Causes of Sore Muscles

Sore muscles are common after strenuous activity, but sometimes an underlying condition could be causing the pain. Conditions like infections can be serious and need a diagnosis, so you’ll need to know what to look for to take the necessary steps.

8 minute read

Last Updated July 13, 2020

How To Get Rid Of Sore Muscles - Immunity - 1MD

Everyone experiences sore muscles (myalgia) from time to time, especially after strenuous activity. There are muscles all over your body, so muscle pain is one of the most common pains people feel, and these pains can be felt anywhere.

Most of the time, you will be aware of the cause of your sore muscles, but sometimes there is an underlying condition that could be causing the pain. In these cases, diagnosis and treatment are needed before the pin will go away. 

Causes of Sore Muscles

Every muscle in your body has the potential to become injured, as they are used for almost every activity the body does. It is usually easy to identify the cause of the sore muscle such as stress, tension, or physical activity. 

Muscles can be overused and become tense during exercise or injured while engaging in an activity or exercise. In these cases, some rest and heat or ice therapy will help ease the pain. 

There are also several medical conditions associated with sore muscles that could be the underlying cause of your pain.

Flu: When your body fights hard against a virus like the flu, it becomes worn out, and muscle aches and pains are very common. Dehydration during the flu can make muscle pains worse, so it is important to stay hydrated. Once the flue has passed, you may experience muscle aches for a few additional days, until your body regenerates.

Fibromyalgia: This is a disorder characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. Chronic muscle pain is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, and it is believed that it amplifies the way your brain processes pain. 

Bacterial infections: Like a virus, any bacterial infection makes your body work hard to fight against it. As your immune system sends white blood cells to fight the invading pathogens, your muscles get weak and sore.

Autoimmune diseases: Autoimmune diseases cause widespread inflammation, which attacks muscles and weakens them. As a result, you may experience chronic sore muscles if you have an autoimmune condition of any kind. There is a specific autoimmune disease known as myositis that attacks only the muscles causing swelling, pain, and soreness. 

Lupus: Joint and muscle pain is one of the first complaints of those with lupus. This disease is marked by chronic inflammation affecting different parts of the body. Muscle soreness is known to get worse during periods of increased disease activity known as flares.

Dermatomyositis: This is an inflammatory process that causes the destruction of muscle tissue over time. As a result, muscles become weak and very sore. The muscles most commonly affected by this condition are those in the shoulders, upper arms, thighs, hips, and neck.

Polymyositis: Polymyositis is one of the inflammatory myopathies, which are diseases responsible for cell damage. This disease involves chronic inflammation of the muscles and the blood vessels that supply the muscle. As the muscle tissue is damaged, muscles get sore and achy.

Thyroid disorders: Your thyroid gland controls the thyroid hormones, which regulate several important processes in the body. An underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) can cause inflammation over time, which impacts muscle tissue. Sore muscles and joint pain are associated with symptoms of thyroid diseases. 

Hypokalemia: This is a condition marked by severe potassium deficiency. Potassium is responsible for regulating blood flow to your muscles, and without it, your blood vessels cannot contract. Restricted blood flow to the muscles causes pain and soreness. Over time, this condition can lead to muscular atrophy as muscles begin to weaken.

Treatment for Sore Muscles

The treatment of sore muscles typically involves rest, hot or cold therapy, and over-the-counter medications for pain. If there is a medical condition causing your muscles soreness, then treatment will be appropriate for that particular condition. 

When inflammation is the underlying cause or associated with a condition causing sore muscles, anti-inflammatory medications, and treatments are used. Infections will be treated with antibiotics and pain relievers, and any dietary causes can be treated with supplements and dietary changes. 

Natural Treatment for Sore Muscles

There are natural alternatives available for treating the inflammation that causes sore muscles. By reducing inflammation, you can protect your muscles from fatigue and soreness associated with some diseases.

L-lysine is a version of the amino acid lysine that your body can readily use. It is essential for several processes in the body, and it is important for muscle growth and turnover.

♦ L-lysine also works to support the immune system by reducing inflammation. This protective measure can help muscle healing and prevent inflammatory damage and muscle fatigue.

You can also add probiotics to your diet to prevent inflammation. Probiotics such as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus are proven to enhance immunity and reduce inflammation. By maintaining a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, the risk of chronic inflammation can be reduced.

How to Prevent Sore Muscles

If you have a condition that is known to cause sore muscles, there are tips you can try to reduce the frequency of your muscle pain. 

♦ Gently stretching your muscles each day
♦ Avoiding high-impact activities
♦ Avoid weight-lifting
♦ Get plenty of rest
♦ Try stress-relieving activities such as yoga and meditation 
♦ Stay hydrated
♦ Incorporate a warm-up and cool-down to your exercise routine

When to See Your Doctor

When the cause of your sore muscles is obvious, then there is no cause for concern. If there is no obvious reason for your sore muscles, then you could have an underlying medical condition that needs treatment. 

Sore muscles can be a sign that something is wrong with your body. If you notice any of the following conditions, you should contact your doctor right away.

♦ Sore muscles that do not go away after a few days of home treatment
♦ Sore muscles accompanied by a rash
♦ Sore muscles accompanied by swelling 
♦ Sore muscles that occur with an elevated temperature
♦ Severe muscle pain that arises with no apparent cause

If any of the following conditions accompany your sore muscles, you need to seek medical attention immediately as they can be signs of a medical emergency.

♦ Sudden onset of water retention
♦ Vomiting
♦ Stiffness in your neck
♦ Trouble catching your breath
♦ Difficulty swallowing
♦ Inability to move the affected area

What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Most sore muscles are caused by tension, stress, or physical activity. In these cases, home treatment, along with some anti-inflammatory medications, can help relieve pain. 

When home remedies do not work, a more serious condition could be the cause of your sore muscles. So it is important to see your doctor right away. Some conditions that cause sore muscles can be dangerous and will require prompt diagnosis and treatment as the best option for a positive outlook. 

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