If your body is feeling aches and pains, it is most likely due to an underlying condition. It would be prudent to take note of any other symptoms that are ailing you so that you can determine the best course of action. In a few cases, treatment can be done at home to provide some relief, but worse conditions may require medical assistance to ensure the healing goes smoothly.
Potential Causes of Aching Pain All Over
Physical stress. A common cause of body aches is physical stress. For example, intense rigorous activity like heavy workouts or lifting heavy boxes can be enough to cause injury, especially with improper technique. Even with good technique, one who is inexperienced to such rigorous activity can still get injured so it is important to know your limits.
When the body experiences intense physical stress, small micro-tears in the muscle fibers appear. These tears will be repaired over time, with the muscle growing back bigger and stronger than before – this is the process of muscle growth. During the meantime, though, the body will likely feel very sore, which isn’t an inherently bad thing. Intense soreness, however, could be a sign of rhabdomyolysis.
Infectious diseases. Infectious diseases can cause body aches. Some examples are: mononucleosis, severe cold, and influenza. The aches felt while sick will be more obscure and not apparently originating from any specific body part. You may also experience bouts of fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes (particularly in the neck), and symptoms similar to the flu. A swollen spleen that presses up against your abdomen, causing pain, may be a sign of the development of mononucleosis.
Coming into contact with insects may also lead to body aches. A very common disease that can be contracted from this is Lyme disease, spawning from ticks. When afflicted, it is common to experience fevers or chills, fatigue, headaches, and muscle pains. Be wary of a rash resembling a “bull’s eye” that is slightly elevated and have a diameter of 3 inches. This is most likely the origin of the tick bite that contributed to your sickness.
Colorado tick fever. Similar to the above, the Colorado tick fever can lead to a pathological infection that results in body aches. Most often, this is accompanied with stiff joints, cold sweats, sensitivity to light, nausea, muscle aches, fatigue and rashes throughout the body. These effects will begin to surface roughly 3-6 days following the tick bite. It is common in many cases for these symptoms to regress for three days, only to resurface later with more intensity.
Persistent body aches, i.e. ones that don’t seem to fully heal or continually reoccur can be a sign of fibromyalgia. It could also be due to a similar condition, which is chronic fatigue syndrome. In both cases, onset pain would be felt radiating through the nerves. You may also be prone to extreme fatigue, even after having rested a lengthy period of time.
Likewise, arthritis can be a cause of body aches all over when its effects become widespread. This ailment is felt mostly in the joints, which are likely to swell and feel very uncomfortable. If it is difficult to do tasks such as opening and closing a door due to your joints, or if they feel pain in cold, damp weather then it may be a sign of arthritis.
Steps to Treat Body Aches All Over
If you are sure that you have stressed your body and it is beginning to ache, then it is imperative to allow yourself time to rest. Do not participate in activities that may have aggravated your body in the first place until you have fully recuperated. It would also probably be a good idea to take some anti-inflammatory medicine to lessen any swelling muscles that are causing you discomfort.
An injury such as a sprain may require some sort of support – a brace or sling – to alleviate any pressure off of that area until it can fully heal.
Many infectious diseases are highly viral. Drinking plenty of liquids and getting sufficient rest (~8 hours) can be enough in most cases. If you begin to experience sinus problems, such as sensitivity, irritation, or swelling, take some over-the-counter medications to alleviate the symptoms. A disease like mononucleosis can be transferred by saliva, so if you are worried that you have caught the disease, take a blood test to be sure. If you are sure that you have contracted mono, take great care not to spread the disease to others by sharing drinks, kissing, or any other activities where saliva can be given.
Those who have contracted Colorado tick fever need to get the tick removed as soon as possible. This may require medical assistance in order to stop the infection from getting worse. In many cases, Colorado tick fever is not fatal and does not require any more than some aspirin to rid the feeling of discomfort.
For fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, unfortunately there is currently no cure. Your medical specialist will be able to discern whether you have contracted either condition through some testing. Often, you will be given an exercise routine and some medication that will assist in keeping your symptoms nominal. Though there are no cures, some medications can manage the pain and discomfort so that your condition does not become unbearable.
Photo Credit: Eric Lagae