Muscle pain in the medical world is known as myalgia. This condition can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term). Pain is a condition that has ever been experienced by anyone and can occur anywhere in the body because muscle tissue is almost in all parts of the body. Check out the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, to how to eliminate pain in full below.
Causes of Muscle Pain
The causes of muscle pain vary greatly. Muscle tissue can be damaged as a result of daily activities, injury due to movements (jerking movements, accidents, falls, broken bones, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscles) can also cause pain.
The most common causes of muscle pain are excessive movement, injury, and tension. This cause usually causes acute muscle pain. While chronic muscle pain can be caused by a number of diseases or in response to certain conditions such as trauma or vaccination.
The following are some of the causes of acute muscle pain:
- Injury or overuse: This type of muscle pain is localized and affects only a few muscles and small areas of the body.
- Influenza: Pain is not unusual when the body works to heal itself.
- Lyme Disease: This infectious disease appears with flu-like symptoms, including pain.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies: Limited intake of vitamins and minerals can cause pain, including vitamin D and potassium deficiency.
While the main symptoms of chronic muscle pain, including:
- Fibromyalgia: This condition is characterized by widespread throbbing, pricking or piercing pain.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): The same process that causes inflammation in the joints can also cause pain.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Pain and stiffness and involuntary muscle spasms are common symptoms of MS.
- Depression: This condition can manifest with physical symptoms, such as the appearance of unexplained pain.
When is the Right Time to See a Doctor?
Basically, muscle pain is something that is not life-threatening. In some cases, home care is not enough to overcome the underlying cause. Myalgia can also be a sign that something is wrong in your body.
Therefore, you should visit a doctor when:
- Pain that does not go away after a few days of treatment at home.
- Severe pain that arises for no apparent reason.
- Pain that occurs along with a rash.
- Pain that occurs after a tick bite.
- Accompanied by redness or swelling.
- Pain that occurs immediately after a drug change.
- Pain that occurs with high temperatures.
- Difficulty regulating breathing.
- Stiffness in the neck area.
- Inability to move diseased areas of the body.
- The emergence of water retention or decreased urine volume.
Symptoms of Muscle Pain
Pain itself is the main symptom that can occur. The pain feels like a muscle being pulled. Some other symptoms that may occur include:
- Deep pain in the local area or spread pain.
- Aching or sharp pain.
- Mild or severe pain that can last several minutes or is constant.
- Fever and chills if there is an infection.
- Joint pain associated with muscle pain.
- Difficult to do all daily activities.
Diagnosis of Muscle Pain
The diagnosis of the underlying condition usually looks at the potential causes of muscle pain associated with other diseases, especially if pain is a major complaint. Therefore, testing is directed to find underlying conditions that might trigger the onset of pain.
Some diagnoses include a number of steps, including:
- Medical history is the first step when someone reports pain. This process involves a complete history of injuries, previous illnesses, and medications currently being taken.
- Physical examination looks at the location of pain, evidence of stiffness and weakness, observing gait (how to walk) and posture.
- Blood tests are very helpful in detecting muscle damage, inflammation and to rule out some of the underlying conditions.
- Imaging, including X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can be used to diagnose and rule out various causes of muscle pain.
Special Conditions Testing
Depending on the suspected condition, the doctor can carry out special tests. For example, blood tests are done to identify autoimmune diseases, including searching for specific antibodies and genes. X-rays can determine certain types of arthritis that can cause pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
In addition, nerve conduction studies can also determine whether the nerves that supply muscles function normally, as is the case with myositis — which causes inflammation and degeneration of muscle tissue.
Some muscle conditions, such as fibromyalgia, cannot be easily confirmed by blood tests or imaging. In this case, the doctor will rely on symptoms and rule out other conditions in making a diagnosis.
Muscle Pain Treatment
Physical therapy is the most common way to relieve pain for chronic myalgia. This can increase flexibility in the diseased muscle and by strengthening the surrounding tissue.
In addition to physical therapy, there are medicines that help manage pain. Pain usually responds to both non-prescription and prescription drugs. In addition, pain medications that are injected and anti-inflammatory drugs can be given directly to the painful area to reduce pain.
Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to treat inflammation or pain. Pain medications include ibuprofen, sodium diclofenac, and mefenamic acid.
In patients with pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, pain medications to increase serotonin and norepinephrine levels (neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, pain, and immune system function) can be prescribed in low doses.
Some medicines used to help sleep can be given if pain is very severe, including zolpidem, zopiclone, and ramelteon.
In addition to medical, other ways to relieve muscle pain can also be with home care. This step can be done if the pain is caused by minor injuries, too much exercise, or stress. Ways that can be done are:
- Stop all activities that cause injury, especially the affected area
- Use an ice pack to help relieve pain and reduce swelling. Do this method for 15-20 minutes three times a day.
- Use compression bandages to help reduce swelling.
- If possible, reduce physical activity in the area of pain to minimize inflammation.
See a doctor immediately if the pain makes you difficult to breathe, high fever, stiff neck, rashes, and experiencing severe muscle weakness. Also be aware if there are signs of infection and inflammation, such as swelling and redness of the sore muscles, pain does not go away with medication, and lasts more than 1 week.
Usually the doctor will suggest painkillers to overcome this condition. If the cause is an infection, antibiotics can be given. However, if for other reasons, the drug will be adjusted to the cause.
Prevention of Muscle Pain
If your pain is caused by tension or physical activity, take these steps to reduce the risk of developing muscle pain in the future:
- Warm up and cool down into all training sessions for about 5 minutes.
- Stay hydrated, especially on days when you are active.
- Engage in regular exercise which helps promote optimal muscle tone.
- If you work in an environment where the risk of muscle tension increases, try to stretch your body regularly.
- O’Connell, Krista. 2019. What You Need to Know About Muscle Aches and Pains (Accessed 25 December 2019).
- Barhum, Lana. 2019. An Overview of Myalgia (Accessed 25 December 2019).