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"Why are my muscles so stiff?"


All of the muscles on the right side of my body feel stiff. From my shoulder to my toes. Anything that might cause this? I'm starting to worry that I had a mild stroke but I think that's crazy cause I'm only 21.


Muscle stiffness can occur for a variety of reasons. It is not very clear how long this has been affecting you or if it has come gradually or after some events. Most commonly, stiff muscles occur after being in a prolonged position like sleeping on a mattress that is either too hard or too soft.

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Sometimes cold weather can cause muscle stiffness in the neck area if you are exposed to the cold for a long period of time. It can also occur after a sport injury or whiplash. Having a cold or flu can also give your body generalized ache and stiffness. It is not clear why your symptoms are all on one side of your body. However, there are potential causes that your primary care doctor can help you figure out with a more complete history and examination. He or she may ask you a number of questions. Do you get muscle cramps as well as muscle stiffness? Does it occur following repetitive motion? Do they happen all day long or just at certain time (i.e. following exercise)? Are you on a restricted diet or fluid restriction? Do you have any major medical conditions, such as heart or kidney disease? Do you take a diuretic or statin medication? Having a balanced level of electrolytes is important for muscle contraction and relaxation so your doctor may check your blood electrolytes. Additionally, he or she may look to see if you have body asymmetry (i.e. a hip height discrepency). Other muscular disorders (i.e., myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis, and thyroid diseases, etc.) can also cause muscle stiffness so you should follow up with a primary care physician.

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