Muscle aches

  • Definition

    Muscle aches and pains are common and can involve more than one muscle. Muscle pain also can involve ligaments, tendons, and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones, and organs.

    See also:

    • Muscle cramps
    • Joint pain

    Alternative Names

    Muscle pain; Myalgia; Pain - muscles


    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 pain is fibromyalgia, a condition that includes tenderness in your muscles and surrounding soft tissue, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and headaches.

    Common Causes

    The most common causes are:

    • Injury or trauma including sprains and strains
    • Overuse: using a muscle too much, too soon, too often
    • Tension or stress

    Muscle pain may also be due to:

    • Certain drugs, including:
      • ACE inhibitors for lowering blood pressure
      • Cocaine
      • Statins for lowering cholesterol
    • Dermatomyositis
    • Electrolyte imbalances like too little potassium or calcium
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Infections, including:
      • Influenza (the flu)
      • Lyme disease
      • Malaria
      • Muscle abscess
      • Polio
      • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
      • Trichinosis (roundworm)
    • Lupus
    • Polymyalgia rheumatica
    • Polymyositis
    • Rhabdomyolysis