Almost everyone has sore, aching muscles now and then. These can range from mild to excruciating. Often goes away in a few days but sometimes muscle pain can linger for months.
The most common causes of muscle pain are tension, stress, overuse and minor injuries from exercise or physically demanding work. In these situations, the pain tends to involve specific muscles and starts during or just after activity and it is usually obvious which activity is causing the pain. In these situations you should first consider applying ice to the affected area.
If applying ice does not bring relief within a day or two, there can often be an underlying biomechanical problem involving posture and/or joint dysfunction that needs to be addressed if treatment of the affected muscle is to be successful.
Systemic muscle pain, which you feel throughout your body, is different. It’s more often the result of an infection, an illness or a side effect of a medication.
The BackCare Clinic will always offer a Free Assessment of your condition if you are unsure as to its nature or the best course of treatment. You will never be pressured into treatment at the clinic and if possible will be given more the one course of action with a suitable referral where necessary.
Preventing problems occurring in the first place is always the best course of action. By following a few simple guidelines you can minimize the risk of muscle strains.
- Warm up before exercising and, if possible, before heavy manual work and strenuous activities such as gardening.
- Cool down after exercise and stretch well. It should also be possible to do a few simple stretches after heavy manual work or physical activities such as gardening.
- Engage in regular exercise to help promote optimal muscle tone.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids before, during, and after exercise or physical activity. Particularly in hot weather.
- If you work in the same position for most of the day (like sitting at a computer), aim to get up and move, stretch and drink a glass of water every hour.
- Try soaking regularly in a warm bath containing Epsom Salts. A great way to relax muscles.
Occasionally, muscle aches can be a sign that something more serious is wrong with your body.
You should see your doctor for:
- pain that does not go away after a few days of home treatment
- severe muscle pain if you are unsure of the cause
- muscle pain that occurs along with a rash
- muscle pain that occurs after a tick bite
- where it is accompanied by redness or swelling
- pain that occurs soon after a change in the medications you take
If you experience muscle pain with the following you should seek more urgent help from your doctor. If you cannot see your doctor quickly, for any reason, you should seek medical advice from your hospital.
- a sudden onset of water retention and/or a reduction in urine volume
- difficulty swallowing
- vomiting and/or running a fever
- trouble catching your breath
- stiffness in your neck area
- muscles that are weak. You have an inability to move the affected area of the body