Yours in Healing with Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT

Suffering From Muscle Aches?

Dr. Rachel Lys

There are many people who suffer regularly with muscle aches. Some may assume muscle aches are part of the typical aging process, or maybe even due to the way they slept the night before so they may forget to mention this symptom to their health care provider. However although most muscle aches will resolve without medical intervention they can be an early warning sign of a serious health condition. Muscle aches vary in intensity but regardless of how severe they are because they can be an indicator of an underlying health concerns that need to be addressed.

Muscles aches are referred to as myalgia and can be felt among both adults and children. Some common causes of muscle aches are: over exertion, trauma to an area, or viral infection.

Muscles aches can be an important indicator of many conditions some more severe than others. A few examples of these conditions are as follows: Stress, dehydration, nutritional deficit, sprains and strains, sleep disorders, too much physical activity, infections, disease, and some hereditary conditions.
Symptoms of a muscle ache are stiffness and weakness in a particular area. If you also experience any of the following symptoms a bit mark, fever, rash, difficulty breathing and/or elevated heart rate do not wait to seek medical attention.

If the cause of your muscle ache is related to stress, trauma or over use, physical therapy can be a safe effective treatment option. Once again If the muscle ache is accompanied with a high fever or shortness of breath immediate medical attention should be sought. Something to keep in mind when you are suffering from a muscle ache is if there is a pattern to your symptoms this information will help your health care provider better direct your course of treatment. For example, do you only have a muscle ache after exercise, or do you only have a muscle ache in the mornings, and the location of the muscle ache. If the muscle ache is throughout the entire body it usually can indicate an underlying illness and should not be ignored.

To avoid painful muscle aches which are caused by something other than illness or infection here are a few physical therapy pointers. It is important to stretch before and after exercise for 5 to 10 minutes. This is usually done by stretching larger muscle groups first and making sure to address specific muscles that will be used during the activity you are about to partake in. Also it is important to participate in regular exercise in order to keep muscles tone. And lastly taking regular microbreaks if you are in one position for any length of time can help promote circulation and decrease the likelihood of developing a muscle ache. A micro break is typically referred to as 10 minutes out of every hour spent in an alternative position. So it you are sitting at a desk working for 1 hour, 10 minutes out of that hour your body should be moving you should stand up and walk change position and restore blood flow. If you are on your feet giving a lecture, for example, when you take your mircobreak you need to change position so instead of standing sit. When you participate in a microbreak you allow different muscles to work reducing the likelihood of overuse injury and painful inflammation from settling into a joint in your body.

Here’s a helpful reminder it is that time of year again. It is not to late to protect yourself. if you have not had a flu vaccine this year please consider doing so. The main side affected reported this season from the vaccine in muscle ache lasting 24 hours at the injection site.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2019!

As always, yours in Healing,
         ~Dr. Rachel Lys, DPT