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Aches and Pains - Causes and Ways to Get Relief

Updated on August 9, 2013
Aches and pains
Aches and pains

Aches and Pains

"Aches and pains" is a far reaching term covering a variety of complaints of soreness that people may have.

It can refer to an overall achiness throughout the body or isolated points of pain such as the joints or limbs. Unlike pain that has an identifiable cause, such as soreness following moving heavy furniture or other "back-breaking" work, aches and pains can be hard to explain.

This article investigates various types of aches and pains, what may be causing them and how to get some relief.

Causes of Aches and Pains

Common causes of achiness (alphabetically) include:

  • Arthritis
  • Diseases
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Flus or colds
  • Food Allergies
  • Heart Attack
  • Hormones
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Vitamin Deficiency

Arthritis Pain

Arthritis is a very painful condition that takes place were joints meet: knees, elbows, knuckles - wherever that "hinge" of two bones come together. In addition to pain and aching, there is likely to be swelling and redness. Arthritis can be triggered by an injury, infection or the wear and tear of time.

Pain-reducing methods:

  • Minimize the pain by taking over-the-counter medications* such a Acetominophen (Tylenol), Ibuprophen (Advil), aspirin or Naproxen (Aleve).
  • Topical pain-killing creams, ointments, sprays and patches.
  • Physical therapy and/or a mild exercise routine. Water exercise is a very effective, low-impact form of exercise therapy.
  • Adding anti-oxidant rich foods to the diet, especially those with much Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to be helpful in preventing or slowing the progress of arthritis.
  • Taking a warm bath before bed to help your muscles relax.

*Seek the advice of your physician when using pain relievers of any kind as all of them have some possible side effects.

Resources: Public Medical Health, Arthritis Foundation and Water Exercise

Diseases That Cause Pain

A number of diseases come with aches and pains. In addition to arthritis and influenza, two diseases that are not always easy to diagnosis and cause aches and pains are Gout, Lyme Disease and Celiac Disease.

Gout is a condition caused by a malfunction of the body's ability to process uric acid. Instead of properly metabolizing it, uric acid crystals build up in the joints of feet and hands. Usually the first sign is pain in the big toes. They become very tender to the touch, swell, get warm and turn reddish in color. There are medications to curb the pain of Gout but changes in diet and losing weight are extremely important in getting relief.

Cherry juice has been said to bring relief to the painful symptoms of gout.

Resource: Gout Symptoms; Tart Cherry Juice & Gout

Lyme Disease is a serious disease that can elude diagnosis. Most often, Lyme Disease is contracted from being bit by an infected deer tick and the victim develops an oval shaped rash in the area of the bite. This, however, is not the only way Lyme Disease can be contracted and sometimes the classic symptoms are nowhere to be found.

If caught early enough, the aches and pains associated with Lyme Disease will diminish or completely disappear when the patient is treated with the correct antibiotics. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to complete recovery. Late diagnosis or misdiagnosis can lead to a lifetime of pain and heartache.

Resource: Lyme Disease in Dogs, Cats and Humans.

Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune disease akin to a wheat allergy. Celiac Disease most definitely can cause aches and pains due to the lack of absorption of nutrients.

Resource: Celiac Disease (Mayo Clinic Article), Celiac Disease Symptoms


Fibromyalgia is a pain-causing syndrome which comes with a combination of symptoms. It can afflict anyone but is more prominent in women 25 to 60 years old.

The symptoms of Fibromyalgia can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tender points of pain and lower tolerance for pain
  • Extreme fatigue - to the point that it incapacitates
  • Pains all over
  • Stiffness, especially when waking from a long sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Tingling or loss of feeling in hands or feet
  • Foggy thinking

Though the pain can seem very much like osteoarthritis, bursitis or tendinitis, in fibromyalgia the pain is not localized. It is everywhere!

No cure has been found for this syndrome. Your physician may elect to prescribe a combination of medications to minimize pain, depression, sleeplessness and stress. Physical therapy can also prove to be very helpful.

Resource: NY Times article "Fibromyalgia"

Aches and Pains of Colds and Flu
Aches and Pains of Colds and Flu

Flus and Colds

Influenza and the common cold are both viral in origin and come with body aches. While treating the symptoms, you will want to alleviate the achiness as best you can.

If vomiting or diarrhea are part of the flu episode, loss of electrolytes (potassium, sodium and chloride) will cause muscle aches.

Soon as fluids can be tolerated, clear liquids should be introduced to prevent dehydration. Drinks containing electrolytes will also help to reduce those aches and pains. Oral re-hydration beverages--such as Gatorade or Pedialyte-- are sold in local pharmacies and grocery stores.

When solid food is reintroduced, bananas are high in potassium and can be very effective in fighting body aches.

