Muscle Soreness: What Is Actually Happening?

Muscle soreness is quite common.  Most of us have experienced stiffness and soreness the day after an unusual activity.  But what about other days when there doesn’t appear to be a physical reason?

Common Causes of Muscle Soreness

  • Too Much Stress

  • Tension

  • Overuse or injuring during a physically demanding activity.

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Infection

  • Illness

  • Autoimmune Disorders

  • Medication Side Effects

  • Thyroid Problems

  • Low Potassium Levels


Ways to Avoid and Treat Sore Muscles
If you know your soreness comes from over-activity, you can treat your pain yourself using one or more of these methods:

  • Resting the muscle areas to give them time to recoup

  • Taking the recommended dosages of OTC pain relievers

  • Icing the areas to reduce inflammation


Other techniques that can help you avoid soreness are:

  • Stretching before and after activities

  • Giving your muscles time to rest

  • Relieving tension with stress-relieving techniques like yoga.


When to See a Doctor
Muscle aches can sometimes be a symptom of a larger issue.  If you’ve tried to treat it yourself without success, you should talk to your doctor.

Signs that may be time to schedule an appointment include:

  • Pain or soreness that lasts more than a few days after using home treatments.

  • Feeling severe pain or soreness with no obvious cause.

  • Pain or soreness that is accompanied by a rash, redness or swelling.

  • Pain or soreness after receiving a tick bite.

  • Pain or soreness that appears after a change in diet or medication.

  • Pain or soreness with a high fever.


When it becomes an Emergency
Occasionally, muscle soreness will be the immediate precursor to an emergency situation.  If you experience any of the following, get to an emergency room.

  • Difficulty Breathing

  • Difficulty Swallowing

  • Neck Stiffness

  • Paralysis

  • Sudden Urine Reduction

  • Sudden Water Retention

  • Suddenly Weakened Muscles

  • Vomiting


For more information visit us at Unity Physician Services in Tempe, Arizona, where our medical experts and chiropractors can help assess your level of pain and recommend the best course of action.

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