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All you need to know about muscle pain

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What is muscle pain?

Muscle pain can be in one muscle or in a muscle group or diffuse – involving multiple muscle groups. Depending on the severity of the case, pain can range from mild to severe and debilitating.

According to the experts at House Call Doctor, muscle pain is also a typical symptom of some chronic conditions (like fibromyalgia) and several conditions can be associated with generalised muscle pain (like influenza) that are perceived to be muscle pain. Related symptoms include tenderness, swelling, redness or fever.

Common causes of muscle pain?

People who experience muscle pain often can pin-point the cause. This is because most instances of myalgia result from muscle stress, tension or physical activity. Some common causes of these instances include:

  • Muscle tension in one or more areas of the body
  • Overusing the muscle during physical activity
  • Injuring the muscle while engaging in physically demanding work or exercise.

Even changes to your daily routine such as starting a workout can cause tiny injuries in your muscles. Which is why about a day later, you’ll start to feel sore.

After-hours doctors say that the duration of muscle pain will vary based on the severity. For some injuries, the pain will dissipate after a few days, whereas more severe cases can last for several days or even weeks. The pain can also fluctuate, this is called delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – during this time, muscles repair and strengthen themselves to reduce future risks.

Treating muscle pain:

To relieve muscle pain or soreness, try:

  • Gentle stretching
  • Muscle massage
  • Rest
  • Ice to reduce inflammation
  • Heat to help increase blood flow to your muscles
  • Over-the-counter pain medication, such as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen.

If you think you have a strain or sprain, home doctors Brisbane recommend the RICER approach:

R- Rest and avoid personal injury

I- Ice the affected area for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours

C- Compress and wrap the area with a firm elastic bandage and only loosen if you feel numbness

E- Elevate and rest the injured limb, such as on a chair or cushion

R- Refer to a doctor for a professional medical opinion to help your chances for a full recovery.

When should you see a doctor about muscle pain?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, consult a medical professional:

  • Muscle soreness which lasts for more than a week
  • Pain is unbearable and prevents you from moving
  • Pain gets worse with exercise
  • Pain causes dizziness or trouble breathing
  • You notice redness, swelling, or warmth in the sore muscles
  • The RICER treatment doesn’t work.

How to prevent muscle pain:

Warm up

Doctors say that warming up your muscles before working out is actually better for your muscles than stretching them afterwards as it increases blood flow. Warm up exercises include slow jogging or biking, jumping rope or lifting light weights.

Rest

By not getting enough sleep, you are putting yourself at a recovery disadvantage. It is also advised to leave 48 hours in-between working out a particular group of muscles. For example, running uses the lower muscles in your body, let them rest for two days after use to let them repair, otherwise you can cause a strain and muscle fatigue or damage.

Drink water

Keeping up hydration levels is very important for recovery and muscle tissue growth. On top of that, water will also help remove any toxins built up in your body. Without water, your body will struggle to perform and recover effectively. After hours doctors also say that if you are dehydrated, there is a greater chance of cramps, fatigue, dizziness or more serious side effects.

Use proper technique

Doing exercise with incorrect technique can cause excess tension and injuries to muscles. To avoid this, getting advice from coaches and personal trainers can not only improve your workouts, but also reduce the chance of injury.

Cool down

It is important to cool down and stretch after any work out. The stretching will help to circulate blood and aid in recovery by helping to stretch out any tensions and sometimes ease injury.

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