Remove Muscle Knots Yourself (Tennis Ball Release)


hi i’m paula moore the chiropractor and i’m here to talk to you today about how to use a tennis ball for your lower back trouble okay now I probably didn’t invent this but I feel as if I have because my patients absolutely love it and they tell me it’s the best thing they’ve ever learned so I don’t know how long it’s been around but I kind of found it one day after I’d injured my own back and I haven’t looked back since it’s one of the most popular exercises I give my clients and I use it to get rid of knots in the low back it can be used all over the body but it’s particularly great for the low back and those hard-to-reach places got my friend here the spine and I’m going to show you where you’re going to be using this right so this is you facing the spine looking from behind the spine and the tennis ball is to be used in your low back between the crests of the pelvic bones and the lower margin of the ribs so pretty much to either side of the green area which is your lumbar spine those are the areas you’re going to be looking for your muscular knots so the tennis ball shortly when you’re lying on your back you’re going to be placing it along this area here and along this area here and in particular there’s a sweet spot right about in here where you get on a muscle called your quadratus lumborum your QL and on most people I can find a trigger point or a muscular knot in there definitely people with low back pain I’ve never found one yet that doesn’t have these and it’s so effective because you can travel with a tennis ball so you’re never stuck out in pain and not knowing what to do so this is great for muscular spasms and getting rid of those knotted muscles and as an aside a knotted muscle you can think of as a buildup of lactic acid where a muscle has been overworking so athletes get it and people with back trouble get it where the muscles are over working and the lactic acid builds up and forms a knot and by applying pressure either with my thumb as a chiropractor or my elbow when I’m feeling particularly mean or tennis ball so you can apply pressure to your own trigger points and help melt them away so these are the areas we’re going to look for so take a look at me lying on my back now okay so just before you lie back you’ve got your tennis ball in the same side as the side you’re going to apply it to you’re going to lie on your back you’re going to roll to the side and you’re going to have a little feel with your own fingers for any tender points or any areas where it feels a bit knotted you’re going to move the tennis ball around until you find a particularly tender one and it looks something like this and you say ouch yeah okay I find a tender point in there and remember those spots I showed you on the spine between the crest of the pelvis and where your ribs end in between there and really up close to the bony spine but not on the bones so you put the tennis ball in you roll your knees back sometimes I give them a bit of a wiggle and I look to see is that tender not quite take the knees away find the point move the ball around until you find a tender one I’ve got one there now for some people this is enough weight to get the tension onto the ball and feeling that tenderness if you can’t find a tender point you can increase the weight on the tennis ball I tend to do this by taking my foot onto my opposite knee and tipping sometimes I even like to use my hands cupping them over my knee tipping right onto the ball putting a little more weight on to that point and now I’ve got a really tender one I call it good pain something you feel like where you’re really getting at the point and doing something about it now the key with these tender points you need to stay on them until they completely fade if you come off the ball before they’ve faded you can actually switch these points on they can start to really aggravate you so you stay on I’ve got a good point there now it’s tender if you get one and you start feeling the tenderness travel down your leg it’s okay just remember that that’s a more chronic point when they travel away from the site they’ve been there longer stay on it until it completely fades on average that will take between 20 seconds and right up to two or three minutes for some really chronic ones when the pain is completely dissipated slowly roll off the tennis ball and move the tennis ball to another tender point my goal with this exercise is to find two or three tender points each side and remember stay on them until they fade completely to come off them roll your knees away and go up onto all fours don’t just sit up as I just did there okay so watch how I get up in the correct way now after finishing the tennis ball exercise and by the way do two or three points each side and this can be done every single day again this one’s definitely best to be done after you’ve been up a couple of hours my preference is to do it after a hot bath or after a little bit of exercise or at the end of the day you’re going to get a lot more out of it so watch how I get up after I’ve been doing it you’ll be a little bit sore okay there the correct way to get up be careful not to push down too hard on the tennis ball you can bruise the muscle if you do bruise the muscle Arnica lotion is great and the bruising won’t last anyway it can be sore the next day but remember this is not for you to be diagnosing or treating a condition if there’s anything you’re really concerned about you should be seeing your chiropractor or your GP okay we’ll see you at for other great posture tips thanks very much for watching bye


