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Rigidity

Rigidity - meaning stiff or inflexible muscles - is one of the main symptoms of Parkinson's, alongside tremor and slowness of movement. Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms.

How can rigidity affect people with Parkinson's?

Rigidity can stop muscles from stretching and relaxing. It can cause:

  • stiff muscles
  • inflexible muscles
  • pain and muscle cramps
  • a fixed, 'mask-like' facial expression

Someone with rigidity may not be able to swing their arms when they walk because their muscles are too tight and stiff.

Some people with Parkinson's have problems turning around, getting out of chairs and turning over in bed.

Rigidity can also make it hard to do things like writing or doing up buttons.

What can help with rigidity?

  • Regular exercise can help to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and mobility
  • Physiotherapy may help with muscle cramps.
  • Speech and language therapy may help with exercises to keep facial muscles flexible. Seeing a therapist soon after diagnosis may make treatment more effective.

What treatment is available for rigidity?

Drug treatments for Parkinson's may help with rigidity.

If you are concerned about rigidity please see your GP, specialist or Parkinson's nurse.