What Are the Causes of Aching Muscles and Joints?

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.

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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.


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.


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.


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.