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How to Treat Muscle Pain

11 September 2020

Muscle pain is the bane of a desk worker’s existence. It makes its presence felt at the slightest movement, making you wince in pain. With the natural rhythm of working from home, it’s natural to feel muscle pain once in a while. But when it becomes an everyday ordeal, then interventions are a must.

The common causes of muscle pain 

According to Cleveland Clinic, there are five most common causes of muscle pain: Injury or overuse, stress, autoimmune diseases, neurological and muscle disorders, infection, obstructed blood flow, or drug side effects. Let’s break them down further below:

  • Injury - Intense physical activities can lead to injuries. So how do you know if it’s injury or muscle soreness? This CNET article said that pain from an injury usually sets in immediately after the injury occurs. If there’s an immediate, sudden pain during or after a workout, that’s an indication that you have been injured. 

The Cleveland Clinic article further said that injury can result from the following: 

  • Blunt force trauma - caused by a strong impact to the body;

  • Muscle strains, soreness, pull, or tears - Anything that stretches the muscles to a complete tear;

  • Repetitive motion injury - Muscle pain can come from doing the same motions day in and day out - either for work or workout;

  • Overuse injury - Akin to the one mentioned above, this kind of injury is mostly seen in athletes who perform exercises or activities over and over without any variation; 

  • Neglecting warm-up and cool-down activities - Failing to stretch the muscles before and after performing a heavy workout can strain the muscles. It’s best to spend five minutes of pre- and post-stretching to avoid any muscle pain;

  • Poor posture - An unnatural body position can strain the muscles and soft tissues. Slouching; arching the back by wearing high heels; hunching the back; thrusting out the chin; and cradling a telephone between the neck and shoulders can trigger muscle pain.

  • Stress - Did you know that even psychological stress can lead to muscle tension? Muscle tension is the body’s automatic reflex to guard against injury and pain. This sudden stress is short-term once the stress passes. However, chronic stress can lead to the muscles to remain in a constant state of tension. If the tension is in the shoulders and neck, pain and headaches can occur. 

  • Infections - Muscle pain is one of the symptoms of respiratory and viral infections such as colds, influenza, and even COVID-19. Other life-threatening infections that cause muscle pain are malaria, trichinosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease.

  • Autoimmune diseases - This occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. In the same vein, this also causes muscle pains by way of inflammations. Included here are myositis and lupus.

  • Poor blood flow - The Cleveland Clinic article elaborated that the condition called peripheral arterial disease (PAD) happens when there are fatty blockages in the vessels that carry blood from the heart to the legs. This can lead to pain in the legs from exertion such as walking. 

  • Drug side effect - The body reacts differently to certain medications. For example, certain patients who take statin drugs - which are used to control cholesterol levels - reported that they experience muscle pain. 

How to alleviate muscle pain

  • Consult a doctor -- If you think that your muscle pain is recurring, contact your physician right away. It’s better to talk to a healthcare provider about your symptoms so you can easily soothe your aching muscles. If you are still afraid to step outside, you can do telehealth consultation, which is considered as the US’ new normal in healthcare in this Reuters article.  

  • Exercise regularly -- Working out is needed to build and strengthen muscles and joints. Though it can cause soreness after a day or two, the soreness is perfectly normal as stated in this Medical News Today article. It also added that muscle pain following a workout is an indication of muscle tissue repair.

  • Stay hydrated - Another Medical News Today piece said that dehydration can weaken the muscles, cause dry mouth, lethargy, headache, and dizziness. 

  • Relax and get a massage - If you don’t have time to go to the spa, you can just get a DIY rubdown with a gun massager. A cheaper alternative to booking a masseuse, this gun massager promises to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and accelerate recovery. It’s also a practical way to practice wellness within the safety confines of your home. 

Focusing on muscle relief 

It’s important to relieve muscle discomfort as soon as you can. This is to prevent pain from becoming a nuisance and affecting everyday life. With a pain-free body, you will have better working days ahead.