What is Muscle Pain?
Muscle pain is a health condition often associated with tension, muscle overuse, or muscle injury from rigorous sports or strenuous physical activity. Muscle pain tends to involve specific muscles and occurs during or after activity.
Nearly everyone has experienced muscle pain that affects a small area or your entire body, ranging from mild to severe. Muscle pain can indicate the presence of a condition that affects your entire body. For example, flu-like infections and disorders that affect connective tissue throughout the body such as lupus.
Fibromyalgia is also one of the causes of muscle pain, which is a condition that causes pressure pain in the muscles and surrounding soft tissues, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and headaches.
Although most muscle pains resolve on their own in a short time, sometimes muscle pain can last for months. Muscle pain can develop in almost any part of your body, including your neck, back, legs, and even your hands.
If you experience symptoms of prolonged muscle pain, you should consult with an orthopedic surgeon and traumatologist or an orthopedic specialist through Smarter Health.
Causes of Muscle Pain
The most common causes of muscle pain are muscle tension, stress, overexertion, and minor injuries. Muscle pain usually affects only a few muscles or a small part of your body. Meanwhile, systemic muscle pain is more often caused by infection, disease, or side effects of medications.
Causes of muscle pain may include:
- Repetitive strain injury.
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome.
- Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
- Influenza (flu) and other influenza-like viral diseases.
- Intermittent claudication.
- Muscle cramps.
- Myofascial pain syndrome.
- Medicines, especially cholesterol drugs known as statins.
- Lyme disease.
- Polymyalgia rheumatica.
- Polymyositis – an inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness.
- Rheumatoid arthritis–an inflammatory joint disease.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome.
When to See a Doctor for Muscle Pain
Muscle pain is not always harmless. In some cases, home-care treatments may not be effective to address the underlying cause. Myalgia can also indicate that something is wrong with your body.
It is best for you to see an orthopedic surgeon and traumatologist or an orthopedic specialist if you experience:
- High temperature or a fever
- Myalgia, along with redness or swelling.
- Muscle weakness after a tick bite.
- Muscle pain that occurs that occurs after changing medications
- Severe muscle injuries that appear for no apparent reason.
- Muscle pain, along with the appearance of a skin rash
- Persistent pain that does not improve
Seek immediate medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms along with muscle pain:
- Stiff neck area.
- Weak muscles.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Vomiting or fever.
- Difficulty breathing
- Inability to move the affected areas
- Sudden water retention or decreased urine volume.
Symptoms of Muscle Pain
Some people experiencing muscle pain may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Skin rash.
- Bite marks.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Stiffness and weakness in the painful/affected area.
- Signs of infection, such as redness and swelling.
Some symptoms such as very high fever or difficulty breathing require immediate medical attention.
If the cause of muscle pain is tension, injury, or stress, you will usually feel some discomfort in specific areas.
If muscle pain occurs all over the body, it is most likely due to an infection, certain medications, or an underlying disease.
Treatment for Muscle Pain
Mild muscle pain can usually resolve on its own or with the help of home care treatment. Home remedies may be efficent to relieve muscle pain caused by minor injuries, too much exercise, or stress. Symptoms of muscle pain can be relieved with the R.I.C.E method, which goes:
- Rest. Rest the painful area and stop the activity that caused the injury.
- Ice. Use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Apply ice to the area for 15-20 minutes three times a day.
- Compression. Use an elastic compression bandage to help reduce swelling.
- Elevation. If possible, raise your leg to reduce inflammation. Use a small pillow as a foot support.
If you experience occasional muscle pain, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve) to relieve pain.
Be careful when using NSAIDs regularly, as long-term use can interfere with your muscles’ ability to heal naturally.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of any medicines you are taking. Also, avoid some medications if you have ulcers, kidney disease, liver disease, or other conditions.
Treatment Cost for Muscle Pain
Treatment cost for muscle pain treatment varies greatly depending on the type of treatment recommended by the doctor and your choice of hospital.
To calculate the estimated treatment cost for muscle pain at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Muscle Pain
If muscle pain is caused by certain tension or physical activity, consider taking the following measures to lower the risk of recurrence of muscle pain:
- Stay well hydrated, especially during exercise
- Exercise regularly to help tighten your muscles optimally.
- Get up from your chair and stretch if you work at a desk or in an environment that puts you at risk of muscle tension.
- Stretch your muscles before doing physical activity and after exercise.
- Be sure to warm up and cool down before and after your training sessions – each session should done for about 5 minutes.
Home Remedies for Muscle Pain
Treatment for muscle pain at home can be done using the R.I.C.E. method. However, relieving muscle pain may require more than just ice packs or over-the-counter pain relievers. Other helpful home remedies may include:
- Consume over-the-counter muscle pain relievers.
- Stretch sore muscles gently
- Perform activities that relax your body and reduce stress, such as yoga and meditation.
Talk to your doctor if your muscle pain worsens or lasts for more than a few days. Book a consultation with domestic or international orthopedic surgeons and traumatologists or orthopedic specialists through Smarter Health.