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Body Aches

body aches man holding backWhat are Body Aches?

Body aches occur as feelings of mild pain, soreness, or cramping of the muscles. Body aching may be produced by an inflammation or a prolonged contraction of the muscles in response to an illnesses or excessive straining. The aching may affect only isolated areas or several parts of the body. Patients with body aches may also experience drowsiness, decreased ability to react, loss of strength, and in severe cases, depression.

Though commonly related to an over-exertion or use of the muscles, body aches are often caused by illnesses and disorders. Body aches may be associated with:

  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fibromyalgia (softness of the muscles or tissue)
  • disorders causing a deterioration of the muscle fibers (rhabdomylosis)
  • most infections, including the flu, malaria and Lyme disease
  • medicines such as statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, and certain illegal substances
  • stress, anxiety or tension
Patients with persistent body aches should be aware of the source of the condition. Body aches can be caused by serious medical problems.

How are Body Aches Treated?

Body aches may typically be treated with at-home care involving gentle massaging of the area, resting and relaxing. It may also help to apply ice to the ache within the first 3 days of the onset of symptoms and use ibuprofen to reduce swelling. High-impact and stress-inducing exercises should be avoided to prevent further harm.

If body aches occur for longer than 72 hours, patients should contact their doctor for advice.