What is muscle pain, and what are the causes?
Almost everyone has sore, aching muscles at some point in time. Although most muscle aches go away on their own within a short time, sometimes muscle pain can linger for months.
Overuse is the most common cause of muscle pain with more than a third of adults affected. This type of pain is usually localized, affecting just a specific part of your body such as the lower back. Pain throughout your whole body is more often the result of an infection, an illness or a side effect of a medication.
Typical medical causes of muscle pain
- infections, such as the flu, polio, or bacterial infections
- autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, dermatomyositis, and polymyositis
- use of certain medications or drugs, such as statins, ACE inhibitors, or cocaine
- thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- low potassium
What are the symptoms, and how do they progress?
Muscle pain can occur in any part of the body, including your neck, back, legs, and even your hands. Muscle pain does not have to remain concentrated in one location either. Because there is muscle tissue in nearly every part of the body, aches can occur in any location, and the pain can range from mild to unbearable.
You might experience
- localized or widespread pain that can worsen with movement
- aching or stiffness in a small area or the entire body
- the feeling that your muscles have been pulled or overworked
- fatigue or trouble sleeping
- twitching or burning sensation in your muscles
To diagnose conditions related to muscle pain, your doctor will discuss your medical history and conduct a physical examination in search of possible causes of your pain such as workplace or sports injuries. Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans can help provide more detail.
What are some home remedy solutions?
Often you just need home treatment for muscle pain. Strains or pulls that occur during an activity usually respond well to R.I.C.E. therapy:
- Rest from your normal activities.
- Ice the sore area for 20 minutes several times a day.
- Use a Compression bandage to reduce swelling.
- Elevate your foot to help reduce swelling.
Over-the-counter pain medications also help with pain relief.
Treating Muscle pain at NWA Interventional Pain
If home treatment isn’t working, or you’re feeling chronic pain in your muscles, our pain clinic can help with relief. After a thorough medical history and physical examination, we can prescribe non-narcotic muscle relaxers and pain medicines to help with inflammation and stiffness. We can also help you explore physical therapy options to learn range-of-motion and strengthening exercises to make your muscles more stable.
Trigger points can be a nagging source of chronic pain. Once we identify that area, we can inject it with a mixture of a long-acting corticosteroid and a local anesthetic. While our goal is long-lasting relief after one injection, we can repeat the procedure every three months if necessary.
Since there are important structures such as nerves and blood vessels nearby, it’s important to have the procedure performed at a pain treatment center by a Fellowship Trained Interventional Pain Doctor.
What sort of problems can occur after pain treatment?
All drugs or combination of drugs can have various side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, increased heartbeat, and impaired memory. Talk with your doctor about any changes once drug therapy begins.
Injections do not work for everyone, so you should maintain an open dialogue with the pain control clinic about the progress of your treatment. If your symptoms become more severe, you develop a fever of over 101, or you notice redness or drainage at the injection site, you should call your pain doctor or go to the nearest ER.