Body aches occur with many health conditions, including arthritis and the flu. If the pain lasts more than a few days, is severe, or occurs with other symptoms, you may need medical attention.

Often, rest and home treatment can relieve body aches. However, persistent or severe pain may have an underlying cause that needs medical attention.

A doctor can help you work out a treatment plan to relieve your aches and other associated symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about 17 causes for body aches and pains and other symptoms of each, to help you work out what’s happening.

We often think of stress as a mental health condition, but it can also impact the body on a cellular level.

In times of stress, the body can become more susceptible to infection and inflammation, and it may lead to aches and pains.

Other symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

  • an increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • sweating
  • hyperventilating
  • trembling
  • headache

Get some tips for relieving stress here.

Water is an essential ingredient for the body’s normal and healthy functioning. Without it, you can become dehydrated, which can lead to muscle cramps.

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dark urine
  • dizziness or disorientation
  • exhaustion
  • extreme thirst

What’s the best way to rehydrate?

Adults aged 18 and over need to sleep at least 7 hours in every 24 hours.

Having too little sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. It can also worsen existing pain symptoms.

Around 25% of your sleep should be the deepest sleep. During this time, the body repairs itself and releases essential hormones, among other functions.

Not getting enough quality sleep also increase the risk of various chronic conditions, such as:

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • depression

How much deep, light, and REM sleep do we need, and how can we get enough good quality sleep?

A cold, the flu, COVID-19, and other infections can cause inflammation as your immune system works to remove them. This can cause aches and pains.

Here are some common symptoms of these conditions.

A coldThe fluCOVID-19
stuffy nose
sore throat
slight aches
fever and chills
chest discomfort
fever or chills
muscle or body aches
cough and possibly breathing difficulty
new loss of taste or sense of smell
congestion or runny nose

Cold symptoms are usually milder than those of flu. The severity and types of COVID-19 symptoms vary widely, but they can become life threatening if a person finds it hard to breathe.

What’s the difference between cold and flu symptoms?

Anemia happens when your body doesn’t have enough properly functioning red blood cells, so your body tissues can’t get enough oxygen.

Some people who live with chronic conditions have anemia of inflammation. Experts believe this may result when a chronic condition affects how the body works, including how it uses iron.

Possible symptoms include:

  • body pain
  • a rapid heart rate
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • weakness and fatigue
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath

What are some signs of iron deficiency anemia?

Hypocalcemia, or a low blood calcium level, can happen when you don’t have enough calcium in your diet and vitamin D (calciferol) in your body from sunshine or your diet.

Your bones and muscles need calcium and vitamin D to stay healthy.

Low vitamin D levels can lead to:

  • bone pain and unusual bone shape in children and teens
  • muscle pain and weakness
  • muscle cramps

How can I get more vitamin D?

Mononucleosis, mono, or “kissing disease” is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

It’s very contagious, and symptoms include head and body aches.

Other symptoms are:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • a sore throat
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • an enlarged liver, spleen, or both
  • a rash

What treatments can you use for mono?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can affect your whole body.

It can cause chest and muscle pain, as well as:

  • a cough, which may be dry or produce green, yellow, or blood-tinged mucus
  • headache
  • fever and chills
  • breathing difficulty
  • fatigue
  • low appetite
  • confusion
  • nausea and vomiting, especially in children

Can home remedies support medical treatment for pneumonia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition where your entire body feels exhausted, achy, and sensitive.

Why is happens is unclear, but older age and having lupus or rheumatoid arthritis seem to increase the risk.

Symptoms include:

  • pain and stiffness throughout the body
  • fatigue
  • depression and anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • difficulty thinking, focusing, and remembering
  • headaches and migraine

Fibromyalgia diet: Can it help?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), can cause you to feel exhausted and weak, no matter how much rest or sleep you get.

Possible causes include previous infection with the EBV or other viruses, genetic factors, and changes in the immune system.

Symptoms of CFS include:

  • aches in the muscles and joints throughout your body
  • fatigue that does not improve with rest
  • a general feeling of being unwell
  • headaches
  • sleep disturbances and daytime drowsiness
  • difficulty thinking and remembering

Get some diet hacks to reduce chronic fatigue

Arthritis happens when your joints become inflamed. There are different types of arthritis, and symptoms can vary, but they all include joint pain.

