Muscle pain

Muscle pain woman

Overview of muscle pain

Overstress and strain affect half the population in recent times and give rise to several clinical symptoms. Muscle pain is one of the leading causes of disability around the world at present. Earlier it was believed to be associated with old age. But now, even children and young adults have become victims of muscle pain.

 

What is muscle pain?

Muscle pain armsMuscle pain or “myofascial” pain is a pathological condition in which inflammation of the body’s soft tissues or connective tissues that covers the muscles occurs, causing extreme pain and stiffness.

This pain might affect a single muscle or a group of muscles.

In this condition, a pressure exerted on the sensitive points or trigger points in muscles causes pain at the site of the trigger or at some point remote from the source of pain.

 

What causes muscle pain?

Muscle pain accounts for nearly 60-70% of the middle and lower back pain cases in patients worldwide. To determine the exact cause of muscle pain, the medical history of the patient must be studied thoroughly. Few main causes of muscle pain are listed below-

  • Injured muscle fibers (due to external agents)
  • Carrying excess load
  • Mechanical trauma (might affect the Central Nervous System)
  • Continuous repetitive motions especially during rigorous physical activities (Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome)
  • Complete lack of activity (due to some other existing condition such as broken limbs)
  • Extreme fatigue due to workload or physical exertion (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
  • Limited flow of blood under certain conditions (claudication)
  • Bacterial or Viral infections such as Influenza
  • Diseases of the thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism)
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Defective sleeping positions
  • Abnormalities in muscle metabolism (due to hormonal imbalance or disturbed blood circulation)
  • Emotional stress
  • Few toxic chemicals released by the body such as Cytokines or the ones present in the environment like lead (in industrial areas)
  • Past diseases or surgeries
  • Excess alcohol or tobacco intake which causes disrupted blood flow (due to constricted blood vessels)
  • Poor postures like bending for a long time (due to occupational hazards)
  • Diet deficient in iron and Vitamin D

 

Mechanism of muscle pain

Muscle pains are mainly triggered by activation of sensory receptors called nociceptors. These receptors are sensitive to pain stimuli such as Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) or low tissue pH. The spinal sensory neurons are oversensitized on receiving impulses from the stimulated nociceptors. This induces the pain mechanism in the spot of the trigger or at a remote location.

 

What are the symptoms of muscle pain?

Muscle painMuscle pains are overlooked in the initial stages due to less severity of the symptoms. With slow progress of the disease, the following symptoms are manifested-

  • Stiffness and swelling in different parts of the body
  • Tenderness and numbness in hands and feet
  • Joint pains
  • Chest pain and discomfort
  • Chronic headaches
  • Frequent mood fluctuations
  • Disturbed sleep cycle
  • Anxiety and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain and loss of appetite
  • Dehydrated feeling
  • Digestive disorders
  • Extremely sensitive to the change of temperature
  • Occasional dizziness

 

What are the types of muscle pain?

Muscle pain may be categorized into different types based on the region of occurrence, the cause of occurrence and degree of pain. Based on the region of manifestation, muscle pains may be of four types-

  • Local pain: Local muscle pain and tenderness can be attributed to Transient Receptor Potential (TRP), inflammation of ligaments or joints (Enthesitis). This is usually manifested as the formation of a tight band associated with painful muscular spasm.
  • Projected Pain: It is caused by irritation or lesion formation in a spinal nerve and is usually confined to the territory of the nerve attacked. For example, a shooting pain is perceived down the ulnar side of forearm and hand when the ulnar nerve at the elbow is triggered.
  • Referred pain: The pressure exerted on the peripheral source of pain may reproduce the pain. This is known as “referred pain”. It has a diffusive nature. Misperception of this pain occurs in many cases. For example, one can misinterpret the pain that arises from active TRPs in the muscles of the lower right portion of the abdomen as appendicitis.
  • Central pain: Lesions in Central Nervous System (CNS) or peripheral lesions are responsible for central pain.

According to the nature of pain, muscle pains can be of the following types-

  • Muscle Spasms: It occurs after sudden contraction of a single or a group of muscles. It has three subtypes- Flexor Spasms, Extensor Spasms, Adductor Spasms.
  • Muscle Spasticity: An increase in tendon reflex activity leads to muscle stiffness in this disease. This can inhibit the performance of the skeletal muscles.
  • Muscle stiffness: It causes a delay in muscle relaxation and can gradually cause difficulties in movements of hands and fingers.

