Common Causes of Persistent Muscle Pain
- by Stephen Touhey
Muscle pain is, well...a pain! It stops you from feeling your best and it might even stop you from doing certain activities that you enjoy.
The medical term for muscle pain is myalgia and it can have many causes. Thankfully there are many effective natural ways to find pain relief like epsom salt baths, adding heat, using BioActivate pain relief patches, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and lifestyle changes.
In order to decide what methods will work best for you, it’s important to figure out what’s causing your pain. Here are some common causes of persistent muscle pain to help you, though it’s always advised to talk to your doctor to rule out infection, disease, or injury.
According to Johns Hopkins, sedentary jobs make up approximately 80% of the American workforce and according to Healthline, each worker is sitting about 15 hours per day too. When you’re sitting that many hours a day, keeping perfect posture is near impossible.
Being hunched over a computer all day takes its toll on your neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles, creating muscle pain that seems to never quit. Another issue causing strain on the same muscles is “tech-neck,” which was coined due to people looking down at their phones and tablets for hours and hours every day.
Inactivity or Overactivity
“Everything in moderation,” as they say. Well, that goes for exercise too.
The first issue is inactivity. When you don’t use your muscles for long periods of time, the muscles shrink and get weaker. Then when you go to use them again, they become strained, which leads to chronic muscle pain.
The other extreme is overactivity, which can cause microscopic damage in the muscle. The condition is called DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). This muscle pain usually happens 12 hours to 2 days after overuse.
Both inactivity and overactivity can end up resulting in injury. If your muscle pain becomes chronic, make sure to discuss it with your doctor to make sure there’s no injury that needs treatment.
Infection or Disease
While things like stress, injury, tension, and overuse are most common, there’s always a chance that your chronic pain is caused by an infection, disease, or hereditary condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common causes of persistent muscle pain are chronic fatigue syndrome, COVID-19, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, influenza, lupus, lyme, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and many more.
There are countless conditions with overlapping symptoms that can cause muscle pain, so self-diagnosis is discouraged. Make sure to talk to your doctor, so you can get the proper treatment.
Have you ever noticed how you scrunch your shoulders up toward your ears when you’re stressed? You might even be doing it right now.
According to the APA, stress can cause chronically tense muscles, which can lead to persistent muscle pain. If the muscles are stressed like this often enough, it can trigger other serious medical issues throughout the body.
Stress also plays a part in having a weak immune system. When you aren’t managing your stress levels, your body releases too much of the stress hormone called cortisol. This causes inflammation in the body.
At the same time, stress prevents your body from being able to produce enough lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells that fight inflammation. Then your body struggles to produce enough lymphocytes to heal your inflammation, which results in a weakened immune system.
This leaves you more susceptible to infection and disease, which means a greater possibility of muscle pain.