Body aches and pains: 11 tips when you hurt all over

What to do when your body aches all over Body aches and pains are common.  When you hurt all over it can seem like the discomfort is coming from multiple groups of muscles, joints and deep in the bones. Body aches arise from the soft tissue of the body: Muscles Tendons Ligaments Fascia Cartilage Organs Widespread body aches and pains are seldom severe, and usually of a deep dull quality. They are felt as a general aching sensation with stiffness in many joints or even throughout the body.  Occasionally when a person has done something to aggravate the problem in particular (extra heavy work, greater fatigue, additional stress and tension) the pain can escalate to a burning or stabbing sensation in isolated areas, but usually only temporarily. When the body aches all over the exact symptoms  and treatment depends on the underlying cause.  Complaints may include widespread aches and tenderness to the touch over these areas, as well as muscle spasms. Whatever caused these generalized aches and pains may bring about specific joint pains, joint stiffness, neck pain, back pain, and difficulty sleeping. Common situations and activities can all have an impact on the presence and severity of these symptoms making a person hurt all over: Long automobile trip. Heavy lifting, snow shoveling, or prolonged housecleaning. High heat and humidity of the summer. Rapid alteration of the barometric pressure when a storm front passes through. Unusual emotional stress or worry, as well as depression. What causes body aches? The most common physical causes are also the most easily treated: Repeated or multiple injury or trauma including bruising and strains Overuse and overwork – using and abusing a large area of the body too much,  too often, or too soon after exercise, prior injury or use Tension or stress These situations that cause a person to hurt all over are usually easy to identify.  Correction is as easy and straightforward as being sure to rest, use ice, stretch and massage where it hurts, and take NSAIDs as needed. In these cases, the aches and pains tend to start during or just after the activity, and involve specific areas that were abused. To prevent recurrence of whole body achiness when it is caused by excessive physical activity or exercise: Get in and stay in shape so the body will respond well to physical activity Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward. Stretch before and after exercising. Drink lots of fluids before, during, and after exercise. If you work in the same position most of the day (like sitting at a computer), stretch at least every hour. However, there are other reasons why widespread body ache arises as a symptom of a potentially more serious condition. General body aches not related to physical activity Whole body aches that appear without a good reason – you wake up one more and feel like you were hit by a truck – can be a sign that the body is dealing with a body-wide or systemic health problem.  When the discomfort appears to be not related to physical causes, it can be due to a widespread immune response to an infection or major health problem.  These larger problems need to be addressed first since they can be the primary cause of general body aches in order for the discomfort and pain to stop. For example, a widespread body ache may be the result of: Anemia – reduced oxygen to the muscles and joints causes pain especially during exertion Dermatomyositis – possibly due to viral infection of muscles or weak immune system that allows multiple sites of infection to arise, giving pain throughout the body, along with a reddish-purple rash. Drugs ACE inhibitors to lower blood pressure – known for serious side effects that may require medical attention: chills, breathing difficulties, headaches,  pain in the abdomen, pain in the chest, etc. Cocaine – recreational use can cause pain throughout the body that lasts for days Statins to lower blood cholesterol – most common statin side effect is muscle pain that is felt as deep soreness, weakness or easy fatigue of the involved muscles Electrolyte imbalances –  often due to prolonged fever, diarrhea or exertion resulting in loss of  potassium or calcium minerals without adequate resupply to body Fibromyalgia – condition of unknown cause that includes tenderness in the joints and muscles and surrounding soft tissue, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and headaches. Infections, including: Influenza (flu) Lyme disease Malaria Muscle abscess Polio Rocky Mountain spotted fever Trichinosis (roundworm) Lupus (SLE) – pain and stiffness are primary symptoms of lupus, affecting widespread area: hands, wrists, feet, ankles, shoulders, knees and chest, often causing cartilage destruction and permanent deformity. Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) – an inflammatory disease of unknown origin causes stiffness and pain in muscles of the neck, shoulders, back and hips, appearing almost overnight in many cases with no relief, often disappearing suddenly on its own in a year or two. Polymyositis – similar to dermatomyositis in which you hurt all over,but without the skin rash Rhabdomyolysis – is a condition in which skeletal muscles break down quickly after massive injury (crush injury, being hit by lightening, severe burns, weight lifting) and spill their contents into the blood stream, possibly resulting in kidney failure and a variety of other serious medical consequences and complications. Treatment of body aches After muscle overuse or injury rest the affected body part, take a NSAID of choice (aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen)  and apply ice for the first 24-72 hours to reduce pain and inflammation. After the acute pain subsides and movement is less painful, apply moist heat to the area of complaint.  A good way to diffuse general body pains that are more chronic and recurring in nature is to take a long hot bath in water in which a few cups of Epsom salts have been added. If you suspect your body and pains are due to stress, do your best to get plenty of sleep and try to reduce or eliminate … Continue reading Body aches and pains: 11 tips when you hurt all over