Muscle Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Muscle Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Photo source: Getty images

Various infections in the body are manifested by muscle pain. Even with fever, this type of pain is present. It comes with general symptoms, for example, in migraine. It is a symptom of neurological diseases, muscle diseases and other ailments. It commonly occurs after heavy exertion.

Muscle pain, also called myalgia, can be caused by physical overload, or it can be muscle weakness, which is part of the symptoms of the disease. Various diseases exhaust the body in general and manifest in muscle weakness.

There may also be more serious diseases associated with the musculoskeletal system. It is therefore very important to recognize the type and intensity of pain. Equally, it is important to rule out possible external factors. In any case, it is not necessary to be concerned when having muscle pain.

A simple example is muscle and whole body pain with flu. There is also pain in the joints of the hands, feet and therefore the upper and lower limbs.

On hot days, we help ourselves by cooling the environment. However, the consequence can be sore muscles from the air conditioning or after catching a cold with a fan on.

Learn more: 
How does air conditioning affect our health? Can it be harmful?
How to use the air conditioning correctly and so that it does not harm us?

What are the most common causes? 
Is there a serious illness to worry about or is it just a common condition?

Physical exertion

In the case of most muscle pains, it is about their physical and mechanical overload. The terms muscle stiffness/muscle ache/muscle soreness are known to everyone. Pain arises after overloading the muscle and after exertion

And it does so after about 24 hours of loading and subsides usually after 36 hours. This is a pain that is only temporary, it worsens when the affected muscle is overloaded again. It is alleviatedwhen resting, although it is still felt in the background.

Muscle pain is caused by damage that has occurred in the muscle cells. As a result of the micro-damage, cells develop inflammation through which the tissue heals. Research by Schoenfeld and Conteras refutes the claim of lactic acid accumulation. Muscle soreness can also be found under the name delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

It is mostly felt by people who are not used to physical exertion. Trained people have a higher threshold for muscle strain. Muscle soreness after exercise/workout is an example. The pain is in the area according to the exercised and loaded area.

A man is working out, lifting dumbbells, doing squats, exertion, load
Muscle soreness is caused by increased muscle strain. Correct technique and safety are important when working out or doing sports. Source: Getty Images.

For example, with back muscle strain, there will be muscle pain in the back area. With isolated biceps or triceps exercises, there will be pain in the area of the upper limb and the muscle group in question. After squats, there will be pain in the gluteal muscles, lower leg muscles, and leg muscles.

Popular workouts include abdominal crunches, i.e. abs training, that will give you abdominal muscle and lower abdominal muscle ache. However, straining these muscles will not burn any belly fat.

Some exercises and sports activities involve multiple parts. Then muscle pain should be expected to be more widespread throughout the body. This can be the case after swimming, rowing, but also during functional exercise.

It is preferable to become familiar with the exercises and techniques, for example, by using a trainer. Proper breathing is also important. By doing this, you can prevent overloading the rib cage during exercise and avoid, for example, pain in the intercostal muscles.

Muscle cramps are also a great physical exertion. These can be in the form of cramps of individual muscles, but also in the form of generalized cramps, i.e. whole-body cramps. An example of a seizure disorder is epilepsy.

Have you ever felt muscle soreness and pain in your chewing muscles after chewing too much food, chewing gum for too long or laughing too hard? Similarly, it's about overtraining like after a workout.

Neurological cause

back and shoulder muscles
Muscle pain and fatigue due to neurological causes. Source: Getty Images.

Pain and muscle fatigue can be caused by a number of neurological causes. The disability can occur at the level of the neuromuscular disc, the peripheral nerve itself, the nerve root and other parts can be damaged.

Damage arises from various causes, namely after an accident, with degenerative changes, on the basis of diseases. Depending on the severity, other symptoms are also added, such as sensory impairment, paresis (partial paralysis), plegia (complete paralysis, paralysis) and so on.

Poliomyelitis anterior acuta

This Latin name is the disease called acute transmissible poliomyelitis, also called Heine-Medin disease and poliomyelitis. It is caused by the poliovirus. It occurred mainly in the past, but today the situation is different, thanks to immunisation.

It manifests itself differently, depending on the location of the disability. Muscle weakness, pain, fatigue, increase in body temperature, sweating, headache are present. 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

A more serious disease that also manifests itself in muscle soreness is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. It is a neurodegenerative disease, there is a gradual loss of brain and spinal motoneurons and cells of the central nervous system.

