How soon after death does rigor mortis occur?
At the time of death, a condition called "primary flaccidity" occurs. Following this, the muscles stiffen in rigor mortis. All muscles in the body are affected. Starting between two and six hours following death, rigor mortis begins with the eyelids, neck, and jaw.
Livor mortis starts in 20–30 minutes, but is usually not observable by the human eye until two hours after death. The size of the patches increases in the next three to six hours, with maximum lividity occurring between eight and twelve hours after death. The blood pools into the interstitial tissues of the body.
- While rigor mortis sets in eventually, as soon as you die, every muscle in your body relaxes. That includes the sphincters that are in charge of keeping your bladder and bowels on lockdown, says Jorgenson. So if there is anything to expel, it could possibly seep out.
- Once the contracting of all the body's muscles has taken place this state of Rigor - technically referred to as the Rigid Stage - normally lasts anything from eight to twelve hours after which time the body is completely stiff; this fixed state lasts for up to another eighteen hours.
- These four categories of death are: Natural Causes: Quite simply when the body ceases to function of its own accord or if there are mitigating medical factors such as terminal illness, heart disease or the like, which would bring about death - this is generally referred to as death by natural causes.
Updated: 2nd October 2019