Treating Muscle Pain

Many people at one point or another have experienced muscle pain of some sort. It's quite common and often involves more than one muscle at a time. This results in the pain seeming almost unbearable, especially when you add the involvement of tendons, ligaments and cartilages, which are also often involved.

Any muscular pain is most often related to tension, over or misuse, and muscle injury obtained during extensive exercise or work that is physically demanding. Pain in these situations tends to be primarily located around a specific muscle or group of muscles, while beginning to manifest either during or shortly after the activity.

However, muscle pain can also be an indicator of other certain medical conditions which are affecting your entire system. These conditions could be infections your immune system is battling such as the flu, or disorders which can affect your body as a whole such as fibromyalgia.

If your muscle pain is a result of injury or overuse, your best treatment option is to rest the muscle in question after taking either ibuprophen or acetaminophen. The application of ice packs once an hour for approximately 20 minutes over the span of a few days will assist in the reduction of pain as well as any inflammation. Once this period of time is over, you can switch to applying heat which will provide a soothing sensation to the muscles in question. Gentle stretching exercises can be started as well to easy those muscles back into regular function again.

Muscle Pain and Exercising

Participating in a regular exercise program will help to restore proper muscle tone to the area you have been resting. Light aerobic activities should be started first, such as swimming or aqua-fit classes until you are sure your muscles are back to full potential. It's also important to get plenty of sleep, while trying to reduce the amount of stress you have in your life. You might want to try yoga or meditation before sleep to ensure maximum relaxation.

Reasons to call or visit your doctor would be:
  • Your muscle pain lasts longer than 3 days
  • Your pain is severe and unexplained
  • There is swelling or redness surrounding the painful muscles, followed by any signs of infection.
  • Your painful muscles started as a result of or shortly after starting a new medication, or a change in dosage of something you are already taking.
  • You experience water retention, are urinating less than you usually do, or suddenly start to gain weight.
  • You have difficulty swallowing, or easily become short of breath.
  • Any part of your body appears to have muscle weakness, or you find you cannot move a certain part of your body.
  • You have a high fever, vomiting and/or a stiff neck.

P.R.I.C.E. Therapy

Muscle pain resulting from exercise or activity is almost always treatable at home. Within 48 hours, practice the P.R.I.C.E. therapy.

Protection — Keep weight off affected muscle.
Rest — Take a break from activities.
Ice — Place and ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the area for 15 to 20 minutes three to four times a day.
Compression — Use a compression bandage to reduce any swelling.
Elevation — Keep your foot elevated to reduce swelling.

In considering the above mentioned information, you will know when you can go ahead a care for muscle pain at home, when to see a doctor or head to the emergency room. Don't forget to stretch before and after exercising, and be sure to see your physician if you're not sure.



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