100 Responses

  1. andrew evans

    January 25, 2016 8:43 am

    i use the tennis ball and do like how u do it.. but the knots big and the ball rolls over it.. and i can feel it.. it hurts bad when i try to use ball and they dont come out

  2. loc2k11

    February 24, 2016 6:19 am

    hello, I've been having lower left back pain for 2 years, I think its a muscle pull, its not sore by touch but its sore when running or bending over, I play sport and recently turned 17

  3. Hell Billy

    February 26, 2016 10:40 am

    I don't know if what I have is a knot but my back kills me when I lay down to sleep. it's in the middle of my back, maybe on the lower left side. I've had it for a year plus. Could knots last that long? If so, how do I know if it is a knot?

  4. Keith Miller

    March 1, 2016 10:05 pm

    tennis ball is great but if need little more pressure use a raquetball. I swear by the raquetball.

  5. motox766

    March 23, 2016 9:04 pm

    cool video thanks… back is just trashed from racing motocross and my t6 t7 discs are damaged.i always have knots in my back.i will try this …..just to get the pressure off is awesome

  6. Hanane Shoubi

    March 25, 2016 7:06 pm

    merci beaucoup c'est très généreux de votre part de sacrifier vos temps et vos matériel pour nous renseigner et nous donner des conseils précieux j'espere que va m'aider et merci d'avance

  7. Rob Beenker

    April 23, 2016 6:37 pm

    Dear Paula, I like your explanation, but why a tennisball (which loses its hardness after a few months) and not a lacrosse ball (which keeps it firmness for years on end)? Cheers, Rob (LMT)

  8. One Wayfarer

    April 30, 2016 3:51 am

    That's really good, thanks.

    How about with the ball against a wall for less pressure in certain cases?

  9. kikilicious99

    May 12, 2016 7:05 am

    I do this regularly on my upper back where my trapezius muscles are and it feels great but the next day I am sore and sometimes lose mobility. Am i doing it wrong?

  10. Canadian Guitar Hack

    May 14, 2016 11:02 pm

    I was told i have a bad si joint and a rotated pelvis ,,so my muscles in my lower right back and around the top of my pelvis, continuing through me hip, are very tight and cause a lot of pain,will this work in these areas to give me some pain relief.Thanks Dave

  11. Count De' MoNay

    May 20, 2016 8:52 pm

    Great video! Simple, direct, and to the point. Not a lot of technical jargon; a huge plus.
    Thank you so much!

    By and by, are you related to Sigourney Weaver?

  12. Chassie Nyx

    June 23, 2016 2:24 am

    I have already found seven tender spots in one area. No wonder I couldn't bend to my right all the way down while doing yoga. Thanks!

  13. Izzy

    June 29, 2016 1:13 pm

    Thank you so much! I've been having difficulty at work because of lower back pain and this definitely relieved me of it!

  14. Jon-Vegard

    June 30, 2016 4:58 am

    I have a couple that hurts like a son of a mother. I've done what you said in the video, but the pain doesn't go away completely, no matter how long I stay in the position. Is it possible I'm not adding enough pressure?

  15. Ciara Elizabeth

    July 2, 2016 5:20 am

    hi! I have scoliosis and i have a super tight muscle on my right side just above my hip on my waistline, it has been there for years. would this technique help me?

  16. ReneeNme

    July 5, 2016 3:39 am

    Hmmm … I'd think you could use this technique with 2 tennis balls. One on each side of the spine. I suffer from degenerative disc disease and think I might give it a go. I don't have localized pain though, it's all along my spine and my upper back. Below my clavicle at the halfway point I always have 2 HUGE !!! knots there ( one on each side ). And my neck … We won't even go there.

