The Board-Certified Doctors of Elite Pain Management can create individualized treatment plans to free you from the grips of pain.
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Overview of Muscle Pain
Pain is a sensory sensation experienced when a nerve sends an impulse from the body to the brain signaling injury or discomfort in a certain area. Myalgia (in medical terms), or muscle pain, and discomfort is not in itself a diagnosis or a disease, but merely an indication of an underlying problem such as injury, a muscle disorder or a systemic problem.
Muscle pain, or ache, can occur in both children and adults. In most cases, mild muscle pain is not something to be concerned about and does not require treatment. It is important to note however, that muscle pain can be associated with a serious underlying illness that requires urgent medical attention.
Muscle pain is a common complaint and most people will experience it at some point in their lives. Myalgia, or muscle pain, usually involves more than one muscle and can extend to involve nearby ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Aching muscles can range from mild to severe and can either resolve quickly or persist for months to even years.
Most often, muscle pain is due to tension, sudden overuse, infections, injury from exercise, stress and physical injuries. In these cases, the pain is usually limited to one muscle group and the pain is more or less localized. If the muscle pain involves most of your muscle groups, in other words ‘systemic’ or widespread, the cause is usually more complicated. There are a number of serious conditions associated with generalized muscle pain such as influenza, malaria and autoimmune conditions. In these cases, muscle pain is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, swelling, and redness.
Causes of Muscle Pain
An injury is the most common cause of muscle pain and the patient usually knows what caused it. Injury-related muscle pain can be accompanied by symptoms such as muscle weakness, bruising, swelling and tenderness. Injury-related muscle pain could result from:
- Blunt force trauma
- Overstretching of a muscle, falls or twists resulting in muscle strain, pulls or tears.
- Repetitive motion injury
- Overuse of a muscle during physical activity
- Poor posture resulting in neck pain and lower back pain
Stress and tension
Psychological or physical stress can cause excessive muscle tension or strain, which can be experienced as headaches, neck pain or back pain.
- Viral infections such as influenza cause generalized muscle pain and are one of the most common symptoms alongside fever, chills, sore throat, cough, headache, fatigue, and a runny or study nose
- Malaria also causes generalized body aches and muscle weakness and are accompanied by fever, sweats, headaches, and nausea.
- Rocky mounted spotted fever
- Lyme disease
- Myositis: a chronic inflammatory condition of the muscle, which results in muscle weakness, aches, pain, and fatigue.
- Lupus: An autoimmune condition that leads to inflamed or damaged muscle, joint and skin, This leads to generalized muscle tenderness in most patients affected by lupus.
- Fibromyalgia: A common medical condition causing generalized muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disorders and sensitivity to touch. Muscle pain can be experienced at different sites.
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Side-effects of drugs
When to seek medical attention for muscle pain:
- You have loss of movement
- Severe muscle pain
- Severe muscle weakness
- Severe bruising or swelling
- Muscle pain after starting a new treatment
- Pain from a back or neck injury
- Fever alongside the muscle pain
- Dark colored urine
- There is a possibility of having a tick bite
- Neck stiffness alongside fever and headache
Home remedies and self-care for muscle pain
The most common treatment for muscle pain, sprain, strains or tears is best treated by the well-known RICE regimen (Usually for the first 48 to 72 hours after which medical
- Rest-Muscle rest for 48 to 72 hours
- Ice- Apply cold pack every 2 to3 hours for 10 to 20 minutes
- Compression- Apply sport elastic bandages to reduce swelling
- Elevation- Elevate the injured body part as much as possible to reduce swelling
Other measures of possible muscle pain relief may include:
- Stretching your muscles
- Avoiding heavy lifting until the pain is resolved
- Proper rest
- Stress-relieving activities such as yoga or meditation
If your homecare options are not working, your doctor can advise physical therapy and medication. Your muscle pain can be due to an underlying medical condition and your doctor would need to treat this.
Regular exercise will help to restore optimal muscle tone. Walking, cycling and swimming are good examples of physical exercises that restore muscle tones. You should consider seeing a trainer who can teach you how to stretch and which exercises are optimal for your body to help you feel good and stay pain-free. It is important to not over-exert yourself and allow yourself to gradually regain fitness and increase exercise amount and intensity.
Simple analgesia such as paracetamol can be used for muscle pain. Other options include anti-inflammatories such as aspirin and ibuprofen, which can reduce the pain and be helpful in reducing the inflammation. Hot and cold packs are an alternative option to ease the pain. A hot bottle can be placed on the affected area when the pain first starts. Cold packs can provide short-term relief and reduce inflammation.
You can prevent muscle pain by:
- Properly stretch your muscles before and after workouts.
- Remember to warm-up and cool down with every workout session
- Drink enough water
- Exercise regularly
Treatment options for muscle pain is best achieved through a combination of injection in conjunction with graded rehabilitative exercise. Individual programs may include a cortisone shot, regenerative medicine, PRP injection, PRP treatment or stem cell therapy which boosts the body’s natural ability to heal.
If your pain does not resolve after a brief period, contact us so that we may help diagnose the problem and treat the underlying cause. Do not let muscle pain persist or else it may become chronic.