It’s common to experience muscle pains. Everyone has experienced tense muscles after a long day in the office or working out. Because the body has a huge density of muscle tissues, you can feel this kind of discomfort anywhere. But medical practitioners can’t pinpoint the specific causes of muscle pains and aches. Injuries or overextending the body can be the most common causes, but there are other reasons for this pain.
Below is a comprehensive medical guide that will help you deal with muscle aches.
Most Common Causes of Muscle Pain
Most individuals suffering from muscle pain can quickly identify the cause because that can usually result from physical activity, tension, or stress. Other common causes are:
- Not doing cooldowns or warmups
- Injuring your muscles while working out or doing physically exhausting tasks
- Overusing your muscles
- Muscle tension all over the body
Medical Conditions That Cause Pain
Not all muscle aches result from physical activity, tension, or stress. Other medical causes also include:
- Hypokalemia, where the body has low potassium levels
- Thyroid problems like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism
- Using certain pills or medications like cocaine, ACE inhibitors, or statins
- Infections like bacterial infections, polio, or the flu
- Myofascial pain syndrome, which affects the fascia (the muscular connective tissues)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Fibromyalgia, especially if the pain and aches exceed three months
Naturally Easing Muscle Pain at Home
Natural remedies can be a quick relief to muscle aches. Other measures you can take to ease the discomfort resulting from overuse and injuries are:
- Using ice for the affected area, which reduce inflammation and alleviate pain
- Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, like ibuprofen (Advil)
- Not overextending the damaged areas of the body
Bear in mind that you should only use a cold compress a few days after getting sprained or strained, and a hot compress should follow for the rest of the week.
Other natural remedies that can alleviate muscle pain are:
- Doing low-intensity exercises or physical activities, including meditation and yoga, to relieve muscle tension
- Finding the time to rest
- Not doing weight lifting until your tense muscles heal
- Not doing high-intensity exercises until the pain subsides
- Gently massaging the affected areas
When One Should Visit Their Physician
If the pain doesn’t subside or fade away, you should immediately consult your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. You should also immediately set a doctor’s appointment if you experience the following symptoms:
- Weakness in the neck or head
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexpected or extreme muscle pain
- Muscle pain resulting from a new medication
- Localized swelling and redness
- Tick bite
- High fever
- Tense muscles
- Trouble breathing
How Doctors Diagnose Muscle Cramps
While your doctor examines you physically, they’ll have to apply pressure on different areas to check for tenderness. It’s also a part of their routine to check the skin and other surrounding tissues for changes, redness, warmth, or swelling. More specifically, if they think you’re suffering from myofascial pain syndrome, they’ll look for the trigger points.
For suspected fibromyalgia, they’ll examine the tender points.
Your doctor might have to ask for imaging tests if they can’t pinpoint the cause during the physical examination. That can include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a detailed view of your skeleton, tissues, and organs. Doctors will use that to monitor and diagnose a wide array of medical conditions.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan, which allows them to examine growth, your injury, or organs from different angles
Depending on the cause they have in mind, your doctor might have to perform other sets of examinations for a precise diagnosis. One example is when diagnosing compartment syndrome. Your doctor might have to insert a thin tube or needle into the damaged area to locate the pressure points, labeling this as the compartment pressure measurement.
Or they might have to perform a muscle biopsy to find the cause of inflammatory myopathy. If your physician thinks you’re suffering from rhabdomyolysis, they might have to ask for urine myoglobin.
Treatments for Muscle Cramps
Once your doctor confirms the diagnosis, they’ll develop a treatment plan that will ease both the underlying cause and your pain.
Using these natural remedies will help you quickly alleviate pain resulting from contusion, strain, or overuse.
- Rest: Take the time to rest so that the affected muscles will heal. You shouldn’t move the injured areas so that the acute inflammation subsides.
- Ice: Use ice to ease the affected area. You can do that every fifteen minutes or within four to six hours. Doing that after muscle use or an exercise is advisable.
- Compression: Find an elastic bandage or wrap to support the damaged areas.
- Elevation: Elevate the affected areas above the level of your heart.
Your doctor will not only alleviate your discomfort. You’ll often get a prescription that will help ease the underlying problem.
Physical Therapy and Alternative Treatments
Apart from physical therapy, you can try alternative treatments like chiropractic therapy to treat muscle pain. The plan your therapist has developed based on your physical limits is helpful if you’re recovering from chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Your doctor will not usually use surgical procedures for treating muscle pain, except for particular conditions. One example is pyomyositis that requires draining the abscess. Or acute compartment syndrome that requires opening the fascia and skin for ease.
Muscle pain can be a complicated condition, but you can either manage them well or alleviate them with the right treatment plan.
Meta title: Reducing Muscle Soreness: Pain Relief Tips
meta desc: You can find different ways to alleviate muscle pain, but it will be best to consult your doctor if it persists. Don’t let things go out of control before consulting them. Here’s a guide that will give you an overview of the condition.