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MAIN Arrow to Health Health Arrow to Pain Pain Arrow to Muscle Pain Muscle Pain

"Oh, my aching muscles!"

It's the cry that's often heard as a result of spending too much time out in the garden, running to catch the bus, from a sports injury, or even from working around the house.

Why do muscles ache?

Muscle pain, which is also widely referred to as myalgia is a very common type of pain that can be a symptom of any number of health conditions.

If the source of the muscle pain is localized to an area where some trauma or injury has occurred then the cause is usually fairly obvious. However muscle pain without an obvious source, or muscle pain that is not relatively localized, may sometimes be the result of some more serious condition such as disease or infection.

Common causes of muscle pain

also see in Health:
Muscular system
Human Muscular System

Injury, overuse, or stress are the most common causes of muscle pain. Besides physical trauma, leg pain or knee pain for example may arise from simply standing in one location too long. Back pain and shoulder pain are usually a result of physical strain or overexertion.

Sometimes, muscle pain may be a side effect of a prescription medicine, especially statin drugs. The stress brought about by quitting smoking or substance withdrawal can also be the cause of muscle pain. Fever, flu, and even the common cold can cause muscle pain, together with other conditions which adversely affect the immune system.

More serious causes of muscle pain range from lyme disease or sciatica to electrolyte imbalances like too little potassium or calcium that aid in muscle function.

Muscle injury treatment - ice or heat?

Medications such as acetaminophen are usually prescribed following a sports injury or a muscle pull from overexertion. Many pain experts will also recommend a cold compress immediately after a pull or muscle strain to reduce pain and inflammation, followed by warm compresses to bring blood flow to the muscle to aid in healing.

Rest, however, is usually the best medicine for giving the muscles or surrounding joints the time they need to repair themselves. Proper hydration is also important for keeping muscles and joints strong and supple.

Ultimately, muscle pain is a very common symptom but if it is particularly severe or reoccurring, then a visit to the doctor is highly recommended to help correctly diagnose the cause.

More about muscle pain around the Web:

MedlinePlus - Muscle aches
- Good overview of common treatments & causes with detailed information on more serious cases of muscle pain and advice on when to see a doctor, with related illustrations and guide to joint pain.

Muscle pain Symptom Search - Details on over 70 different conditions and diseases related to muscle pain.

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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