  17. bpositve

    July 6, 2016 8:20 am

    I've had chronic back pain for 12 years now. I am very familiar with those knots. I'm gonna try this. Just sent my husband to the store! ;-D Thank you Dr. Paula Moore.

  18. IThinkItsForYou

    July 19, 2016 9:19 am

    Thank you so much for your advice. I was getting seriously worried about my lower back muscles (so rock hard) then I feel those sweet spots QL you talk about and thought I had a serious health problem because they are SO painful. Now I know I can put some pressure on these to release the pain

  19. canefan17

    August 8, 2016 9:52 am

    Some people use foam rollers on their lower back. That's dangerous because of the pressure it puts directly on the spine, correct?

    This tennis ball seems like a great alternative to use because it doesn't put pressure on spine.

  20. Rachel From Staples

    September 4, 2016 6:55 am

    Can knots be almost feel hard as bone? I've never had a knot in my lower left back and it's really hard like bone with what feels with muscle over it. Idk what to think.

  21. Aleksandra Fernandez

    September 21, 2016 2:19 am

    Hello, Dr Moore! I've actually been suffering, as 28-year old, of a bad lower back pain. I workout a whole lot, and my lower back just always feels tense, crack-y, and sore. I do own a massage ball, but I never really used it. I tried your technique, and- Oh, my gosh! Once I was done with my left side, I felt release even down my glute. I was sore as heck, but I did feel an enormous difference. I guess my mistake from the past was just really releasing too quick and getting bored, which really didn't bring relief, not did it fix the problem. This time, one spot took literally over 5 minutes to release, but once I was done- the relief was enourmous!!! I will stick with it!!! Thank you so much!

  22. Master Armedforces

    September 28, 2016 7:10 am

    I was wondering if I can get your opinion on a topic; I have had intermittent issues/pulls with both of my calves over the past 2 to 3 years.
    Example – I will:
    -Pull my calf while making a cut on the tennis court.
    -Stop playing, go home and start icing.
    -Rest for a week or 10 days while doing other exercises which will not affect it, like bicycling.
    Then it will feel fine for 2 – 3 months until I pull it again doing something different.
    So my question is this: I have seen some therapists mention that a calf will not get better until you break up the knot which has formed from scar tissue from the previous/original "pull".
    Is it really that simple? If I effectively breakup the scar tissue knot with massage, can I start anew?
    And if I do effectively break-up that knot, can you recommend the timing of calf stretches in the future? (before or after exercise?, & intensity of stretch). Also, can an ultrasound wand or a TENS machine help at some point? Thanks!

  23. First Klass Health and Wellness, Inc.

    October 4, 2016 5:28 am

    This was really great! How do we do the ones in our neck/shoulders? Mine are terrible!

  24. Lisa nairn Nairn

    October 10, 2016 4:44 pm

    wow I will go buy tennis ball then do it cos over 3 week I had horrible pains back hurting me all nite and want do thing but only doing it little then I had sit cos the pain but silly me I did cry with piss off with pain can't cope with it

  25. Lisa nairn Nairn

    October 10, 2016 4:50 pm

    but I can't bend my knee up I have bad knee too painful so can I still do it not put knee up thank u dr

  26. klikker HUN

    November 12, 2016 8:38 pm

    I think muscle releasing only good for lower the SYMPTOMS but the annual cause is NOT your muscle rather than your spine.

    Muscles go spasm for a reason. Muscle imbalance, spine problems, pinched nerves.

  27. VI7T :

    December 1, 2016 12:53 pm

    I need help. I have lower pain that occasionally shoots down to my knee and leg the pain is always in the spot
    I used to workout my back a lot could my problem be a muscle knot or something much worse

  28. gengar_ate_me

    December 16, 2016 5:57 am

    mine is on the rite side of my lower spine its a little ball I can fill with thumb it feels like it affects my right leg to

  29. Josh C.

    January 20, 2017 11:52 am

    This has helped me so much. As a soldier ive developed chronic back pain. There was nothing on my X rays so the doctor shrugged me off. After I had an injury to my lumbar area, a neglected strain. I was losing most of my core strength. I went back and they referred to a physical therapist. He gave me a lacross ball and told me to roll against the wall on areas that hurt. While doing it at home, I realised I had a ton of knots all around my L5 vertebrae. The technique in this video has helped me so much. After 3 weeks of doing this and stretching I've almsot fully recovered. Hopefully I can combat the chronic pain as well.

