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There are a variety of conditions that can cause aching muscles and joints. Many causes are not serious and will go away by themselves without treatment, but these symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition. Any pain in the muscles and joints that does not resolve within a few days, gets worse or is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms should be diagnosed by a doctor.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
One of the most common causes of aching muscles and joints is some form of trauma or accident. One form of trauma that often leads to these symptoms, especially in the neck, is an automobile accident. Sports injuries are also a common traumatic event that can lead to joint and muscle soreness. In the case of trauma, muscles are overstressed in the moment of the accident and fibers can tear and joint surfaces can be damaged, leading to pain and inflammation. According to Medline Plus, muscle and joint pain may also involve ligaments, tendons or muscle fascia--the membranous covering of the muscles 1. Rest, over-the-counter medication, ice and heat are generally helpful in speeding recovery and reducing symptoms.
- One of the most common causes of aching muscles and joints is some form of trauma or accident.
- In the case of trauma, muscles are overstressed in the moment of the accident and fibers can tear and joint surfaces can be damaged, leading to pain and inflammation.
What Are the Causes of Muscle Spasms in the Neck?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread syndrome that affects individuals in a variety of ways and throughout their body. It is a condition that is not well-understood and differs somewhat from individual to individual. It is characterized by extensive pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, fatigue and often psychological distress, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association. There are no tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, but the criteria for a diagnosis include widespread pain throughout the body for at least three months and tenderness at 11 of 18 particular points on the body. There is no cure for fibromyalgia and treatment revolves around managing symptoms and improving lifestyle.
- Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread syndrome that affects individuals in a variety of ways and throughout their body.
- There are no tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, but the criteria for a diagnosis include widespread pain throughout the body for at least three months and tenderness at 11 of 18 particular points on the body.
The term arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but there are several kinds of arthritis. Those who suffer with the various forms of arthritis generally complain of joint swelling and soreness, muscle achiness, limited range of motion and stiffness. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, according to Mayo Clinic.com, and is also referred to as degenerative joint disease 2. It is a wear-and-tear breakdown of joints surfaces and surrounding soft tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition where the synovial lining of the joints is destroyed and causes dysfunction and distortion.
- The term arthritis literally means joint inflammation, but there are several kinds of arthritis.
- Those who suffer with the various forms of arthritis generally complain of joint swelling and soreness, muscle achiness, limited range of motion and stiffness.
Diseases That Cause Pain & Muscle Aches
There are many types of infections that can cause symptoms that include muscle and joint achiness. The common flu and the common cold both can include these symptoms. Other infections that may present with joint and muscle achiness include malaria, Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, according to Medline Plus 1. It is critical that these infections be properly diagnosed and that appropriate treatment be given.
- There are many types of infections that can cause symptoms that include muscle and joint achiness.
What Are the Causes of Muscle Spasms in the Neck?
Diseases That Cause Pain & Muscle Aches
Causes of Left Shoulder Blade Pain
Causes of Joint Pain and Loss of Appetite
Causes of Muscle Pain in the Hands and Feet
How to Know the Difference Between MS and Arthritis
Causes of Pain on the Right Side Under the Arm
Causes of Continuous Aching Muscles
Upper Body Muscle Pain
Causes of Pain in the Neck Near the Throat
- Medline Plus: Muscle Ache
- Mayo Clinic: Osteoarthritis
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Osteoarthritis (OA). Updated January 10, 2019.
- MedlinePlus. Osteoarthritis. Updated January 6, 2020.
- Banks SE. Erosive osteoarthritis: a current review of a clinical challenge. Clin Rheumatol. 2010;29(7):697-706. doi:10.1007/s10067-009-1369-7
- Engel B, Just J, Bleckwenn M, Weckbecker K. Treatment options for gout. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2017;114(13):215-222. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2017.0215
- MacMullan P, McCarthy G. Treatment and management of pseudogout: insights for the clinician. Ther Adv Musculoskelet Dis. 2011;4(2):121-131. doi:10.1177/1759720x11432559
- Arthritis Foundation. Infectious arthritis.
- Marks M, Marks JL. Viral arthritis. Clin Med (Lond). 2016;16(2):129-134. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.16-2-129
- Sierakowski S, Cutolo M. Morning symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis: a defining characteristic and marker of active disease. Scand J Rheumatol. 2011;40(sup125):1-5. doi:10.3109/03009742.2011.566433
- Spondylitis Association of America. Overview of types of spondylitis.
- National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriatic arthritis. Updated December 28, 2018.
- Gladman DD, Ritchlin C. Patient education: Psoriatic arthritis (Beyond the basics). UpToDate. Updated February 5, 2018.
- National Organization for Rare Disorders. Reactive Arthritis.
- Arvikar SL, Fisher MC. Inflammatory bowel disease associated arthropathy. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2011;4(3):123-131. doi:10.1007/s12178-011-9085-8
- Lam NC, Ghetu MV, Bieniek ML. Systemic lupus erythematosus: Primary care approach to diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2016;94(4):284-94.
- Docken WP. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica. UpToDate. Updated October 8, 2019.
- Goldenberg DL. Patient education: Fibromyalgia (Beyond the basics). UpToDate. Updated June 21, 2018.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hashimoto's disease. Updated September 2017.
- Jaracz J, Gattner K, Jaracz K, Górna K. Unexplained painful physical symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder: Prevalence, pathophysiology and management. CNS Drugs. 2016;30(4):293-304. doi:10.1007/s40263-016-0328-5
- Solmaz D, Bakirci S, Kimyon G, et al. The impact of having family history of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis on psoriatic disease. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020;72(1):63-68. doi:10.1002/acr.23836
- Fouladbakhsh J. Complementary and alternative modalities to relieve osteoarthritis symptoms: A review of the evidence on several therapies often used for osteoarthritis management. Orthop Nurs. 2012;31(2):115-121. doi:10.1097/nor.0b013e31824fce6e
- Wandel S, Jüni P, Tendal B, et al. Effects of glucosamine, chondroitin, or placebo in patients with osteoarthritis of hip or knee: network meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010;341:c4675. doi:10.1136/bmj.c4675
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Osteotomy of the knee. Updated June 2017.
- Marks M, Marks JL. Viral arthritis. Clin Med (Lond). 2016 Apr;16(2):129-34. doi:10.7861/clinmedicine.16-2-129
- Pujalte G, Albano-Aluquin SA. Differential Diagnosis of Polyarticular Arthritis. Am Fam Physician. 2015 Jul 1;92(1):35-41.
- Shmerling RH. (2017). Evaluation of the adult with polyarticular pain. Maini RN, ed. UpToDate. Waltham, MA: UpToDate Inc.
- Skou ST, Roos EM, Laursen MB, et al. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Total Knee Replacement. N Engl J Med. 2015;373(17):1597-1606. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1505467
Dr. Blake Biddulph received his chiropractic degree from Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas in 2007 and has been practicing as a chiropractic physician in Provo, Utah, ever since. He has a special interest in spinal rehabilitation and treats patients with a variety of neck and back conditions. He has been writing health-related articles and newsletters for several years.