Examples include:

  • osteoarthritis, which happens when the cartilage around your joints breaks down
  • autoimmune conditions that wear away the lining around your joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • gout, when a buildup of uric acid crystals causes pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • psoriatic arthritis, which can occur with psoriasis and often involves swelling in the fingers

Other symptoms of arthritis include:

  • stiffness in your joints
  • swelling, warmth, or redness around the joint
  • not being able to move a joint all the way

Can Ayurvedic treatment help with arthritis?

Lupus, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), happens when your immune system attacks the tissues around your body, including blood vessels, organs, and joints.

The damage and inflammation that can lead to pain in the joints due to arthritis.

Other symptoms include:

  • skin lesions and rashes
  • anemia
  • headache
  • heart, lung, and kidney problems
  • ear and eye problems

What are some diet tips for lupus?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads through tick bites.

Symptoms develop in stages and include:

  • a rash
  • muscle pain
  • eye pain
  • joint pain, especially in the knee, ankle, and wrist joints
  • facial palsy, or weakness in the facial muscles

Without treatment, Lyme disease can lead to neuromuscular and joint conditions, such as arthritis and facial paralysis. It can also cause heart problems.

What is the Lyme disease antibody test?

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection caused by airborne spores from the soil or the droppings of bats or birds, especially in river valleys.

Possible symptoms include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • chills and fever
  • chest pain
  • joint pain, in some cases
  • headaches
  • coughing

How can histoplasmosis affect the eyes?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects the nervous system. It causes the myelin coverings around nerves to break down because of constant inflammation. As a result, the nerves cannot transmit messages effectively.

As a result, a person with MS will experience body aches and pain.

They may also experience:

  • vision changes
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • tingling
  • trouble walking or staying balanced
  • trouble remembering or thinking

What are the treatments for MS?

Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection. It happens when an infection in the lungs, skin, or elsewhere triggers an immune reaction throughout the body. It is a life-threatening emergency.

The symptoms of sepsis include:

  • severe pain
  • a rapid heart rate or weak pulse
  • confusion
  • fever or chills
  • difficulty breathing
  • clammy skin

Anyone with these symptoms needs urgent medical treatment, especially if they have a weakened immune system or already have an infection. It can quickly lead to septic shock, which can be fatal.

Cancer can cause general body pain if it spreads throughout the body or if a person has bone cancer. As late-stage cancer progresses, the pain will increase, and the person will need strong pain relief medication.

Depending on where cancer has spread, other late-stage symptoms may include:

  • bone pain and fractures if cancer is in the bones
  • shortness of breath, if cancer is in the lungs
  • headaches and dizziness if cancer has reached the brain
  • abdominal swelling and jaundice, which give a yellow tinge to the eyes, if cancer has spread to the liver

Some cancer treatments can also cause bone pain.

Anyone with cancer or a previous diagnosis of cancer should speak with a doctor if they notice an onset of general pain or bone pain.

What are the stages of cancer?

Why do I have joint pain in the morning?

Joint pain and stiffness that is present when you wake up and lasts 30 minutes or longer may be a sign of RA. RA usually affects more than one joint, and it occurs in corresponding joints on both sides of the body, for instance, both knees.

What does it mean when you have body aches but no fever?

Body aches often happen with an infection, and you may also have a fever and chills. However, they also can occur without a fever, for instance, if you have been exercising more than usual, if you are not sleeping well, or if you are lacking nutrients, such as vitamin D or calcium.

How do you stop body aches?

This will depend on the cause. If it is due to exercise, you will have to wait until they resolve. Some underlying conditions, such as a cold or the flu, respond to rest and home treatment. Other causes will need medical attention. In the case of sepsis, the person will need immediate help.

Does COVID-19 start with body aches?

COVID-19 can cause body or muscle aches. However, the symptoms that appear first can vary from person to person.

What illness starts with body aches?

You may have body aches with the flu, COVID-19, or another illness like mononucleosis or pneumonia. Some people may also experience slight aches with the common cold.

Seek emergency medication attention if you have body pain with the following symptoms:

  • trouble breathing
  • trouble eating or drinking
  • a high fever
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • extreme fatigue or exhaustion
  • a bad cough that doesn’t go away after a few days

If other, milder symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, see your doctor. They can examine you for a possible underlying condition. They will then work with you on a treatment plan to reduce the pain and treat the cause.

If you don’t already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Body aches and pains can happen for many reasons, ranging from stress to sepsis. Many of these causes are not serious and will resolve without treatment, but some may need urgent medical treatment.

If so, a doctor will consider the aches and pains along with other symptoms and carry out various tests before making a diagnosis.

Read this article in Spanish.