand on the wall and rotate your body until you are facing away from the wall. You will feel a stretch in your biceps. Hold the position for a few minutes, then relax and repeat several times.

Other Considerations

Doctor checking pulse of patient.
Doctor checking pulse of patient.

If you continue to experience knots in the biceps, you may be doing something that causes repeated muscle injury or you may have some other medical problem that makes you more prone to muscle spasm, such as a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Low levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium or vitamin D can increase the tendency toward muscle spasm. Consult a health-care professional for continued spasms or biceps knots that do not respond to self-treatment.

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