Myalgia is a receptor-based disorder of the muscular system. Muscle pain can be characterized and classified in many ways. The pain may affect one muscle, a muscle group or all muscles, and may occur periodically or chronically. In the case of myalgia, we are dealing with different origins of pain. Pain in the muscles may be caused by dysfunction or injury not only of the muscle itself, but also of surrounding structures, e.g. nerves, and inflammation, which is related to the course of systemic diseases.
Muscle pain – a symptom that cannot be underestimated
Pain in itself is not a disease, but a symptom of a disease that appears in the course of, among others: systemic diseases and viral and bacterial infections, and may also be associated with mechanical trauma. Muscle pain varies in nature and intensity. Many patients experience more than just muscle pain. In the course of various diseases, musculoskeletal pain occurs, as well as muscle spasms and other unpleasant sensations, e.g. tingling, numbness and burning muscles, which may indicate diseases of the nervous system.
People who lead a sedentary lifestyle, even after minor physical exercise, may experience muscle pain, which is commonly referred to as soreness. In this case, the symptoms go away on their own and do not require specialized treatment. Muscle pain associated with sore muscles is caused by high levels of lactates and lactic acid in the muscles.
Muscle pain that lasts for a long time may indicate serious diseases and disorders in the functioning of the body. Any muscle pain that lasts longer than a few days should be consulted with a doctor. It is worth knowing that muscle pain associated with injury and muscle pain in the course of diseases are slightly different. In the case of muscle injury (e.g. due to physical activity or a fall), pain is limited to one muscle or a small muscle group (e.g. abdominal muscles, arm muscles, thigh muscles, back muscles) and the surrounding structures of the musculoskeletal system, i.e. tendons, ligaments and joints. In the course of diseases of various origins, e.g. viral infection or systemic disease, systemic muscle pain occurs.
Muscle pain can be classified based on various criteria, including: course of the disease (e.g. acute muscle pain, chronic muscle pain), causes of pain (e.g. muscle pain associated with injury, muscle pain associated with inflammation), severity of pain (e.g. muscle pain of mild, moderate or severe intensity) and associated symptoms (e.g. muscle and joint pain, muscle pain accompanied by muscle cramps, muscle pain accompanied by muscle weakness).
If muscle pain is accompanied by general symptoms, e.g. increased body temperature, malaise, weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle tingling, muscle numbness, limb paresis, joint stiffness, change in skin color, warming or cooling of the skin, painful cramps, and other , disturbing symptoms, you cannot delay a visit to the doctor, because the body may develop a disease that requires specialized treatment.
Causes of muscle pain
There are many causes of muscle pain, but it is not possible to determine what causes it in every patient. The most common causes of muscle pain include:
excessive physical exertion,
adopting incorrect posture during work, activity and relaxation,
injuries, overloads and muscle strain,
viral infections and bacterial infections,
Diseases that cause muscle pain include:
rheumatoid arthritis (RA),
restless legs syndrome,
some parasitic diseases ,
systemic lupus erythematosus,
multiple sclerosis (MS),
Muscle pain during colds and flu
Muscle and joint pain accompanied by general malaise, a feeling of disarray, fatigue, chills, increased body temperature, runny nose, sore throat or scratchy throat, and cough may indicate the onset of a cold or flu. In the case of a cold, musculoskeletal pain does not interfere with normal functioning. Meanwhile, in the case of flu, the pain may be moderate or severe, which makes normal functioning difficult.
Muscle pain caused by colds and flu goes away after a few days. In order to alleviate it, it is recommended to limit activity – rest accelerates the body’s regeneration and helps the immune system fight the infection more quickly.
Muscle pain in the neck, nape and shoulder girdle
Pain in the muscles of the neck, nape and shoulder girdle is often related to overload of the cervical spine, e.g. working in a forced position, sleeping on an improperly fitting mattress or pillow, posture defects, tilting the head over the smartphone screen (the so-called smartphone neck is one of the biggest “pains ” ” of the 21st century ), and reading books and watching TV in an uncomfortable position.
Pain in the muscles of the neck, neck and shoulder girdle may be accompanied by headache, dizziness and symptoms typical of migraine with aura, such as tinnitus, nausea, visual disturbances and spots before the eyes.
Muscle pain in the upper limbs
Pain in the muscles of the upper limbs is most often associated with their overload as a result of physical work, practicing certain sports and recreation. The hand muscles may also hurt when we work at an incorrectly selected desk, when we lift heavy objects and when we expose our upper limbs to vibrations, e.g. when using impact tools.
Back muscle pain
The back muscles are also exposed to numerous overloads. Back muscle pain occurs as a result of intense exercise, spine strain, stress, improper lifting of heavy objects, or prolonged sitting, e.g. while driving a car or flying by plane. Back muscle pain may also indicate viral and bacterial infections and other diseases.
Leg muscle pain
Pain in the leg muscles is usually associated with overloading the muscles with exhausting training, wearing shoes with a flat sole or too high a heel, as well as with heavy physical work. However, you should know that leg muscle pain may also indicate impaired blood flow in blood vessels, peripheral artery disease and sciatica.
Abdominal muscle pain
Abdominal muscle pain often appears after physical work and exercise, but it may also accompany a cold or other respiratory infection. Troublesome pain in the abdominal muscles during a respiratory infection may be related to muscle overload due to persistent coughing and sneezing.
Muscle pain – diagnosis and treatment
The cause of muscle pain can be detected by, among others: blood test, urine test, neurological tests, as well as imaging tests, among others. computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging . Sometimes it is necessary to perform a histopathological examination of the inflamed muscle tissue and an electromyographic examination.
Treatment for muscle pain depends on its cause. In order to reduce troublesome ailments, the following are used, among others: oral and local analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs, warming patches, kinesio taping, as well as physiotherapy treatments.
Cool compresses can be used to relieve muscle pain associated with inflammation. If muscle pain is related to excessive muscle tension, warm compresses are recommended.