  30. AllinTMC

    February 11, 2017 8:49 pm

    i have lower back pain, will that cause a pain in my crouch area under my man parts ( hope im not being too graphic) when i walk i feel pain, as if i have a small hernia.

  31. ANTONIO Martinez

    February 18, 2017 2:27 pm

    Thank you dear Dr Paula for sharing your knowledge and in such a clear and educational way/Antonio/Thailand.

  32. Gracie D

    March 2, 2017 11:26 am

    Wow!!! this is awesome never thought I'd get relief on my own. do you have any tips on plantar pain?

  33. Nedjeljko Gadzo

    March 24, 2017 5:11 am

    Hello Dr. Moore. My legs special vastus lateralis is loaded with trigger points (about forty) It hearts so much to lay on the tennis ball. I was rolling over foam roller few years but didnt help. They are so close together like trigger points family. Iwas doing physio therapy too.
    What do you suggested?

  34. jack smith

    April 2, 2017 4:41 pm

    You can use a basket ball for a full body massage.Pump it up or down depending on how deep you want to go.It also works on the back.

  35. Min Pandey

    April 22, 2017 3:27 am

    I can not believe this. I have back pain for almost a year. I went to Dr and the x ray result was like my back is not straight and the distance between two vertebrates is less than normal and pain is because nerves are being pressed between 2 vertebrates. Dr told me to go to physical therapy and make core strong but the pain got worse.
    But i tried this tennis ball for 2-3 days and i am not having pain for 3 days now. Thank you for this technique. I really appreciated. I was like why did not i search before..i would have save time, money and i would not have to suffer almost a year.
    Do you have a technique for knee pain too? I am having knee pain right after back pain 🙁

  36. Cesar Garcia

    August 17, 2017 5:40 am

    Please need answers to some concerns of mine.
    I have been doing this for past 3 days. Is a tender zone a muscle zone that when pressed upon with fi ger begins to ache??? If so this ache of mine stretches from that Main area mentioned in video

    My problem is what part of that stretch should i target with ball since the length is longer than ball?? Also what is MAIN sign that my ball exercising are working in that area?? Will that muscle begin to heal beginning with healthy bruise??

  37. Henry Montano

    October 31, 2017 9:06 am

    If anybody wants to Sleep like a baby – [Check Details Here==> ] one of the most powerful effects of the program is giving you back a good night's sleep. When your body is better aligned, less discomfort means better sleep for your body to rejuvenate, so you feel fresher, stronger and full of energy.

  38. ruzickaw

    April 2, 2018 2:28 am

    more talking than exercise. Did you ever check how many videos there are showing the same stuff?

  39. Heaven Su

    October 9, 2018 11:32 pm

    Found this video trying to prove my suspicion about the tennis ball release! I had always used it for my shoulder blades due to serving too Hard in tennis. Now I’m pregnant and I’m experience round ligament pain right in my lower back. I discovered a knot there, and I was trying to see if this was actually a thing or if I was just resourceful! Glad I came across this!


    November 25, 2018 8:32 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been in such pain especially when lying down flat and using this has relieved most of the tension. Great advice for not releasing the ball until the pain has subsided and this is what made all the difference for me.

  41. Young Suit

    May 10, 2019 8:11 pm

    I've been trying this for so long, but I always end up just having a hard knot hitting against the ball, but no release in the muscle. It's like a rock hitting a rock.

  42. kaseas lasa

    July 27, 2019 4:35 pm

    This back pain guideline is a treasure, search for Google "Kenzαnο αyb". It considerably alleviated my severe back pain brought on by a prior injury. .My spasms have ended since I can attain different positions may it be side or back. .


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