Pain in your bones, ligaments, muscles, or tendons, is referred to as musculoskeletal pain. Musculoskeletal pain can be caused by overuse of muscles or joints or due to an injury. The pain can be chronic or acute, depending on the root cause.
What Causes It?
There are numerous causes of musculoskeletal pain. The cause may vary from case to case.
- Wear and tear of muscle tissues due to overuse or repetitive motion
- Injury or trauma to any specific part of your musculoskeletal system
- Prolonged periods of immobilization
- Improper posture
- Spinal misalignment
In the case of spinal misalignment or shortening of certain muscles, there will be a greater strain on the surrounding muscles, which can cause musculoskeletal pain.
The risk of musculoskeletal pain increases with age. This is because your muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments tend to get weaker as you get older. That being said, younger people are equally vulnerable to musculoskeletal pain. You are at a higher risk of musculoskeletal pain if you
- Have a job that involves manual labor, leading to overuse of muscles and repetitive motions
- Are involved in combat sports or other physical activities that can increase the risk of injury
- Spend a significant part of your day sitting in front of a screen, leading to poor posture
- Don’t get sufficient physical activity over the course of a day, as inactivity can cause your muscles to get stiff
The most obvious symptom of musculoskeletal pain is experiencing pain or dull ache throughout the body. Some people feel that every part of their body is aching. Your muscles may feel stiff and sore, causing pain every time you move around. In some cases, you may experience inflammation in your muscles and some twitching as well. The other common symptoms of musculoskeletal pain are:
- Disturbances during sleep
- Constant pain
- Fatigue, even after you rest
Surgery is not the ideal solution for musculoskeletal pain. Your doctor might consider it as a last resort. Thankfully, there are numerous non-surgical treatment options that you can opt for. These include:
- Injections: In certain cases, the patient is injected with anti-inflammatory or anesthetic medication in the affected areas
- Therapeutic Massage
- Acupuncture: Alternative medicine has proven effective for treating musculoskeletal pain, including acupuncture and acupressure
- Physical Therapy
- Biofeedback Techniques
- Exercise: You might have to perform some exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles
- Chiropractic Care
Other treatments include the following prescription drugs:
- Muscle Relaxers
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
- General Pain Medications
When to Request an Evaluation?
You should schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above. Delaying diagnosis can cause your condition to worsen, leading to further problems.
Preparing for Your Appointment
During your appointment, you will have to undergo a comprehensive physical exam. Your doctor might also prescribe some tests or X-Rays to diagnose the condition. Be prepared to answer questions about your medical history, your symptoms, the intensity of the pain and the frequency at which you experience it.