Muscle Pain

Muscle Pain  

Muscle Pain Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, & Diagnosis

It is inevitable that at some point in your life, you will deal with some type of muscle pain, ache, or soreness. For most people, some mild soreness after physical exertion or exercise is normal and should be expected. That being said, there are plenty of muscle related injuries that can occur that can cause serious pain and discomfort. Muscle pain should be examined and treated by someone who specializes in muscle related injuries. Dr. Katayoun Omrani is an experienced clinician who specializes in orofacial pain treatment.

If you or a loved one is experiencing muscle pain in the head, neck, shoulders, or face, contact Headache TMJ Los Angeles Pain Clinic today to schedule your free consultation.

CONTACT US TODAY AT (310) 422-4246 OR BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT

“Dr. Omrani changed the way I look at my condition, she helped me understand it and work towards healing that gives me a better daily life. Additionally she referred me to an amazing team of professionals to help in all aspects of side effects of my condition.“

view all patient testimonials

Table of Contents

  1. What is Muscle Pain?
  2. Muscle Pain Treatments
  3. Easing Muscle Pains at Home
  4. When To See a Doctor for Muscle Pain
  5. Who Might Get Muscle Pain?
  6. Different Types of Muscle Pain
  7. Muscle Pain Causes
  8. Symptoms Commonly Associated with Muscle Pain
  9. Muscle Pain Diagnosis
  10. Muscle Pain FAQS

What is Muscle Pain?

Muscle pain can indicate injury, sickness, or another underlying medical issue. This pain, also known as myalgia, can come as sharp pains or deep throbbing aches. Different reasons prompt different areas to be impacted. Sicknesses tend to cause muscles aches all over the body while injuries tend to impact specific muscle groups. Regardless, muscle pain should be checked on if it persists for longer than a couple weeks.

Muscle Pain Treatments

To relieve muscle pain, many different treatment modalities are recommended.

Here are a few treatment options:

1. Stretching:

Stretching the affected area can help improve or alleviate the pain. All exercises are to be done six times per day, six times each for a count of six seconds each.

Stretches for facial pain:

  • “N” stretches: Place the tip of the tongue on the palate, putting gentle pressure on the palate.
  • Stretches for neck pain: Side bend with axial extension, rotation with axial extension.

2. Massage:

Gently rubbing the painful muscle can relieve muscle pain.

3. Ice or heat:

Apply an ice pack to the affected muscle for 15 minutes at a time, few times a day.

Applying a heating pad for 15 minutes can also be useful. Other options are hot shower, warm bath, hot tub, or spa. 

4. Hydration:

When you have muscle pain, drink water, and stay hydrated. 

5. Nonprescription medications:

There are 2 categories of nonprescription medications that help with muscle pain:

  • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve, Ibuprofen or Advil can help by reducing inflammation and pain.
  • Supplements: Magnesium, Vitamin B12, Curcumin / Turmeric and CoQ10 can be used to treat and prevent muscle pain.

6. Topical sprays:

Over-the-counter spray such as Biofreeze can help alleviate muscle pain. Alternatively, prescription sprays like Ethyl Chloride or Gebauer’s Spray and Stretch can also be very beneficial.

7. Topical creams:

Over-the-counter creams may help. These are products that contain lidocaine, diclofenac gel, camphor or menthol. Traumeel, a fixed combination of plant and mineral extracts has also shown comparable effectiveness to NSAIDs with a much more favorable safety profile.

8. Prescription medications:

In case of persisting muscle pain, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant. Muscle relaxants are centrally acting and could be very sedating.

9. Physical therapy:

Your doctor may refer you for physical therapy to assist in strengthening a particular set of muscles or to help you gain flexibility.

10.Trigger point injections (TPI):

TPI may be a great option for treating muscle pain in some patient. During the procedure, a health care provider inserts a small needle into patient’s muscles using local anesthetic or saline and sometimes corticosteroid. Injections take a few minutes and are done at the doctor’s office.