There is yet another etiological classification which is discussed below-

  • Muscular Dystrophy: It arises from genetic diseases. It leads to gradual weakness and deterioration of skeletal muscles that take part in voluntary movements.
  • Muscle Dystonia: It causes an abnormal delay in muscle relaxation after tightening or shortening of a muscle during some activity.
  • Fibromyalgia: The main characteristics are, excessive body pain, extreme fatigue, and mental instability.

             

Diagnosis of muscle pain

Simulation of two trigger points can help in the diagnosis of muscle pain. These are-

  • Active trigger point: It is an area of extreme touch sensitivity. It is the region of localized pain.
  • Latent trigger point: It is an inactive zone which can act as a trigger point, causing restricted muscular movement.

 

Treatment & Prevention

Muscle pain womanThe first course of treatment for aching muscles is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation. One can also opt for OTC painkiller medicines such as ibuprofen. If the muscle pain lasts for 1-3 days, use a cold compress. For any muscular pain that lingers for more than 3 days, use heat (heating pads, warm baths etc). If the muscle pain persists for a longer time and doesn’t subside with these home remedies, one should refer to a doctor immediately. Other situations where a doctor should be consulted are:

  • Muscle pain is accompanied by a rash or after a tick bite.
  • There is no clear cause.
  • There is a pain in the muscles after a change in medications.
  • Difficulty in breathing, stiff neck, or unexplained onset of water retention.

You can prevent muscles aches by following these simple guidelines:

  • Always remember to warm-up before exercising or beginning any sporting activity. Similarly, incorporating a cool-down routine after the physical exercise.
  • Drink ample amount of water. Dehydration often causes muscles to cramp.
  • Refrain from following a highly sedentary lifestyle. Include healthy doses of exercise in your daily routine.
  • Maintain the right posture while sitting, sleeping, and standing.
  • Take sufficient rest after physically strenuous exercises.
  • Avoid indulging in activities that require repetitive movements.
  • Instead of sticking to one kind of exercise, including a variety of activities in your fitness routine.

Facts

  • Human body contains more than 600 muscles. Out of these, 200 are involved in walking.
  • These account for 35% – 40% of your body weight.

Facts

  • Muscle pain mainly occurs as a result of an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles which is natural to muscle metabolism.
  • Muscles create about 85% of total body heat.

Facts

  • It takes lesser time to gain muscles than to lose them.
  • Muscular pain is the most important indicator of conditions such as fibromyalgia.

Related Conditions

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Light stretching exercises are good for muscle pain. Do remember to warm-up and cool-down along with your exercising/sports routines.
  • NSAIDs are great for temporary relief.
  • If the muscle pain is a result of vigorous exercise or strength training then juices rich in anti-oxidants such as cherry juice can help recover faster.
Don'ts
  • Follow bad posture while sitting, sleeping, and sleeping.
  • Apply heat/ take hot showers every time you have muscle pain. The heat can worsen the inflammation in many cases. Using cold packs is the better option.

 

 

 

