Why does my body ache?
Body aches can be a symptom of many different conditions.
Some aching may be a common part of the aging process and may be normal to experience after activity or during sickness. Persistent pain may be a sign of another condition and should be treated by a doctor.
Symptoms of body aches
Symptoms of body aches may vary depending on the condition. There are different types of body aches and pains that might occur at different times for different reasons. Some common symptoms include:
- Joint stiffness
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches
- Muscle cramps
- Dull aching
- Sharp pain
- Throbbing pain
- Widespread aching across the body
- Muscle pain that feels like an overworked muscle
Your pain may come and go, or it may be a chronic problem.
Sometimes body aches may accompany other symptoms, including:
Causes of body aches
Who can get body aches
Anyone can develop body aches, especially if you’ve been exercising or doing repetitive physical activities. These can include lifting or standing or sitting for long periods of time at your workplace.
People who have a joint disease like osteoarthritis may regularly experience body aches. Older people may experience more body aches as bones and joints wear down with age.
People with an autoimmune disease may also experience body aches as a symptom of their disease. Autoimmune diseases are inflammatory. This inflammation can cause pain in your joints and muscles.
Diagnosis for body aches
If your body aches are a chronic condition, only a licensed healthcare professional can diagnose the medical reason for them. Treating this underlying condition is probably the best way to get your body to stop aching.
If your occasional body aches are not accompanied by the symptoms of other conditions, they might just mean that you need to stretch your muscles or rest. They could also be part of a flu virus that will pass on its own in a few days.
If your body aches become more intense, or persist, your doctor may want to do a physical exam. They may look for redness, swelling, or bruising.
Your doctor may also want to do some imaging tests like an x-ray of the area to check for injuries like a bone fracture, a torn muscle, or a joint disease like osteoarthritis.
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Treatments to stop body aching
Body aches can usually be treated at home with self-care practices, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, and lifestyle adjustments.
You can use over-the-counter medications as a treatment for your body aches. These may include:
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Pain relief creams
- Heat or ice wraps
Your doctor may prescribe medications to relieve symptoms if your pain becomes severe and persistent. Prescribed medicines might also be necessary to treat a chronic condition like fibromyalgia or a joint disease caused by infection. These may include:
- Pain relieving medications
- Anti-inflammatory medications
There are many things you can do at home to stop your body aches. These body aches treatment remedies include:
- Hot bath or hot tub relaxation
- Epsom salt baths
- Switching between hot packs and ice packs
- Stretching stiff and sore muscles
- Drinking fluids
- Gentle yoga
- Tai chi
- Wearing a brace or tensor wrap
- Getting extra sleep
- Mindfulness techniques
- Relaxation techniques
- Strength exercises
- Weight loss if you’re overweight
Body aches often go away on their own, especially with rest, sleep, good hydration, gentle exercise and stretching.
However, there may be other alternative therapies that can help you to better manage your pain. These include:
- Chiropractic therapy
- Massage therapy
- Acupuncture therapy
- Biofeedback therapy
- Physical therapy
Complications of Body Aches
Pain is a message your body sends that something might be wrong. If your pain is persistent, becomes more intense, or accompanies other symptoms, you may have developed a joint or autoimmune disease or other condition.
It’s important to speak to your doctor about your body aches for treatment.
People who live with fibromyalgia may experience problems with memory and getting enough sleep. They may also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to find medical care that works for you.
You should see your doctor if you experience bone pain with other symptoms or conditions like:
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Arthritis Foundation: “Vitamins and Supplements for Arthritis.”
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National Health Service: “Fibromyalgia.”
National Health Service: “Flu.”
Tyneside Integrated Musculoskeletal Service: “Chronic or Persistent Musculoskeletal Pain.”
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