Easing Muscle Pains at Home

There are several effective home treatments available for minor muscle aches resulting from minor injuries, stress, or working out. The most common treatment is using the RICE method:

  • Rest: Resting the muscles that are feeling pain
  • Ice: Use ice to numb and reduce swelling around impacted area
  • Compress: Use a bandage to wrap an area tightly to reduce swelling
  • Elevate: Raise the feet above the core to minimize inflammation

A couple other tips that will help reduce the severity and length of muscle pain are:

  • Using OTC medications like ibuprofen
  • Stretching out sore muscles
  • Participating in relaxing yoga and meditation

It is important to note that when recovering from muscle pain, you shouldn’t:

  • Participate in high impact activities
  • Lift heavy weights

When To See a Doctor for Muscle Pain

While minor muscle aches tend to recover quickly, any sign of persistent muscle pains should be explored. Intense myalgia could indicate a more severe underlying problem that needs to be addressed. See a doctor if any of the following happen:

  • Pain that does not improve or go away after several days of home treatment
  • Intense muscle pain that onsets without cause
  • Muscle pain that comes with fever or elevated temperatures
  • Muscle pain with swelling and redness
  • Muscle aches that align with a switch in medication
  • Muscle pain that comes with a rash
  • Muscle pain that results from a tick bite

There are other signs that indicate that immediate medical attention is needed if experienced with muscle pain:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting or fever
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Stiffness in neck muscles
  • Inability to move
  • Sudden water retention

Who Might Get Muscle Pain?

Muscle pain can affect anyone of all ages because muscle soreness is the result of your body increasing physical activity to a level that requires muscles to tear and recover. A severe workout can prompt delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) which usually starts between 6-12 hours after activity and lasts up to 48 hours while the muscles heal and build. Muscle injuries can also be experienced by just about anyone, so muscle pain isn’t limited to any one particular age or demographic.

Different Types of Muscle Pain 

Localized Muscle Pain

Localized pain generally refers to pain that seems to be coming from one muscle or muscle group.

Muscle Strain

When muscle(s) are injured or overworked due to sudden movement or heavy physical exertion, they can cause a sharp pain or tearing sensation. Severe cases of muscle strains can also come with bruising and swelling.

Muscle Cramps of Spasms

Cramps & spasms are muscle contractions that your body does involuntarily. These contractions can last several seconds and cause intense pain until the muscles relax. A good example of this is a charley horse, or when your calf cramps and the pain is so intense you can no longer walk.

There are several muscle cramp triggers that can be avoided if the right precautions are taken. Be sure to:

  • Properly stretch before strenuous activity
  • Don’t overwork the muscle group to the point of injury
  • Avoid exercising in extreme heat
  • Stay hydrated with water & electrolytes

Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Myofascial pain refers to pain in the connective tissue that covers the muscle. The pain disorder stems from trigger points in the muscle. The trigger points result in knots where the muscle bands are too tight. These knots tend to be tender / painful to the touch. 

One of the most common places for myofascial pain is in the upper back and neck area. The upper trapezius trigger points can cause a deep ache and the strain can cause an intense headache.

Systemic Muscle Pain

Systemic muscle pain is not centralized around a specific muscle group. Instead, this pain is felt all over the body and is generally related to an infection or sickness. The other reasons that may prompt systemic muscle pain are side effects to medication or an underlying health issue.

Infection

There are several diseases and viral infections that result in body aches. The most common sickness that causes muscle pain is the flu virus. These body aches are often accompanied by fever, chills, fatigue headaches, cough, and sore throat. In some cases, there are digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that are also involved.

Muscle Pain Causes

When a muscle pain occurs, it is easy enough to identify the cause. It normally falls into either injury, overexertion, or sickness.