The symptom is mainly muscle weakness in the arms and legs. Speech impairment, swallowing disorders and, later, breathing difficulties are present. The disease is incurable, progressive and fatal. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Rheumatic diseases

Muscle pain without a cause?What if this is rheumatism...

Many times rheumatic disease is also behind muscle pain, which affects more joints and bones, but the pain from these tissues also reaches the muscles and it is very easy to associate or confuse them.

Learn more: Rheumatism is harmful to the whole organism and at any age

Carpal tunnel syndrome

It is worse if the muscle soreness is intense at one point or is more prolonged. This may indicate, for example, carpal tunnel syndrome, where there is also wrist stiffness and a tingling sensation, or inflammation of the veins, which is accompanied by reddening of the skin.

In the case of these diseases, it is necessary to seek professional medical help as soon as possible, as permanent damage to the veins, muscles and irreparable damage to the momentum of the affected area can occur.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

It is an autoimmune disease that affects multiple organ systems. It is characterized by the overproduction of autoantibodies to intracellular antigens. 

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Manifestations of this disease include general symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, myalgia and joint pain (arthralgia), elevated body temperature, and fever. It also has skin manifestations called butterfly rash that causesredness develops on the face. Other complaints are based on the area of involvement.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic non-inflammatory syndrome, manifested mainly in the muscles and skeleton, causing pain in the muscles, bones, and joints. It is also manifested by headache, fatigue, sleep disorders, memory, irritable bowel syndrome.

Its prognosis lies in the impact on quality of life. Permanent cure is unlikely. Rehabilitation, pain medication and psychotherapy are used in treatment.

Pregnant woman, abdomen
Hormonal changes, lack of elements, weight gain as causes of cramps. Source: Getty Images.

Muscle pain during pregnancy

During this period, a number of changes occur in the woman's body. There will be cramping pains in the lower extremities in thighs, calves, and legs. They are especially frequent at night. Their cause is not completely clarified.

There are probably more causes: an interplay of hormonal changes, mineral deficiencies, especially magnesium, and weight gain. However, it is important that the gynecologist is informed about cramps in the lower extremities. The right treatment will be suggested and a possible magnesium supplement will be chosen.  

Other diseases

Muscle weakness and pain are also manifested by other diseases. Their cause may not be in the muscle tissue. However, their early diagnosis is important, and therefore one of the symptoms, namely muscle pain, cannot be completely neglected.

In the same way, even with the flu or pneumonia, there can be muscle problems and pain throughout the body with fatigue and muscle weakness. They are manifested by pain, more often by muscle fatigue. This pain is a symptom for various infections. As soon as the primary cause goes away, the pain also goes away.

Muscle pain and weakness can be caused by, for example:

muscles of the body
Muscle pain can have a number of causes. Source: Getty Images.
  • fever
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • migraine
  • epilepsy
  • kidney disease and kidney failure
  • reduced levels of minerals such as potassium, calcium
  • cervicobrachial syndrome, shoulder and upper limb syndrome
  • meningitis
  • tetanus
  • myocarditis
  • infectious mononucleosis
  • Polyradiculoneuritis
  • toxplasmosis
  • Lyme disease
  • rheumatic polymalgia
  • dermatomyositis
  • Brucella melitensis
  • epidemic myalgia, or Bornholm disease
  • Whipple disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • eosinophilia
  • diabetes, neuropathy
  • side effect of certain medications (statins, psychopharmaceuticals, high blood pressure medications, cytostatics)
  • vaccine
  • drugs, often after alcohol and for alcoholism
  • injury, strain, tear, muscle tear, impingement, oppression
  • stress

What Causes Sore Muscles And Constant Muscle Pain?

fshare on Facebook

Interesting resources

  • Balon R, Segraves RT, eds. (2005). Handbook of Sexual Dysfunction. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780824758264.
  • Wylie KR, ed. (2015). ABC of Sexual Health. John Wiley & Sons. p. 75. ISBN 9781118665565.
  • Glueck, CharlesJ; Conrad, Brandon (2013). "Severe vitamin D deficiency, myopathy, and rhabdomyolysis". North American Journal of Medical Sciences5 (8): 494–495. 
  • Shmerling, Robert H (April 25, 2016). "Approach to the patient with myalgia"
The aim of the portal and content is not to replace professional examination. The content is for informational and non-binding purposes only, not advisory. In case of health problems, we recommend seeking professional help, visiting or contacting a doctor or pharmacist.