A muscle strain, or pulled muscle, occurs when your muscle is overstretched or torn. This usually occurs as a result of fatigue, overuse, or improper use of a muscle. Strains can happen in any muscle, but they’re most common in your lower back, neck, shoulder, and hamstring, which is the muscle behind your thigh.
These strains can cause pain and may limit movement within the affected muscle group. Mild to moderate strains can be successfully treated at home with ice, heat, and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe strains or tears may require medical treatment.
A muscle knot is a painful or tender spot in a muscle. It feels tight and sore, and it often happens in the upper back or legs. They’re not usually harmful, but they can certainly be uncomfortable. In rare cases, muscle knots are a sign of a long-term (or chronic) pain condition.
Chances are, you’ve experienced the tender, achy feeling of a muscle knot at some point in your life. Research has shown that muscle knots may affect up to 85 percent of the population. Muscle knots impair mobility, cause pain, and can reduce a person’s quality of life.