Abdominal rigidity is stiffness of the muscles in the belly area, which can be felt when touched or pressed.
Rigidity of the abdomen
When there is a sore area inside the belly or abdomen, the pain will get worse when a hand presses against muscles of the abdomen.
Your fear or nervousness about being touched (palpated) may cause this symptom, but there should be no pain.
If you have pain when you are touched and you tighten the muscles to "guard" against more pain, it is more likely caused by a physical condition inside your body. The condition may affect one or both sides of your body.
Abdominal rigidity may occur along with:
Abdominal tenderness Nausea
Abscess inside the abdomen Appendicitis
Cholecystitiscaused by gallstones
- Hole that develops through the entire wall of the stomach, small intestine, large bowel, or gallbladder (
- Injury to the abdomen
Review Date: 10/30/2010
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.