Patient's Complete Guide to Myalgia

Overview of Myalgia

Muscles are responsible for producing force and motion. They maintain the movement of internal organs, as well as allow mobility of the body. Nearly all movement in the body is the result of muscle contraction. Muscles make up about 40 percent of a person’s body weight.
Muscle pain is an extreme discomfort in the muscles. Since muscle tissue is everywhere, this pain can be felt anywhere. Muscle pain is also called myalgia. Myalgia comes from the Greek word myos (muscle) and algos (pain).
Muscle pain can range from mild to severe. If it is severe it can limit movement greatly. Usually, an injury or trauma can cause muscle pain, or sometimes overuse of the muscles results in muscle aches. Every individual feels muscle pain on varying levels.

Prevalence of Muscle Pain

Almost 60 to 85 percent of the world’s population has faced muscle pain and ache. In Pakistan, 75.8 percent of professionals suffer from musculoskeletal pain.

Signs and Symptoms of Myalgia

Muscle pain is a serious medical condition that can become chronic as well. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Tenderness
  • Ache when touched
  • Inflammation
  • Soreness of muscles
  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Muscles hurting even when resting

Types of Myalgia

Muscle pain can be present in any part of them. Some of the most common types of muscle pain include:

  • Back muscle pain
  • Calf muscle pain
  • Shoulder muscle pain
  • Neck muscle pain
  • Leg muscle pain
  • Thigh muscle pain
  • Arm muscle pain

Causes of Myalgia

Muscle pain can be localized or diffused. There are multiple causes of muscle pain, some of them include:

  • Overuse of muscles
  • Trauma or injury
  • Tension in the muscles
  • Stress
  • Muscle rupture
  • Viral infection such as influenza
  • Medical conditions such as arthritis
  • Muscle cramp
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Sprain
  • Repetitive injuries
  • COVID-19

Risk Factors of Myalgia

It is common particularly in infants, young children, and older adults above the age of 65. Several risk factors are associated with muscle pain include:

  • Being overweight
  • A family history of strain intolerance
  • Certain medical conditions i.e, hypothyroidism
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol

Muscle Pain Complications

Certain complications might occur with muscle pain, although these aren't serious:

  • It can cause fever and chills if it is caused by an infection.
  • It can also cause joint pain or extreme weakness (fatigue).
  • Feeling overly tired and depressed is faced by people with muscle pain.
  • Tenderness, swelling and redness.

Prevention

Here are some of the ways to follow in order to lower the muscle pain happening in the future:

  • Add a warmup and a cooldown whenever you exercise.
  • Stay hydrated especially on the days when you are active
  • Stretch your muscles whenever you indulge in an activity
  • If you work in an environment where you have to sit for longer times, take breaks and stretch.
  • Try yoga and other calming meditation techniques.

Diagnosis

Muscle pain can be chronic and a big indicator of something being wrong with the body.

  • Medical history is taken and a recount of any previous injuries or muscle damage is taken into account.
  • A complete and thorough physical examination is done to find the location of the pain and the severity of stiffness.
  • Blood tests are done to detect inflammation, muscle damage, and any other underlying medical condition.
  • Imaging is done to rule different causes of myalgia.

Treatment of Myalgia | When to Consult a Doctor

If a serious injury or blunt trauma is the cause of muscle pain, surgery may be required. Otherwise, physical therapy is the best and the most common treatment of myalgia.
Medications are also given to counter the pain. They can be muscle relaxants and analgesics or pain relievers. An anti-inflammatory can also be given.

Other treatment methods include:

  • Exercise
  • Rehabilitation
  • Chiropractic care
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Biofeedback techniques

Doctors recommend the PRICE method to treat muscle pain i.e.:

  • Protect and support the affected area
  • Rest and avoid movement to make the injury worse
  • Ice the affected area, to minimize the swelling
  • Compress the area using bandages or elastic compression
  • Elevate the injured part to reduce swelling

*All medications are to be used as prescribed by the doctor.

Muscle Pain can limit the mobility of the body. It is restricting and chronic pain can cause many other conditions. It is important to get treated for every type of muscle pain and not taken lightly.

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