Muscle knots are a lot like traffic jams. Just like a collision between a couple of cars can cause a standstill on a freeway, a couple of muscle fibers tensing up can have a similar effect.
After a bad car crash, emergency vehicles have to make their way through the traffic to come to the rescue; thus blocking lanes and causing a reroute in traffic. The mechanism is the same in your muscles - with the muscle fibers being the cars, immune cells and oxygen being the emergency vehicles, and traffic flow being your blood.
All this to say that once your muscles tense up, it can have a ripple effect. So of course avoiding this in the first place would be the goal.
What is it that causes muscle tension in the first place?
Poor posture: This is probably the biggest contributor to muscle knots. The way you position your body makes a big difference to how it feels. Poor posture puts pressure where its not supposed to be, leading to a collision of dozens of muscle fibers at a time. It’s easy to see the problem.
Lack of movement: Not every car crash closes down the freeway just like not every muscle fiber tensing up causes a muscle knot. That is because it is easy to stretch the tension out, which we can do with movement. It’s similar to two wrecked cars moving over to the shoulder in the right amount of time, causing only limited disruption in the flow of traffic.
Dehydration and poor nutrition: Imagine a car crash of ten cars without any emergency vehicles available to come and clean up the mess. That is your body without proper hydration and nutrition. Drinking enough water ensures your blood volume is optimal, which allows your heart to do the best job possible and keep the flow of traffic moving. Eating well gives your immune system the strength it needs to do its job.
Even the healthiest of individuals still experience muscle knots from time to time. When they do happen, it's important to be kind to your body and give it what it needs. Heat, massage, gentle stretching, and hydration can help release the tension in your muscles and put you back on track.