Muscle Stiffness

Muscle Stiffness Symptoms and Causes

Muscle stiffness is when the muscles start to feel tight and find it more challenging to move than you usually do after rest. This may result in muscle pains, discomfort, and cramping. This muscle stiffness is different from spasticity and muscle rigidity. With these two symptoms, the muscle will stay stiff even when you are not moving.

Muscle stiffness will be reduced with regular exercises and stretching; you might find some relief and sometimes be a sign of more serious issues, mainly if you have other symptoms.

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Trapezius Muscle Stretch

This physical therapy exercise works best for neck pain treatment. This physical therapy exercise is useful in cases of neck pain and cervical spondylitis. The exercise is effective for stretching the trapezius muscle.


The most common symptom of muscle stiffness is the unending pain you are going through. Even muscle stiffness in the legs is one sign that you must visit a doctor. Some of the other symptoms to look for are:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint Pain
  • Aching and Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain worsening with movements
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Burning sensation in muscles


The common causes of muscle stiffness are exercises, lifting weights, and physical work. Stiffness could be caused when getting out of bed or spending a lot of time sitting in a chair.

Strains and sprains are some common reasons for muscle stiffness. These sprains can cause redness, pain, swelling, and limited movement. Some of the other conditions causing stiff muscles are:

  • Infection
  • An insect sting or bite
  • Injury from extreme cold or heat
  • Medication or anesthesia is used for surgery.

It can quickly treat some symptoms at home with home remedies. But if the sprain or strain is causing significant pain or any added symptoms, then make an appointment with the physiotherapist. Stiff muscles, followed by additional symptoms, are signs of underlying conditions.

When to See Physiotherapist:

If you are unsure of the cause of your muscle stiffness, call your doctor. Call your doctor to diagnose muscle if the muscle stiffness does not disappear or if you experience other symptoms. Make sure to seek that medical attention if you experience muscle stiffness with other symptoms like

  • Fever with neck stiffness
  • Extreme muscle weakness
  • Muscles feel tight
  • Pain, redness, and swelling in areas where you are experiencing muscle stiffness
  • Muscle pain starts after taking the medicines.

These symptoms are a sign that there might be one underlying condition you need to deal with.


Certain conditions can increase the risk of muscle stiffness and pain. Some of those are mentioned below:

  • Arthritis causes some chronic joint inflammation. Most people with arthritis will experience stiffness and joint pains.
  • Fibromyalgia is one chronic illness causing all musculoskeletal pain and fatigue.
  • Tunnel syndrome: These conditions will cause pinched nerves or severe nerve compression, which can be stated as tunnel syndrome.

How to Prevent:

With simple changes and proper muscle stiffness treatment, you can significantly prevent muscle stiffness and need not visit a physiotherapist for help.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Stretch up your muscles
  • Warm up and down before and after exercising
  • Wearing proper footwear while exercising
  • Practicing good posture
  • Wearing warm cloth in cold weather
  • Ensuring that the work and home furniture give you support and comfort
  • Avoid some extended periods of inactivity

Controlling your diet plans:

Staying hydrated and eating a nutritious and varied diet is always essential for a healthy lifestyle. It can further help in reducing the chances of muscle stiffness. Moreover, try to stay hydrated to keep muscle stiffness at bay. A person must drink water daily, and you can try different herbal teas or fruit slices to sparkling water for refreshing drinks.

Some research shows that there remains a link between muscle stiffness and dehydration. So, the person must take breaks between hard work and stay hydrated while exercising.


If muscle stiffness is one symptom of underlying conditions, the patient must directly chat with the doctor for a treatment plan. Doctors might prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce discomfort, pain, and stiffness. Over-the-counter painkillers will work for pain relief, even though sometimes stronger medications are prescribed if needed.

In case the medicine is causing stiffness, the doctor might adjust the dose or even prescribe one alternative painkiller to kill the pain and discomfort. For most muscle stiffness, there are multiple therapeutic sessions in action. These therapies will cover the stiffness of your muscle from the core so that it doesn’t come back to bother you. 

Physiotherapy can benefit from adequate examination, consultation, and muscle and joint stiffness treatment. The physiotherapist will help increase joint range of movement, Expand muscle length, lower pain, and provide self-management techniques.

Stretching exercises:

Stretching is vital for keeping the muscles flexible and preventing stiffness without side effects. To decrease muscle stiffness, you need to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Proper stretching exercises, as therapists mentioned, will check muscle stiffness well. There are separate stretching exercises for the neck and lower back pain.

‍Stretch your right leg on the bench with your toes pointed up while maintaining a straight back and your left foot on the ground. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds if you feel a stretch. If you don't feel a stretch, lean forward from your hips rather than your waist. Stop and hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds when you notice a light stretch.

Related Conditions:

There are some associated conditions to consider regarding muscle stiffness. Physiotherapists can work on some added neurological disorders while treating stiffness or muscle spasms. So, make sure to keep the number of a physiotherapist handy.


1 What condition causes muscle stiffness?

Muscle stiffness is often caused by changes in a workout routine, overusing muscles, or extended periods of inactivity.

A lack of magnesium, which is necessary for muscle flexibility, efficiency of movement, and relaxation, is likely to result in muscle stiffness.

2 How do you relieve muscle stiffness?

Rest, massage and the administration of heat or cold may be effective home remedies for treating muscle stiffness. Muscle tension might be better treated with heat. For inflammation and edema, a cold may be more effective. Heat therapy patches, heating pads, and hot and cold packs are available options.

3 Which fruit is best for muscle pain?

Berries contain Anthocyanins, a substance that reduces inflammation, which is present in strawberries, cherries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries. Berries include various nutrients that assist prevent disease in addition to reducing inflammation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What diseases can cause muscle stiffness?

SPS is one rarely acquainted neurological problem, which is characterized by progressive stiffness in muscle and repeated episodes of painful spasms. Other than that, muscle stiffness is a common phenomenon when your muscle gets to work overtime.

Can you consider muscle stiffness to be bad?

When the muscle starts feeling tight and difficult to move without pain, then you can feel the stiffness. It is mostly accompanied by cramping, pain, and discomfort. With simple therapies, you can get rid of the pain easily.

What vitamins are good for muscle stiffness?

Work on a diet that has vitamin B12, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D to help keep your muscle stiffness at bay.

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