What could be the cause of worsening symptoms at rest and what should I do?

Symptom Database

Have you ever experienced a worsening of symptoms when you are at rest? It can be a frustrating and concerning experience, leaving you wondering what could be causing this change in your health. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of worsening symptoms at rest and provide valuable insights on what you can do to address them.

Understanding Worsening Symptoms

Before delving into the potential causes, it is important to understand what we mean by “worsening symptoms.” These symptoms refer to a deterioration or intensification of existing health issues when you are at rest. This could include increased pain, difficulty breathing, heightened fatigue, or any other symptom that becomes more pronounced during periods of rest.

Possible Causes of Symptoms Worsening at Rest

1. Inflammation

Inflammation is a common underlying cause of many health conditions. When you are at rest, your body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes may slow down, allowing inflammation to increase. This can lead to a worsening of symptoms. Conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disorders are often associated with inflammation.

2. Poor Circulation

If your symptoms worsen when you are at rest, it could be due to poor circulation. When you are inactive, blood flow may become sluggish, leading to reduced oxygen and nutrient delivery to affected areas. This can result in increased pain, numbness, or tingling sensations.

3. Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety can have a significant impact on our physical well-being. When we are at rest, our minds may wander, and negative thoughts or worries can intensify. This heightened stress response can trigger a worsening of symptoms, particularly in conditions such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, or chronic pain.

4. Medication Side Effects

Some medications can cause side effects that worsen symptoms when you are at rest. It is essential to review your medication list and consult with your healthcare provider if you suspect that your symptoms may be related to a specific medication. They can help determine if an alternative medication or dosage adjustment is necessary.

What Should You Do?

Now that we have explored some potential causes of worsening symptoms at rest, let’s discuss what you can do to address this issue:

1. Keep a Symptom Diary

Tracking your symptoms in a diary can help identify patterns and potential triggers. Note down the date, time, and severity of your symptoms, as well as any activities or factors that may have contributed to their worsening. This information can be valuable when discussing your symptoms with your healthcare provider.

2. Practice Stress Management Techniques

If stress and anxiety are contributing to your worsening symptoms, incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine can be beneficial. This may include deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

3. Stay Active

Regular physical activity can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the appropriate level and type of exercise for your specific condition. Even gentle activities such as walking or swimming can have significant benefits.

4. Review Your Medications

If you suspect that your symptoms may be related to medication side effects, consult with your healthcare provider. They can review your medication list and make any necessary adjustments to minimize the impact on your symptoms.

5. Seek Medical Advice

If your symptoms worsen significantly or persist despite your efforts, it is crucial to seek medical advice. Your healthcare provider can conduct a thorough evaluation, order relevant tests, and provide targeted treatment options based on your specific condition.


Experiencing a worsening of symptoms at rest can be distressing, but it is essential to remember that there are often underlying causes that can be addressed. By understanding the potential triggers and implementing appropriate strategies, you can take control of your health and improve your overall well-being. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance on managing your symptoms.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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