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Muscle pain; Myalgia; Pain – muscles
Though not serious, muscle cramps or the muscle soreness that comes from overextending yourself can be very uncomfortable. And the weekend gardener is just as likely to be affected as the world-class athlete.
Muscle aches and pains are common and can involve more than one muscle. Muscle pain also can involve the soft tissues that surround muscles. These connective tissues include ligaments, tendons, and fascia (thick bands of tendons).
What It Is :
There are two common types of muscle pain. The first is soreness and stiffness that develop as the result of overdoing some physical activity — whether running a marathon, digging in the yard, or simply carrying a heavy bag of groceries. This kind of pain, which doctors call delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), typically begins a day or two after the activity and can last up to a week. When a muscle suddenly contracts and can’t relax, the result is the second type of muscle pain, known as a cramp. Most common in the thigh, calf, or foot, cramps can strike at any time, even during sleep.
Muscle pain is most frequently related to tension, overuse, or muscle injury from exercise or physically demanding work. In these situations, the pain tends to involve specific muscles and starts during or just after the activity. It is usually obvious which activity is causing the pain.
Muscle pain also can be a sign of conditions affecting your whole body, like some infections (including the flu) and disorders that affect connective tissues throughout the body (such as lupus).
One common cause of muscle aches and pains is fibromyalgia, a condition that includes tenderness in your muscles and surrounding soft tissue, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and headaches.
The most common causes are:
Tension or stress
Overuse: using a muscle too much, too soon, too often
Injury or trauma including sprains and strains
Muscle pain may also be due to:
Infections including an abscess in the muscle, Trichinosis (roundworm), Influenza (the flu), Lyme disease, Malaria, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Polio, and many others
Electrolyte imbalances like too little potassium or calcium
Drugs including cocaine; statins for lowering cholesterol (such as atorvastatin, simvastatin, and lovastatin); ACE inhibitors for lowering blood pressure (such as enalapril and captopril); and many others
In contrast, muscle cramps are not always the result of an injury — though no one knows exactly why they occur. The cause may be an imbalance in the minerals that govern muscle contraction and relaxation-calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium — or a lack of fluid. Exercising too strenuously during the day may lead to calf cramps painful enough to wake you from a sound sleep, as can wearing high heels, or sleeping with your toes pointed or with bedding wrapped too tightly around your legs.
When to Call Your Doctor
If tightness or cramping occurs in the chest muscle-this may be a sign of a heart attack.
How Supplements Can Help:
To balance the minerals needed for proper muscle contraction, take supplemental calcium and magnesium on a routine basis. (Most people get enough potassium and sodium from their diet.) Add vitamin E daily if you are prone to exercise-related cramps or nighttime calf cramps.
What Else You Can Do:
Drink a lot of fluids before, during, and after exercise.
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Source: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs and healthline.com