Since nearly the entire body has muscle tissue, body aches can be experienced nearly anywhere. Fortunately, according to Mayo Clinic, body aches usually affect a small portion of muscle at one time, but in extreme cases of myalgia it is possible to feel pain throughout the entire body.
What Are the Most Frequent Effects of Body Aches?
Many who experience body aches can usually determine the cause with ease. This is owing to most instances of body aches resulting from stress, intense physical activity, or tension. Some common reasons include:
- Improper form or technique when performing a physically demanding activity, resulting in strain and potential injury
- Overusing the muscle, often during repetitive tasks
- Muscle tension felt in at least a single area of the body, if not more
What Types of Medical Situations Can Result in Muscle Pain?
Even though most body aches come as a result of physical activity, not all of them do. Some medical reasoning for myalgia can include:
- Viruses, like the flu
- Consumption of certain drugs or medications like statins or cocaine
- Dermatomyositis (accompanied by inflammation and rash)
- Polymyositis (accompanied by inflammation and tenderness)
Treating Body Aches at Home
Home treatments can often remedy most body aches. Some procedures you may follow to alleviate many muscle pain include:
- Not using the affected muscles that are experiencing pain
- Ingesting an over-the-counter pain killer like ibuprofen
- Icing the affected area of the body to assist in relieving pain and reduce inflammation
The National Institutes of Health recommends you ice for anywhere from one to three days as soon as possible following the muscle injury. Afterwards, cease icing and apply heat to the affected area after three days.
Some other preventative measures that can alleviate muscle pains that occur due to a various other reasons include:
- Lightly stretching the muscles
- Refraining from participating in strenuous physical activity until the aches fully heal
- Refraining from any weightlifting activity until the aches are healed
- Allowing adequate time to rest your aching body
- Engaging in stress-reducing activities and routines like yoga and meditation to reduce tension
When Body Aches Should Be Treated at a Clinic or Hospital
Thus far, the remedies suggested are for minor muscle pains. Therefore in cases of serious muscle pain, home treatment will not suffice. Myalgia can be an indicator that something more serious is affecting your body.
Immediately visit your doctor for:
- Persistent pain that is not healed after a few days of home remedies
- Severe body aches with no apparent cause
- A rash occurring with muscle pain
- Body aches occurring after a tick bite
- Redness or swelling in the muscles
- Pain felt immediately after taking medications
Below are reasons for a potential medical emergency. Make your way to the hospital immediately, or call an ambulance if you experience any of the below in addition to muscle aches:
- Unusual amounts of water retention or reduction in urine
- Dry mouth/Difficulty swallowing food
- Vomiting or high fever
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the neck
- Extremely fatigued, weak muscles
- Difficulty moving the affected muscles
Advice for Avoiding Sore Muscles
If you think your muscle pain resulted from stress or strenuous physical activity, consider applying these methods to reduce your risk of contracting muscle pains in the future:
- Always stretch your muscles before participating in physical activity and also after
- Include a warm-up and a cool-down component to all strenuous physical activities
- Drink lots of fluids, especially on active days
- Exercise frequently to strengthen muscles and keep them healthy
- If working in a sedentary job, get up and exercise the muscles periodically by stretching or simply moving around
According to the NIH, those who work remain stationary for hours every day should move around and stretch every 60 minutes at minimum to severely reduce the chances of muscle tightness.
Body aches might be caused by something else other than stress or physical activity. In these cases, your doctor should be able to make recommendations on how to best treat any muscle aches.