Physical Activity

Exercising using heavy weights and high resistance training can result in muscles with microtears that need to recover. This recovery period can last a couple days and will feel like a dull ache through the muscle group that was worked out. The following factors can exacerbate the muscle pain that results from exercise:

  • No warmup or stretching
  • High intensity workouts
  • New workouts or working out new muscle groups
  • Being new to working out

Infection / Sickness

There are several sicknesses and genetic conditions that result in muscle pains and aches. Conditions that cause muscle pain include:

  • Influenza
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Mononucleosis
  • Malaria
  • Polio
  • Dengue fever
  • Lyme disease
  • Trichinosis
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Claudication
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Muscle Injury

Muscle sprains (aka pulled muscles) happen when a muscle is overextended or ripped. This is usually caused by overexertion or improper muscle use and results in muscle discomfort and pain. This can happen anywhere on your body, and it generally causes a part of your body to be stiff while your body recovers. Moving the injured part can result in extreme pain. Most sprains and strains do not need medical attention but could benefit from the R-I-C-E treatment and some OTC pain killers. That being said, if the muscle is causing an abnormal amount of pain or the pain does not improve over time, medical attention is recommended.

Stress

Stress impacts the body in several interesting ways. Stress produces greater levels of cortisol that have been tied to higher levels of inflammation and lower levels of white blood cells (https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/). Both of these are conducive to higher chances of getting sick and catching a disease that causes systemic muscle pain. Taking time to unwind and relax to prevent stress is a good way to help optimize your health and avoid sickness related myalgia. 

Dehydration

Dehydration can also play a large part in how severe your muscle aches are and how long they last. Ensuring the body is hydrated helps maintain proper body functions. Without adequate water, those functions become more strained. When muscles need to recover, being hydrated ensures that the body can flush toxins and lactic acid as well as transport white blood cells and nutrients to the recovery site.

Lack of Sleep

Insufficient sleep and poor sleep patterns can have a strong impact on how your body feels and reacts. Without the right amount of sleep, your body can experience muscle fatigue and aching. Your body will feel drained and physical exertion will seem much more difficult.

Nutrition Deficiency

Another reason that could prompt muscle aches and pains could be a lack of the right nutrition. Diets that are missing key minerals and vitamins like vitamin C and calcium can lead to deficiencies like hypocalcemia.

Symptoms Commonly Associated with Muscle Pain

Muscle strain and injury symptoms include:

  • Bruising or redness
  • Swelling or puffiness
  • Resting pain
  • Active pain
  • Weakness / unable to use

There are other symptoms associated with muscle pain that occur after injury, activity, or sickness:

  • Stiffness
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Signs of infection

Symptoms associated with systemic muscle pain, like intense fever and difficulty breathing should be attended to with medical attention. Otherwise, localized pain should be checked for severity, but minor injuries and strains should heal on their own.

Muscle Pain Diagnosis

If the source of muscle pain is uncertain, tests will need to be done to help diagnose any potential problems. These can include:

  • Muscle biopsy: This requires a tissue sample to check for neuromuscular diseases.
  • MRI / CT scan: This provides a visual display of the internal muscle injury
  • Electromyography: This checks the strength of electrical activity in the muscular system
  • Blood tests: This checks for hormone, electrolyte, enzyme, and infection levels in the blood

Call an Experienced Muscle Pain Doctor Today to Schedule an Appointment

If you or a loved one is dealing with muscle pain, call the Headache TMJ Los Angeles Pain Clinic to have a consultation to determine the best strategy to treat your muscle pain. Call (310) 422-4246 today to schedule an appointment so Dr Kathy Omrani can help identify the problem and provide an effective treatment solution.

CONTACT US TODAY AT (310) 422-4246 OR BOOK YOUR APPOINTMENT

“Dr. Omrani changed the way I look at my condition, she helped me understand it and work towards healing that gives me a better daily life. Additionally she referred me to an amazing team of professionals to help in all aspects of side effects of my condition.“

view all patient testimonials

Muscle Pain FAQS

What is the best medicine for muscle pain?

Sore muscles are usually treatable with Tylenol or and non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or Advil.

What home remedy is good for muscle pain?

The most effective home remedy for muscle pain is using the RICE method.
• Rest – minimize using the sore muscles
• Ice – use something cold to help with swelling and pain
• Compress – keep the injured muscles wrapped if possible
• Elevate – elevate the injured part of the body if possible

What is the reason for muscle pain?

The most common reason for localized muscle pain is overexertion or injury. This generally impacts an individual muscle or muscle group. Muscle soreness will usually wear off after a couple days, but injury recovery depends on how severe the injury is.

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