By Medicover Hospitals / 29 Dec 2020
The pain and aches in the muscles can range from mild to severe. Muscle pain can have causes that are not due to an underlying disease. Examples include exercise, prolonged sitting or lying down, new physical activity for the first time, sprains, or strains.
- What are Muscle or body pains?
- Home Remedies
- When to visit a Doctor?
What are Muscle or body pains?
Muscle or Body aches are frequent. They can result from fatigue or exercise, but they can also be a symptom of an underlying condition. Although body or muscular aches are usually harmless, it helps to understand what causes them and when to see a doctor. Aches can vary in intensity and frequency. A person can describe them as sharp, intermittent pain or as a dull but persistent pain. People can often identify and treat muscle soreness without seeing a doctor. Sometimes, however, they may need medical help.
If the body aches are due to a medical condition, a person may experience other signs as well. Recognizing other signs can help a person identify the cause and decide whether to see a doctor.
Some common signs that occur alongside muscle soreness are:
- Pain within a specific part of the body
- Chills or changes in body temperature
- Cold and flu symptoms
The diagnosis of muscle pain begins with a detailed history and physical examination.
During your appointment with your doctor, your doctor will ask you several questions to try to pinpoint your diagnosis.
Questions may include:
- Did your muscle aches come on gradually or did it start suddenly?
- Have you recently undergone a strenuous activity?
- What medications do you take?
- Do you have any associated symptoms, such as fever, headache, weight gain or loss, or fatigue?
- Do you also have muscle weakness?
- Is the affected muscle tender to touch?
- Do you experience redness, swelling, or heat around the muscle?
- During your physical exam, your doctor may press various muscles to assess sensitivity, as well as inspect the skin and surrounding tissue for any swelling, warmth, redness, or skin changes.
- Specifically, if your doctor suspects myofascial pain syndrome, they will check for potential trigger points. Likewise, if fibromyalgia is suspected, your doctor will examine various tender points.
- Blood tests can be very helpful in diagnosing certain causes of muscle pain.
- For example, an elevated inflammatory marker, such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), will be present in polymyalgia rheumatica.
- With rhabdomyolysis and statin-induced myalgia, your levels of creatine kinase (a muscle enzyme) will be high.
- Other relevant laboratory tests may include the following:
- Rapid influenza test
- Thyroid function tests for thyroid disease
- Anti-citrullinated protein antibody for rheumatoid arthritis
- Levels of Vitamin D, Calcium, and Phosphate for Osteomalacia
During the diagnostic process, your physician may order one or more imaging tests.
Examples of such tests include:
- Computed tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Depending on the condition your doctor suspects, she may need to do other tests to confirm a diagnosis. For example, to diagnose compartment syndrome, your doctor will insert a thin needle or tube into the affected muscle to access its pressure, taking what is called a compartment pressure measurement.
- To diagnose inflammatory myopathy, a muscle biopsy may be done. Finally, urinary myoglobin will be prescribed if rhabdomyolysis is suspected.
A physician will guide treatment for any underlying condition that causes muscle soreness, but a person may also try the following cures to help ease the discomfort:
- Rest:This gives the body time to repair and recover.
- Drink plenty of fluids:Staying hydrated can help relieve muscle aches caused by dehydration.
- Taking over-the-counter (OTC) medications:Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can reduce pain and inflammation.
- Take a hot bath:The heat can help relax muscles and relieve tension in the body.
- Temperature regulation:This can include reducing fever, staying warm, or staying cool to ease chills and prevent muscles from seizing up.
Unless there is an underlying medical condition, bodily pain can be treated at home with simple home remedies.
- Do cold therapy: When you apply ice to the affected part of the body, it slows down the nerve impulse to that area, thus relieving pain. Cold compression is effective in reducing inflammation and pain in the joints, even in patients with arthritis.
- Soak in Hot Salt Solution: We have all soaked our feet in hot salt water after a vigorous workout or a long hike at some point in our lives. It turns out that there is solid science behind it: soaking the feet in saltwater reduces osmosis edema and the heat of the water loosens the knots of tired muscles against sore muscles.
- Mustard Oil Massage: Massaging your body with hot mustard oil can help relieve pain. Studies have shown that the allyl isothiocyanate compound present in mustard oil helps in reducing inflammation in the body.
- Drinking ginger tea: Scientists have compared the action of ginger to ibuprofen. Ginger helps reduce pain and inflammation in the body.
- Drink turmeric and honey milk: The curcumin found in turmeric has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and wound-healing properties that help relieve pain in the body.
- Drinking cherry juice: People with peripheral neuropathy often experience pain in their hands and feet. Studies have shown that cherry juice contains anthocyanin pigments, which help treat pain in the hands and feet.
When to see a Doctor?
A person should see a physician if they experience:
Other signs that may accompany muscle aches may require emergency medical attention. These include:
- persistent pain that does not improve with home remedies
- severe pain, especially if there is no visible cause
- a person has pain or pain that occurs with a rash
- aches and pains after a tick bite
- Swelling of face
- muscle aches or pains accompanied by severe redness or swelling
- body aches caused by a particular medication
- persistent fever
The doctor can help diagnose the cause of the muscle aches and determine if treatment is needed.
If a person experiences body aches for over 2 weeks and does not know what is causing it, they should see a doctor whether other signs appear or not.
- severe water retention
- difficulty swallowing, eating or drinking
- shortness of breath
- vomiting, especially with a high temperature or fever
- a stiff neck
- vision changes
- extreme exhaustion that does not go away
- light sensitivity
- weak muscles or inability to move part of the body
- fainting or loss of consciousness
- a seizure
Frequently Asked Questions:
Muscle pain that affects a small part of your body is usually caused by overuse, for example, arm pain from lifting boxes all day, Or it could be a minor injury, like a bruised shoulder after a fall. But when your whole body hurts, it is more likely to be caused by an infection, illness, or medicine you've taken.
Muscle pain is a side effect of stress placed on your muscles when you exercise. It's commonly called late-onset muscle pain, or Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it's completely normal. DOMS begins within 6 to 8 hours of a new activity or change in activity and can last up to 24 to 48 hours after exercise.
Here are some foods and drinks that help to reduce sore muscles or body aches:
Beetroot. Drinking 250 ml of beet juice immediately after an intense workout can reduce muscle pain.
People can feel hot without a fever for many reasons. Some causes may be temporary and simple to identify, like eating spicy foods, a humid environment, or stress and anxiety.
Cold and flu are viral infections that cause body aches. These viral infections attack your body and your immune system tries to fight them. Pain, especially in the throat, chest, and lungs, can be painful. The rest of your body may hurt, too, as your body works hard to fight the infection.