What causes muscle pain? 77 possible conditions

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What Is Muscle Pain?

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.

Not all muscle pain is related to injury or strain. There are also several medical conditions that cause muscle pain, including fibromyalgia, infections like the flu or Lyme disease, and lupus.

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.

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See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Sprains & Strains

Sprains and strains are injuries to the body, often resulting from physical activity. These injuries are common and can range from minor to severe, depending on the incident. Most don't require medical attention.

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2

CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder characterized by intense fatigue that cannot be cured with sleep. Mental and physical activities may cause symptoms to worsen. When fatigue cannot be linked to ...

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3

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread, unexplained pain in tender points in muscles and joints, including the head, neck, and sides of hips.

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4

Cold and Flu Overview

Common colds and influenza are contagious infections that affect the respiratory system. Both are airborne illnesses, spread through coughing and sneezing. Shared symptoms include headache, cough, sore throat, and more.

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5

Common Cold Overview

The common cold is a virus that involves symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose and a headache. Learn the causes, symptoms and treatments for the common cold now!

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6

Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It is typically transmitted through the bite of a mosquito infected with Anopheles. Nausea, chills, fever, and diarrhea are common symptoms.

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7

Dermatomyositis

Dermatomyositis is a rare inflammatory disease that can occur when muscles become inflamed. The most apparent symptom is a rash on the face, nails, elbows, or chest that is red or violet.

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8

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease and the most common type of lupus. One of its common symptoms is a rash on the cheeks and nose called a "butterfly rash."

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9

Swine Flu

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, is a highly contagious virus with symptoms similar to common influenza types. It spreads quickly from person to person, and can linger on tables and surface areas.

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10

Rheumatoid Arthritis Overview

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, a disease in which the immune system mistakes the body's own cells for invaders. In RA, the immune system attacks the synovia, the membranes lining the joints.

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11

Hyperparathyroidism

In hyperparathyroidism, the parathyroid glands make too much of their hormone. It affects a number of body systems and can cause skin changes, including brittle nails and itching.

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12

AIDS

There are many symptoms of the autoimmune disease HIV/AIDS, including persistent skin rashes, night sweats, and mouth sores.

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13

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is swelling and inflammation of the liver. It's usually caused by a viral infection. There are several types of hepatitis, including: A, B, C, D, and E. Symptoms may not occur until liver damage occurs.

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14

Ebola Virus and Disease

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Ebola disease is a rare, often fatal illness. One of its late-stage symptoms is a bleeding rash over the entire body.

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15

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever is a disease that affects much of the tropical region and is caused by one of four dengue viruses. A skin rash between two and five days after the initial fever is a common symptom.

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16

Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body. It is serious and sometimes fatal. Lead can be found in paint, art supplies, and other items. Poisoning may cause severe abdominal pain, seizures, and more.

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17

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Also known as hypoglycemia, low blood sugar can be a dangerous condition. Hypoglycemia is rare in people who are not suffering from diabetes, the chronic disease that affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar...

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18

Temporal Arteritis

Temporal arteritis is a condition in which the temporal arteries, which supply blood to the head and scalp, become inflamed or damaged. Scalp sensitivity or tenderness is a symptom.

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19

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder that causes pain and stiffness in various parts of the body, including the shoulders, neck, arms, thighs, and hips. The cause of this disorder is unknown.

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20

Rhabdomyolysis

Rhabdomyolysis is breakdown of muscle fibers. Muscle breakdown causes the release of myoglobin into the bloodstream. Myoglobin can cause kidney damage. Symptoms include dark urine, muscle weakness, and fatigue. Abou...

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This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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