Skip to content

Muscle Pain and Stiffness: How to Address and Properly Treat it

It’s pretty normal for everyone to wake up feeling a little achy, stiff, or a little pain from their muscles from time to time. Because this is a common symptom, people try to fix it based on what they believe is the cause. However, there are many causes of muscle pain and stiffness and in order to be free from it (or at least significantly reduce your episodes of stiffness), keep reading. […]What causes muscle stiffness?
Muscle rigidity or its common name, muscle stiffness, is basically the inability of the muscle to relax and movement can be difficult or even painful. This is very common among young to older adults. You use your muscles throughout the day the demand you place on them can affect how they relax. Besides aging, muscle stiffness usually occurs after overuse from exercise or even physical hard work, but it can be caused by other things including but not limited to: 

  • Period of inactivity 
  • Overuse
  • Dehydration
  • Stress 
  • Not sleeping well

Typically, muscle stiffness that is caused by those listed above is very treatable with rest, massage, stretches, and application of heat or cold. Muscle sprains and strains from injuries, however, can have additional symptoms such as swelling/inflammation, bruising, and limited movement. I recommend seeing a physician and physical therapist if you’ve experienced a strain or a sprain for proper and successful recovery.

If your stiffness consistently persists and isn’t going away, I highly recommend seeing a physician as muscle stiffness could be a symptom from a serious underlying disease such as but not limited to:

  • Infection
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Medication side effects 
  • surgery
  • Bug bites 

If that is the case, go see your doctor and see how this can be appropriately addressed before proceeding to any other type of treatment. 

Treatment and Prevention

It is best to know what’s causing your muscle stiffness in order to properly treat it! As stated above, rest, massage, and heat or cold are great at home remedies to treat general muscle stiffness caused by overuse.  

Here are some simple lifestyle change can help prevent getting muscle stiffness:

  • Exercising regularly: your body is meant to move!  Avoid long periods of inactivity. If you’ve been sitting down for a long time, get up a stretch and walk around
  • Stretching: this is so important for keeping your muscles flexible and preventing stiffness
  • Warming up and cooling down: when you exercise, your body needs to warm up so that it doesn’t go into any type of performance cold. And after you work out, you should cool down so that your body can ease back into it’s resting state.
  • Good posture: Why am I bringing this up? Poor posture can cause muscle tightness in your neck and back. Practice good posture! 
  • Well-balanced Diet: Research shows that muscle stiffness is linked to dehydration. Staying hydrated and consuming a healthy diet with a lot of nutrients will reduce the chance of muscle stiffness. 

The best approach for treating muscle pain is through physical therapy. Ask your doctor to refer you for physical therapy if you are experiencing muscle pain and stiffness. Physical therapists are experts in treating the source of pain and muscle stiffness. After a thorough assessment, they can address areas of weakness which causes stress on the body and will treat those areas with exercises to help ease pain and move better.  They will also teach you appropriate stretches and self-management techniques for prevention.

Don’t accept stiffness as part of life, if you do and you don’t do anything about it, it’s likely to worsen and affect your ability to move freely. If you’re experiencing stiffness which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free pain guide. Click here to get your free copy:


Dr. Jack Wong

Next Level Physical Therapy

"We Help People Age 40+ Stay Active, Healthy & Mobile Without Relying On Pain Meds, Injections Or Surgery"

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Privacy Policy: We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will NOT be shared.