SymptomChecker

There are 21 possible causes of muscle rigidity

Viewing 1 - 20 of 21 results

What Is Muscle Rigidity?

Muscle rigidity is a state of continuous firm, tense muscles with marked resistance to passive movement.

Alternative Names

Muscular rigidity, rigidity, rigor.

Synopsis

Muscle rigidity is an alteration of muscle tone in which the muscles are in an involuntary state of continual tension. Muscle rigidity can be a manifestation of neurological damage (basal ganglia diseases) or a side effect of certain medications. Muscle rigidity is the continuous, tonic contraction of the skeletal muscles, often more marked in the flexor muscles than extensors.

Associated Diagnoses

  • Calcium deficiency disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Hypoparathyroidism
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Necrotizing vasculitis
  • Polio
  • Osteomalacia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Tetanus
  • Weils disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Seizures
  • Stiff-person syndrome
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS)
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Contractures
  • Side effect of medications

Diagnosis and Treatment

A thorough evaluation by a physician is indicated for muscle rigidity. The evaluation will determine which muscles are affected. Reflexes, sensation and muscle tone will be assessed. If further investigation is needed, the doctor may order diagnostic studies such as a CT scan, MRI, nerve conduction studies or electromyography as well as laboratory tests (drawing blood). The treatment will depend on the underlying problem and the severity of the symptoms.

Call your provider:

Whenever there is muscle rigidity.

Call 911:

  • Whenever there is chest wall rigidity resulting in difficulty breathing
  • If muscle rigidity is resulting in changes in level of consciousness, including agitation and restlessness

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Possible Causes - Listed in order from the most common to the least.

1

Tetanus

Tetanus is a serious bacterial infection that affects the nervous system and causes muscles to tighten. Commonly called lockjaw, it primarily causes muscle contractions in the jaw and neck. It can be life-threatening.

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2

Epilepsy Overview

Epilepsy is a neurological condition caused by malfunctioning brain cells that result in seizures. There is no cure for this disorder but episodes can become less frequent.

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3

Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder. It first presents with problems of movement. Smooth and coordinated muscle movements of the body are made possible by a substance in the brain calle...

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4

Partial Seizures

A surge in neuron activity causes seizure, resulting in a host of physical symptoms such as muscle contractions, visual disturbances, and blackouts. Partial (focal) seizures affect just one area of the brain.

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5

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of muscle movement and coordination caused by an injury to a child’s brain that occurs before birth or during infancy. It affects the part of the brain that controls body movement. Othe...

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6

Seizures

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Seizures are changes in the brain's electrical activity that cause violent shaking and loss of bodily control. Bruises can result from injuries sustained during a seizure.

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7

Spinal Cord Injury

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

A spinal cord injury, or damage to the spinal cord, is an extremely serious type of physical trauma. It will likely have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life. According to the Nationa...

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8

Low Blood Sodium (Hyponatremia)

Low blood sodium, or hyponatremia, occurs when water and sodium are out of balance in your body. A quick drop in sodium levels can cause weakness, headache, nausea, and muscle cramps.

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9

Necrotizing Vasculitis

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Necrotizing vasculitis is the inflammation of blood vessel walls. It can interrupt blood flow, causing skin, muscle, and blood vessel damage, and death of tissues and organs. Its symptoms can affect the entire body.

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10

Multiple Sclerosis Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS can cause varying symptoms that appear with a wide range of severity, from mild discomfort to complete disability.

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11

Calcium Deficiency Disease (Hypocalcemia)

Calcium is a vital mineral that our body uses to stabilize blood pressure and build strong bones and teeth. Everyone should consume the recommended amount of calcium per day through the food they eat or, i...

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12

Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a hereditary condition in which your brain's nerve cells gradually break down. This affects your physical movements, emotions, and cognitive abilities. There is no cure, but there are ways t...

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13

Guillain-Barre Syndrome

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells of the peripheral nervous system. This leads to weakness, numbness, and tingling, and ca...

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14

Slipped (Herniated) Disk

Your spinal column is made of up 26 bones (vertebrae) that are cushioned by disks. The disks protect the bones by absorbing the shocks from daily activities like walking, lifting, and twisting. Each disk has two parts-...

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15

Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition that occurs when the parathyroid glands in the neck do not produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH). Everyone has four parathyroid glands, located near of behind the thyroid gland...

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16

Arterial Embolism

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

An arterial embolism is a blood clot that has travelled through your arteries and become stuck. This can block or restrict blood flow. Clots generally affect the arms, legs, or feet. An "embolism" is anything tha...

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17

ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is not contagious. It is a degenerative disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. A chronic disorder, it causes a loss of control of voluntary muscles. The nerves controllin...

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18

Polio

Polio (also known as poliomyelitis) is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus that attacks the nervous system. Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group...

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19

Osteomalacia

Osteomalacia is a weakening of the bones due to problems with bone formation or the bone building process. It is not the same as osteoporosis, which is a weakening of living bone that has already been formed and i...

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20

Weils Disease

Weil's disease is a severe form of a bacterial infection known as leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria from the genus Leptospira. In severe cases, such as in Weil's disease, it can lead to organ failur...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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