Also known as myalgia, muscle pain is a condition caused by varying factors. Many sufferers may have endured muscle pain as they feel like it’s a normal type of bearable pain that doesn’t need medical attention. However, the pain progresses into more serious conditions in some cases, primarily triggered by the lack of medical intervention.
This is why it is essential to understand muscle pains and the common muscle pain triggers to determine what habits to avoid to preserve your muscle health.
Common Muscle Pain Triggers
To get started, let’s identify the common muscle pain triggers and see if these triggers could have been the cause of the muscle pain you’re experiencing right now.
Overuse and Repetitive Strain
Due to repetitive motions and constant use, you can suffer from acute to chronic muscle pain. The affected body parts are commonly the muscles, tendons, and nerves surrounding the affected area. The most common parts of the body to experience overuse and repetitive strain are the knees, wrists, fingers and thumbs, elbows, shoulders, and arms.
Affected individuals are mostly those who engage in routine tasks, like athletes, musicians, and people who sit in front of the computer for long hours. Individuals with physically-demanding jobs are also prone to suffering from this condition.
Overuse and repetitive strain could progress to injury, leading to more serious conditions like stress fractures, ganglion cysts, nerve compression syndromes, herniated disks, Dupuytren’s contracture, and bursitis. One of the worst injuries you could get is a spinal cord injury which could cause persistent muscle spasms. Prescription drugs like Zanaflex could manage the spasms.
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Poor Posture and Ergonomics
If you’re used to poor posture, your body will cope and create more stability by tightening certain muscles or muscle groups, leading to muscle soreness and pain. For instance, one of the most common poor postures is called the forward head. In this position, your head will be in front of the body’s midline instead of being aligned with the neck.
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With a forward head, your neck and head muscles would need to support more weight than usual. Normally, the muscles in your neck and head would support 10-12 pounds of weight, but with a bad posture, the affected muscles would have to carry 27-60 pounds of weight.
Additionally, poor posture weakens and puts more strain on the muscles, making it harder for them to maintain the body’s stability and position in the long term. Poor posture also tightens outer muscles, wearing them out and resulting in chronic pain and soreness.
The muscles attached to the joints assist in the body’s optimal functionality. To maintain peak performance of the body, the length and strength of the muscles in our body should be balanced.
Generally, our joints and muscles would maintain a neutral position from childhood. However, when we start incorporating routines and repetitive tasks into our daily lives, our body adapts to these activities, causing muscle imbalances.
It could trigger more tightened muscles and connective tissue on one side of the body, affecting our movement in the long run. If you ignore these imbalances, it could progress to chronic pain or, worse, immobility.
Lack of Exercise and a Sedentary Lifestyle
Physical inactivity can also lead to chronic muscle pain. Your muscles will stiffen and weaken when you don’t get enough physical activity. And if you have weak muscles, you will be more at risk of injuries. This is because when we exercise, we also allow our muscles to break down and recover, leading to the repair of more robust and larger muscles.
When we exercise, we also experience muscle soreness. This is an important part of the process because this is when the buildup of lactic acid happens, signaling the repair of muscles. Even walking can make a difference.
After all, it’s a basic movement our body is designed to perform daily. You can also do stretches to improve your body’s overall flexibility.
Identifying Muscle Pain Triggers
There are different ways to identify muscle pain triggers: self-assessment, observation, and consulting a professional.
Self-Assessment and Observation
You know your body’s limits. If you feel like the muscle pain you’re experiencing is more severe than usual, don’t wait until you can’t move the affected part of the body. And if you can’t pinpoint the possible cause of the pain, driving your way to your doctor’s clinic could be the best option.
Consult your doctor and tell them what you’ve observed about the pain you’re experiencing, whether it got worse or if the pain level is unsteady.
Seeking Professional Help
Depending on the type of muscle pain, whether severe or chronic, doctors would administer different interventions to diagnose your muscle pain’s cause. They might order tests like blood tests to check enzyme, hormone, or electrolyte levels, MRI or CT scan, electromyography, and muscle biopsy.
There are different ways to manage muscle pain. Treating muscle pain triggers could vary from rest and recovery physical therapy and rehabilitation, stretching and strengthening exercises, and pain management techniques. Before jumping into the treatment process, make sure to consult a health professional to get the best advice on your condition.