Muscle pain is a common reaction to injury, intense exercise, or physical labor. Overdoing it at the gym, straining an ankle, or simply slouching at your desk can result in muscle pain ranging from minor to severe. However, the source of most muscle aches and pains is just basic overuse. Muscle overuse is defined as using a muscle too much, too soon after extended use, or too often. Tension due to stress or poor posture can also cause muscle fatigue and pain, particularly in the neck, shoulders, and back.
Avoid pain by exercising regularly to strengthen your muscles, but don’t overestimate your strength or abilities at the gym. Some minor pain after working out is normal, but improper weight lifting or significant overuse can result in serious strains. Treat pain by applying ice within 24 hours to reduce swelling, apply heat to soothe the muscles, and then rest the muscle until the pain has subsided. Warming up and stretching before and after exercise can also protect your muscles from strain.
Most muscle pain will go away on its own and does not require medical attention. However, if you can’t determine the cause of your pain, or if the pain hasn’t improved after three days of home care, talk to your doctor.