What Causes Muscle Pain?
Everyone is at risk of suffering from muscle pain anywhere in the body. Don’t worry, these pains are common and can affect multiple muscles.
Pain can occur in one group of muscles or several, and pain levels can range from mild to debilitating.
Usually, muscle pain is a symptom of one or more causes and even some chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Often other symptoms like tenderness, swelling, fever or redness also occur alongside muscle pain.
Experts from House Call Doctor say when muscle pain occurs, it is often easy to locate the source. This is because in most cases, the pain is a result of:
- Injuring the muscle
- Overusing the muscle
- Tension or stress in one or more locations on the body.
When you feel pain, you usually feel it instantly. Muscles ache up to 12 hours after you’ve exercised but the pain can last for 48 to 72 hours. Don’t worry, your muscles are just repairing themselves. It’s a process called delayed-onset muscle soreness.
What conditions can cause muscle pain?
Though muscle pain can be caused by physical activity or tension, it can also be caused by medical conditions.
These medical conditions can include:
- Infections, such as the flu or bacterial infections
- Thyroid problems, such as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or polymyositis.
Treating the pain
If you’re suffering from muscle pain, you can try:
- Icing the pain to reduce inflammation
- Heating to increase blood flow in the muscles
- Gently stretching or massaging the muscle
- Over-the-counter pain medication including anti-inflammatory drugs.
Muscle soreness is normal. However, it’s important that you don’t do any more serious damage to your muscles.
If you’re not sure if you have a strain or sprain, use the RICER approach:
R – Rest and avoid more physical activity
I – Ice the sore area for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours
C – Compress or wrap the affected area
E – Elevate the injured area
R – Refer to a doctor for assistance and faster recovery.
When to see a doctor?
It’s important that you keep on track with your muscle pain and seek medical assistance if:
- Muscle soreness is lasting longer than a week
- Pain feels like it’s getting worse with more exercise
- The pain prevents you from moving
- If it’s causing you to feel dizzy or short of breath
- If any redness, swelling or warmth appears in the sore muscles.
Preventing muscle soreness
If you suffer from muscle soreness usually caused by physical activity or tension, there are measures to lower your risk of pain. These include:
- Staying hydrated, particularly on the most active days
- Stretching your muscles before and after physical activity
- Doing warm up and cool down exercises before and after physical activity
- Try to keep your physical activity regular, even by walking for just 30 minutes each day
- Stretch regularly during the day, particularly if you work at a desk or somewhere your muscles are strained.
It’s important to make sure you’re regularly stretching and warming up your muscles, otherwise you’re likely to be at an increased risk of developing muscle soreness.