Muscle Pain: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention

What is Muscle Aches or Pain?

Muscle aches, also known as myalgia, are one of the common health conditions. Almost all of us face pain and discomfort in our bodies at some point.

As muscle tissues are present throughout your body, you can feel this type of pain anywhere in your body. You also need to know that there is no single reason for muscle pain and aches. Although injury or overuse is most common, there are other possible causes of extreme pain and discomfort. 

This is why, in this article, we have mentioned common causes that can lead to extreme pain. You can also learn about the best treatments and prevention techniques to deal with this problem.

What are the Causes of Muscle Pain?

Here are the most common causes of muscle aches that you need to know.

Stress

It can cause muscle pain along with shaking and headaches. Stress reduces your body’s ability to fight against diseases. Most of the days, people who stay stressed or unwell feel more ache in their body, as their body finds it difficult to fight against infection or inflammation. 

Some symptoms of stress are:

• Headaches

• High blood pressure

• Chest pains

• Shaking

• Increase heart rate or heart palpitations

• Hyperventilating or feeling breathless

You need to learn to leave the things or situations that cause stress. Additionally, try to practice relaxation techniques that can help you deal with this problem. 

Nutritional Deficit

You can experience muscular pains and aches if you do not consume a sufficient amount of essential nutrients. 

Vitamin D ensures the proper functioning of your muscles. Moreover, Vitamin D aids your body in the absorption process of calcium. The deficiency of this vitamin can even lead to hypocalcemia. It is a disorder in which your blood calcium level gets extremely low than its average level. This condition has adverse effects on human organs, bones, and muscles. 

Dehydration

Dehydration can lead to muscle aches. You need to drink at least 2 liters or half a gallon of water daily to help your body function properly. Not to mention, your body quickly starts to shut down if it doesn’t get enough amount of fluids. You may face difficulty in some of the essential functions like digestion and breathing because of dehydration. 

For these reasons, you need to be aware of how much water you are drinking. Try to drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. On harsh sunny days, you need to drink more water, as you will sweat more than usual on these days. 

Sprains and Strains

Sprains, strains, and other types of injuries can cause discomfort and muscle pain. In case of injury, you can notice stiffness and aches in particular parts of the body. Besides that, pulling muscles can also develop soreness in different parts of the body. 

It is important to note that not every strain or sprain needs treatment. You need to take over-the-counter pain relievers, rest, or use hot compressions to reduce the symptoms. But if your injury does not show improvement over time, restricts normal movements, and causes significant pain, it is better to consult a doctor. 

Sleep Deficiencies

Lack of sleep can lead to severe harmful effects on the human body. It can impact both the physical and mental health of humans. Sleep helps your body to relax and recuperate. But if you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t get time to relax, leading to severe muscle aches. 

In addition to it, a lack of quality sleep can also slow down your muscles and make you feel sluggish. It can even impact your ability to think clearly and make it challenging for you to perform everyday tasks. 

High Level of Physical Activity

Too many physical activities and exercises cause soreness and stiffness in your muscles. The following things make you prone to muscle pains and aches during exercises.

• Performing a new exercise

• Not having a habit of doing exercise

• Exercising aggressively or for a more extended period

• Failing to stretch or warm up properly

Diseases, Infections, and Hereditary Conditions

Several health conditions can also lead to muscle pain. The following are some medical issues that can affect your muscles’ functions.

• Arthritis

• Anemia

• Chronic fatigue syndrome

• Lupus

• Fibromyalgia

• Influenza

• Dermatomyositis

• Multiple sclerosis (MS)

• Pneumonia

• mononucleosis

How to Ease Muscle Aches at Home?

Few people know that muscle pains usually respond well to home remedies. Here are some precautions and measures you can take to reduce muscle aches and discomforts due to overuse and injuries.

• Give rest to the area of the body that experiences pains and aches

• Apply ice to the muscles to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain

• Use over-the-counter pain relievers, like ibuprofen (Advil)

Make sure to use ice for at least 1 to 3 days after the sprain or strain. Additionally, apply heat to the muscles that cause pain for more than three days. 

Other things that you can do to get relief from pain and soreness include:

• Gentle stretching of muscles

• Avoiding heavyweight in lifting sessions until the pain goes away

• Staying away from high impact activities until pain resolves 

• Do rest as much as possible

• Perform stress-relieving exercises and activities such as meditation and yoga

Treatments for Muscle Aches and Pains

Several treatments can help you ease muscle pains and aches, including heat rubs and anti-inflammation medicines. 

Massage, gentle exercises, and medicines can also improve mobility when your muscles get stiff and sore. Here are the treatments that your doctor may suggest to you for muscles ache.

Anti-Inflammatory Rubs and Gels

Anti-inflammatory rubs and gels, including ibuprofen, diclofenac, piroxicam, or salicylates, are great to treat inflammation. They reduce pain and inflammation when your body produces an inflammatory reaction in response to an injury. 

However, these gels and rubs can cause side effects like skin irritation and rash. You also need to know that these side effects are rare and don’t appear in every patient. Also, people who are sensitive to aspirin and other types of NSAIDs need to avoid these medicines. 

Heat Rubs

You can resolve muscle stiffness or soreness due to overuse of muscles with heat rubs or rubefacient products. These products allow the blood vessels of the affected area to open, creating a warm feeling. 

But don’t apply heat rubs on any broken skin or near mucous membranes and eyes. Make sure to avoid using them with sealed or occlusive dressings. After using these creams, lotions, ointments, rubs, or gels, wash your hands thoroughly to clean off their residue. 

Acupuncture

It is a method in which experts use thin needles and insert them on certain parts of your body. Acupuncture is the best treatment, as it helps to reduce soreness by impacting pressure on your nerves. Similarly, acupressure is also helpful to elevate muscle pain. In these methods, pressure is applied to your affected muscles to reduce pain and inflammation. 

How to Prevent Muscle Pain?

Although you can’t prevent every type of muscle pain, still, you can avoid certain habits and activities to prevent the problem from developing or getting worse. Additionally, you can easily prevent cramps, strains, and chronic compartment syndrome. 

• Wear shoes with cushion inserts

• For running, choose soft surfaces, such as trails or grass, instead of hard surfaces, such as concrete

• Always warm up before doing exercises

• Stay hydrated, and try to drink electrolyte drinks, which contain magnesium, calcium, and potassium

When to See a Doctor for Muscle Aches?

Most people don’t understand that muscle pains are not always harmless. Yes, it true that in some cases, home treatments can resolve the underlying causes. But muscle aches can also be an indication of a serious health problem. 

You need to consult a health provider, if:

• Pain doesn’t resolve in less than three days after using home remedies and treatment

• You experience chronic muscle aches that occur without any noticeable cause

• Pain occurs with rashes

• You notice a tick bite along with muscle aches

• Myalgia occurs with swelling or redness

• You feel intense pain after the change in medications

• Pain accompanied with high temperature

Here are the symptoms of a medical emergency. You need to rush to the hospital if you notice or experience any of these signs along with muscle ache. 

• Trouble in breathing

• Difficulty in swelling

• Stiffness in your neck

• Muscle weak

• Unable to move the injured or affected part of the body

• Running a fever

• Vomiting

Bottom Line

Muscle pain can be extremely discomforting, and, in some cases, it can impact your mobility. It’s better to prevent any activity and habit that can lead to soreness or aches in your body. Plus, if you experience pain that stays for more than three days and you don’t notice any improvement, it’s time for you to visit a doctor. Make sure to visit a professional health provider so that you can prevent the problem from getting worse.

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