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Muscle Stiffness

Every Fact You Need to Know About Muscle Stiffness

Muscle stiffness occurs when muscles are contracted and challenging to move, often following a period of rest. Other possible adverse effects include muscle pain, cramping, and discomfort. Even when you are not moving, your muscles remain tight if you have one of these symptoms.

Muscle stiffness typically decreases with time, especially when you do stretching and exercise regularly. In some cases, muscle stiffness might signify something more serious, especially if other symptoms are present.

What Are the Causes of Muscle Stiffness?

Several conditions can cause muscle stiffness. Some of these conditions may be harmless, but others may be serious. 

When muscle stiffness occurs in just one area, it may be a result of muscle strain, pulled muscle, or muscle spasm. Muscle strains are overstretching injuries of a muscle or muscle group.

Pulled muscles occur when a muscle is stretched too far and a tendon's strength is torn. A muscle spasm is a short, painful muscle contraction.

However, muscle stiffness in several regions may result from an underlying medical condition, such as a stroke, multiple sclerosis, or diabetes.

Muscle stiffness may also be due to nerve damage and multiple sclerosis. Nerve damage is associated with injuries to your spine, such as a broken back or neck. Multiple sclerosis is a condition in which the brain and spinal cord nerves are damaged.

What Does Muscle Stiffness Feel Like?

Muscle stiffness is a feeling of tightness, soreness, or pain in a muscle or muscle group. Muscle stiffness is often accompanied by pain, ranging from mild to severe. Sometimes, it can even be extremely debilitating. 

Muscle stiffness can cause mild to severe pain. The severity of your pain can range from mild to extremely debilitating.

Pain that is only present when you reach or stretch your arms or legs is likely a sign of a strained muscle, while pain that occurs 24 hours a day is a more severe symptom that requires medical attention.

How to Get Rid of Muscle Stiffness?

Muscle stiffness often lessens with time, especially when the underlying cause is treated. Stretching and exercise may benefit people with muscle stiffness. 

When Should I See a Doctor?

If muscle stiffness persists for more than a month, you should seek medical care. An evaluation may be necessary to determine if you have a severe medical condition, such as multiple sclerosis or a stroke.

When muscle stiffness occurs in people with multiple sclerosis, it is a sign of a flare-up. When this happens, you should see your doctor right away.

How Is Muscle Stiffness Diagnosed?

Muscle stiffness is usually diagnosed by a physical exam, either by a primary care physician or a neurologist. The doctor will check to see if any areas are painful or swollen during the exam. The doctor will also take your medical history and perform a neurological exam.

If your doctor suspects you have a severe condition, such as multiple sclerosis, they may order additional tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a lumbar puncture.


Muscle stiffness can be caused by a range of conditions, from something as simple as overstretching to something more serious like a stroke. Although regular exercise and stretching

are not cures for muscle stiffness, they can be a practical addition to your treatment plan. Massages are also helpful for easing muscle stiffness.

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