Muscle stiffness is caused when the muscles in a certain area of the body contract and become tense. Stiff muscles can happen from a variety of situations. These situations can range from having periods of inactivity to exercising, physical labor or playing sports. If muscles are healthy, stiffness may be caused from an insect bite, an infection, an injury or possibly bleeding in the muscle and various medical conditions.
Muscle stiffness can occur in any area of the body. Any prolonged stiffness should be looked at by a physician to rule out any medical issues that need treated. Muscle stiffness throughout the entire body at one time can be signs of influenza, however, stiffness in the muscles is usually centered around one area of the body at any given time.
Stiff muscles in the neck area can be caused by something as simple as poor sleeping posture or being exposed to cold weather for long periods of time. It can be caused by physical conditions that stem from an injury, whiplash, arthritis or various spinal disorders. Other conditions that cause stiffness in the neck area could be infections such as meningitis or polio.
Stiffness in the back may occur after sleeping all night on a mattress that is either too soft or too hard. It can also stem from an injury or spinal disorder. The joints in a person's body may experience stiffness from an injury or a strain. Stiffness in the joints can also begin as a person ages. Tendinitis, muscle spasms and arthritis cause pain and stiffness in the joints as well.
Experiencing stiffness in the hip area is usually a result of arthritis or a more serious medical condition like Antley-Bixler syndrome or hypophosphatemic rickets. Antley-Bixler Syndrome and arthritis cause stiffness in the knees. An elbow with muscle stiffness can be caused by a sprain or epicondylitis. Adrenoleukodystrophy syndrome, Alexander syndrome, Alpers syndrome and Fahr's syndrome cause stiffness in the legs. These various conditions can also cause stiffness in the arms.