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Other Names:
Muscle Pain, Myalgia, Painful Muscles
Muscle Aches

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Definition

Muscle aches and pains are very common and can involve either one or group of muscles. Muscle pain can also involve the surrounding soft tissues like ligaments, tendons and fascia.

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Causes

  • Tension or stress
  • Muscle fatigue due to overuse
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Polymyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Muscle abscess
  • Influenza (the flu)
  • Lyme disease
  • Malaria
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Polio and post-polio syndrome
  • Imbalances or depletion of electrolytes like potassium or calcium
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Cocaine abuse
  • Medications like statins for lowering cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, simvastatin, and lovastatin); ACE inhibitors for lowering blood pressure (such as enalapril and captopril)

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Implications

Muscle pain is most frequently related to stress, tension, fatigue due overuse, or muscle injury from exercise or physically strenuous work. In these conditions, the pain involves a specific group of muscles and starts during or immediately after the activity, making it very obvious that the particular activity is the reason for pain. One common cause of muscle aches and pains is fibromyalgia, a condition that includes tenderness in your muscles and surrounding soft tissue, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and headaches.

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What You Can Do

  • Rest as much as possible

  • Take over-the counter pain medication like aspirin, tylenol or ibuprofen.

  • Apply ice for the first day or two.

  • Get plenty of sleep

  • Reduce stress by practicing stress management techniques like hypnosis, aromatherapy, meditation and yoga.

  • After that, heat can work wonders to soothe the pain.

  • Gentle massaging of the area is very helpful

  • Stretching exercises are also very helpful.

  • Regular physical exercise like walking, cycling and swimming can help restore proper muscle tone.

  • See a physical therapist to learn stretching, toning, and aerobic exercises to stay pain free.

  • Prevention
    • Stretch before and after exercise to warm up and cool down.
    • Drink lots of fluids before, during, and after exercise especially in hot and humid weather.
    • If you work requires you to be sedentary for most of the day stretch at least every hour

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Muscle Aches