Related Conditions

Trending Topics

hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
50 common health conditions
What are the top 50 deadly and widespread diseases? A complete list of the top 50 most common and deadly diseases that plague humanity. Which disease is…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
low carb foods spinach
Low carb vegetables: A complete list of what to pick from during a keto diet Is your plate of veggies making you fat? Are all vegetables created equal? Research reveals that these low…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
canola oil cooking
Canola oil: How safe is it to consume this popular cooking oil? Extracted from rapeseeds, Canola oil derives its name from Canadian Oil. Did you know that some forms of…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know some of the…
waking up tired
10 reasons why you might be waking up tired Do you feel you are not getting enough sleep? Sleep-deprived and frustrated? Read on discover the real reasons…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
IIFYM diet shopping
If it fits your macros (IIFYM) : A contemporary macro diet regime A diet that lets you eat everything- sounds unbelievable, right? Well, with IIFYM now you neednt restrict your…
Kratom drug banned
Kratom: Why is this distant cousin of coffee banned in numerous countries? The name Kratom has often stirred controversies ; this psychoactive drug is both the cure and potential cause…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
stress adverse effects
Fight, flight, or freeze: 8 ways stress can ruin your body Did you know that stress is in-built in our systems? It helped our ancestors respond to danger. How…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body in ways you…
back pain relief
Don’t choose pain: 10 truths about your back ache (and how to get relief) Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world. Almost 80% of the entire global…
Isagenix diet
Isagenix Diet: Do you really need liquid meal replacements to lose weight? Isagenix Diet - What are liquid meal replacements and why is the world going ga-ga over them? Are…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a healthy mind and…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However, how much fluoride…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
ashwagandha brain
Ashwagandha: The best-kept secret of Ayurveda now revealed! Ashwagandha literally means "smell of horse". Don't get bogged down by that one tiny detail because this ayurveduic…
chia seeds weight loss
Chia seeds: How to consume this staple Aztec food to get a leaner body Chia seeds: What is the actual reason for its sudden popularity? Why are celebrities swearing by its amazing…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can it protect you…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
Whole30 diet fad
Whole30 Diet – Why eliminating certain foods just doesn’t cut it Whole30 Diet: Is this the ‘whole’-y grail of a disease-free body? Read more to find out the truth…
lose pregnancy weight
5 most effective ways you can lose those pregnancy pounds! Are you looking for ways to get back into shape? Scared of crash diets? Don't let your post-pregnancy…
MANUKA HONEY child
Manuka Honey Manuka honey is a specific type of honey produced by honey bees that collect nectar from the flowers…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
iron food shellfish
Iron-Rich Foods: Eat these foods to keep fatigue and anemia away! How to ensure a muscles as strong as iron? Eat iron rich foods ! Iron is one of…
kale
Kale: With more iron than beef, this superfood is the ultimate way to lose weight Checkmate meat-eaters; with kale, vegans now have the ultimate iron-rich superfood as their ally that can protect from…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Ketosis bad breath
Ketosis: A potentially dangerous side effect of the popular keto diet? Ketosis occurs when you have too low carb intake. Though it means rapid fat loss, it could also…
superfoods quinoa probiotics
10 fantastic Superfoods you need to include in your diet from today! What exactly are superfoods and how do they battle diseases? From losing weight to looking ravishing- these superfoods…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
Healthy pregnancy tips
How to have a healthy pregnancy: Essential tips to remember What to expect when growing a life within you? How important are prenatal vitamins anyway? Don't make these…
top 5 deadliest cancers
A sneak peek into the top 5 deadliest cancers and the true nature of their origins Did you know that cancer is the 2nd leading cause of deaths globally? Among the 100s of different…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats to burn fats…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does it harm some…
antibiotic resistance
Antibiotic Resistance: How common diseases become deadly Can a cold kill you? How important is to get a flu shot? Why do antibiotics fail against…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
Creatine: Is this the right peak athletic-performance supplement for you? Creatine is the amino acid that boosts our energy. Did you know creatine supplements can help you reach…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
Nitric oxide: Why is this heart-healthy supplement every sportsman’s first choice? Once considered a vastly toxic substance, nitric oxide is now deemed to be a great health supplement. Find…
gallbladder diet tomato
Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and mind.Can a stroll…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
common mental disorders
Common mental health disorders :The silent stigma surrounding millions More than 300 million sufferers and yet a silent and agonizing stigma; why are people still hush-hush about…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
low carb diet meal
Low carb diet : Go high on fats and low on carbs for a leaner body! Did you know that sugar is the new fat? Going low on carbs and high on fats &…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
boost brain health
The ultimate tips on how to boost your brain health Would you like to be smarter? Want a sharp memory but bored of doing sudoku? Try salsa or…
health benefits coffee
Dark, hot, & steamy: The remarkable health benefits of drinking coffee Coffee does more than just wake you up. One of the most widely consumed beverages in the world,…
matcha tea leaves
Matcha: The unthinkable health benefits of this unique green tea Did you know that a cup of matcha can boost your immunity against toxic diseases? Or that it…
Military diet
Military Diet : Why following a highly restrictive diet is a bad idea Is seiging your calorie intake the right way to attack fats? Read more about Military diet, a highly…
BCAAs powder
BCAA: Now get more out of your workouts with this miracle protein BCAAs are counted as one of the best supplements for increasing your physical endurance. Find out what are…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
CBD oil safe
Cannabidiol benefits: Evaluating the “highs” of CBD Oil The word cannabis paints a picture of addicts. But did you know that CBD oil, extracted from the…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can second-hand smoking kill…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
Serotonin happiness
Serotonin : What you didn’t know about this “feel-good” chemical Serotonin : Did you know that this "feel-good" hormone could well impact your sleep cycle, sex drive, appetite,…