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Body & Muscle Aches

Symptoms, Causes, Related Conditions, Questions & Related Topics

Key Points

  • The article identifies the five main causes of body and muscle aches: physical exertion, stress, injury, dehydration, and trouble sleeping.
  • It mentions several health conditions that can be associated with these aches, including cold, fibromyalgia, deficiencies (anemia and hypocalcemia), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, and COVID-19.
  • The author emphasizes that body and muscle aches could be a symptom of COVID-19, suggesting the need for testing.
  • The text provides a list of questions that your doctor might ask about your aches, and notes that these aches can also be referred to as body pain or muscle pain.
  • The article concludes by providing additional resources for further reading on the topic.

Top 5 Causes of Body & Muscle Aches

1. Physical Exertion

When you work hard outside, work out in the gym, or even spend all day playing with your kids, there’s a possibility you could experience physical pain in your body and muscles afterward. If you exert yourself physically you may experience muscle or body soreness and pain later.[1] This can occur if you do not exert yourself often, but it can also happen if you go to the gym every day and simply overexert yourself to the point of muscle soreness and pain. The pain usually clears up after a few days.

2. Stress

Physical stress isn’t the only thing that can bring about muscle pain. Being emotionally or mentally stressed out can cause tension in the muscles, which can then lead to aches and pains. In many cases, people can alleviate stress and eventually their physical discomfort by practicing activities that allow them to de-stress, such as relaxing in a bath. Sometimes, however, constant aches are associated with a serious mental disorder, such as depression.

3. Injury

In some cases, muscle or body pain can be more than just a sign of overwork or stress; it can be the hallmark of an injury. The pain likely won’t get better if you don’t rest or get help, and it might worsen. If you have injured yourself, you won’t just experience pain, but also bruising, swelling, and difficulty moving.[2] You might also experience muscle spasms, especially if you have strained the muscle.

4. Dehydration

As with many minor discomforts, body and muscle aches can be a sign of dehydration.[3] This happens because the normal processes of your body, such as getting oxygen to the necessary places and digesting food, have trouble functioning properly. As a result, you might feel discomfort or pain. Other symptoms of dehydration are thirst, fatigue, dizziness, and dark-colored or cloudy urine.

5. Trouble Sleeping

Your body needs time to recover from your daily activities, and if you don’t get enough sleep, it can’t recuperate. Not getting enough sleep can cause your body to ache because it wasn’t able to rest and recuperate while you were sleeping. Other symptoms of lack of sleep include memory problems, difficulty understanding things, and confusion. Try to meditate, drink warm milk, or listen to music to combat this issue.

Possible Health Conditions Related to Body & Muscle Aches

1. Cold

A common cold can cause you to experience muscle and body aches, as can the flu. These infections can occur because the body uses its white blood cells to fight the infection, which makes the muscles themselves feel stiff and pained.[3] If you have aches and pains along with a runny nose, coughing, and stuffiness, you probably have a cold or the flu, which can go away with time and the help of over-the-counter medications.

2. Fibromyalgia

Those who experience aches and pains for a long period of time with no known cause might suffer from fibromyalgia.[4] People with fibromyalgia feel pain all over their bodies, making it hard to sleep, causing the symptoms of sleep deprivation to occur as well. Both the cause and the cure for fibromyalgia are unknown. If you believe you have it, it’s important to contact your doctor for help navigating this condition.

3. A Deficiency

If your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells that can function the way they’re supposed to, the condition is called anemia. Those who have a low amount of calcium in their blood experience a condition called hypocalcemia. Both of these issues are caused by deficiencies in the body that can lead to muscle and body aches.[3] Your doctor can test you for these deficiencies and help you navigate the problem if you do in fact suffer from one of them.

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

This is another syndrome that occurs when a person doesn’t get enough sleep. However, CFS can make a person feel tired even if they have gotten plenty of rest. Symptoms can change over time, and treatment from a doctor is often necessary. In some cases, CFS can subside.[5] It is still best not to ignore CFS, as it can begin to interfere with your daily life.

5. Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Also known as MS, multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that breaks down tissues around your nerve cells.[6] Other symptoms of MS are blurry vision, fatigue, and memory problems. Sometimes, MS causes temporary or permanent blindness. This condition requires diagnosis and medical treatment.

6. Lupus

Lupus is a disease that causes your immune system to attack your own bodily tissues, causing discomfort and pain. It can also cause swelling, rash, fevers, and even seizures. Many people live with this autoimmune disease, but it is still important to receive a diagnosis from a doctor in order to be able to deal with it properly.[7]

7. Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus thought to spread from person to person.[8] Symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to many symptoms of the flu, and include loss of taste or smell, fever, cough, and muscle or body aches.[9] There are no specific medications approved by the FDA to treat COVID-19, but people can reduce their exposure to the virus by practicing social distancing, washing hands often, and wearing a face covering.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Your Body & Muscle Aches

  • How long have you experienced this pain?
  • Is it localized or all-over pain?
  • Do you experience other sensations, such as a pins-and-needles sensations?
  • Have you experienced any problems sleeping, swallowing, breathing, or anything else potentially life-threatening as a result of your symptoms?
  • Have you been experiencing any other symptoms of COVID-19 such as nausea, cough, fever, or fatigue?
  • Have you recently been within 6 feet of anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?

Body & Muscle Aches May Also Be Known as

  • Body pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Aches and pains

Frequently asked questions

  • What are the top five causes of body and muscle aches?

    The top five causes are physical exertion, stress, injury, dehydration, and trouble sleeping.
  • Could body and muscle aches be a symptom of a health condition?

    Yes, they could be a symptom of various health conditions such as cold, fibromyalgia, deficiencies (anemia and hypocalcemia), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus, and COVID-19.
  • Could body and muscle aches be a symptom of COVID-19?

    Yes, the article emphasizes that if you're experiencing these aches, it could be a symptom of COVID-19 and you may need to get tested.
  • What other terms can be used to refer to body and muscle aches?

    These aches can also be referred to as body pain or muscle pain.
  • What might my doctor ask if I complain about body and muscle aches?

    The article provides a list of questions your doctor may ask to understand the nature and cause of your aches.
  • Are there any resources for further reading on body and muscle aches?

    Yes, the article concludes by providing sources for further reading on the topic.
  • Can stress cause body and muscle aches?

    Yes, stress is listed as one of the top five causes of body and muscle aches.
  • Is dehydration a cause of body and muscle aches?

    Yes, dehydration is identified as one of the main causes of these aches.

Related Health Concerns


Black Stool

Canker Sore




Genital Herpes



Hearing Test



Psoriatic Arthritis

Shortness of Breath


Stiff Neck



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