Resources: Cold, Flu and Cough Health Center

Food Allergies

Food allergies seldom cause joint or muscle pain. The one exception is "wheat" allergies and, more specifically, Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Intolerance. In these cases, the many negative by-products of this allergy can include joint distress.

The symptoms of wheat allergies and Gluten Sensitivity may include:

  • Abdominal Pain
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Hyperactive
  • Joint and muscle pain

Milk allergies can produce stomach cramps and many other negative symptoms but muscle or joint aches are uncommon.

Aches and pains a sign of heart attack?
Aches and pains a sign of heart attack?

Heart Attack Signs in Women

It is commonly believed that the sign of a heart attack is a gripping pain in the chest. While that is true, it is not always true. In fact, women quite frequently have symptoms that do not appear to have anything to do with the heart and, if ignored, can have catastrophic results.

The atypical signs of heart attacks in women include:

  • pain in the back, jaw or neck
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • weakness or fatigue
  • indigestion, nausea and even vomiting

Resource: Heart Disease Sign & Symptoms

Hormones And Pain

Women experience a variety of pains that are related to hormones.

Menstruation - menstrual cramps are a well known source of pain caused by the menstrual cycle. Joint and muscle aches and headaches can also accompany the pain of menstruation. Over-the-counter pain remedies can taken to bring relief to aches and pains, at "that time of month". Those preferring natural remedies for the discomforts of menstruation find the Chinese herb Dong Quai to be very helpful.

Pregnancy - a woman's entire body changes when pregnant. Aches and pains can accompany pregnancy from the start but especially as the baby grows and the mother's body has to support more weight. Note: Never self-medicate when pregnant! Ask your physician for help with aches and pains.

Menopause - as a woman's body goes through a reversal process from child-bearing years, hormones direct the change. With that "change of life", comes a variety of symptoms. Aches and pains can easily be a part of it. Pain medications such as Ibuprophen or Acetominophen can be helpful. Natural remedies such as the herb Horsetail (also called Silica) and Dong Quai can bring some relief, as well. It is noteworthy that Horsetail is also beneficial in the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis.

Resource: 34 Menopause Symptoms

Obesity and Joint Aches

It makes sense that people who are overweight, especially those who are extremely large, would suffer from aches and pains. Their bodies have to work much harder for the simplest tasks: sitting, standing, bending over to put on shoes, walking, etc. The more excess weight, the greater the challenge to simply move.

Losing weight is not an easy task, but it is essential to feeling better. There are many sensible weight loss plans on the market. According to US News & World Report, Weight Watchers® continues to be the number one most effective plan in America.

Resources: Obesity and Joint Pain and Weight Watchers Points Plus®

Stress Symptoms and Physical Pain

Those who are suffering from stress may or may not know that they are under stress.

Stress symptoms come in many packages including emotional signs of stress: restlessness, inability to focus, impatience, angry outbursts, over eating, trouble making decisions, etc.

The physical signs of stress can include neck and shoulder pain, tense muscles, muscle spasms and chest pains.

A March 4, 2012 article in the Huffington Post reported that scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg have connected stress with physical pain. It's real.

Resource: Study Finds Link Between Stress and Physical Pain

Vitamin D Deficiency

If you are suffering with chronic body aches and pains that have little or no explanation, you may have a Vitamin D deficiency. In a 2003 University of Minnesota study of people complaining of non-descript body pain, 93% of them proved to have little or no Vitamin D in their bodies.

Vitamin D therapy can be very effective in turning this around but be sure to pursue this avenue under your doctor's advisement. This is a rarity but there are some people who should not take Vitamin D. Your doctor will know if it is safe for you.

Resource: Vitamin D Deficiency

About the Author

Sinea Pies is a freelance writer for a popular parenting magazine, professional blogger on her own website Ducks 'n a Row.

Note: this article is informational but should not be considered to be medical advice. If you are in pain, seek the advice of your physician.

Photo credit: "Heart Surgery" by digitalart and "Woman with High Fever" by Michal Marcal on freedigital photos dot com.

Chains used in dividers from Clipart 101


Submit a Comment

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thank you so much Rajan Jolly

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 

    5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    Very comprehensive hub and useful solutions. Very well laid out hub Sinea.

    Voted up and useful.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    KT Banks, I don't know. I'm not medically astute but in my own case with other kinds of aches & pains I've firmly believed that hormones (or the lack thereof) have something to do with it. For Fibromyalgia? I would be interested in hearing other people's experiences as well. Thanks so much for the big vote up.

  • KT Banks profile image

    KT Banks 

    5 years ago from Texas

    I've discovered a weird thing about Fibromyalgia. With me, it seems to have cycles. I can go for a few months at a time with just a little soreness and pain, and go about life almost normally. Then there are times it is really bad and hard to deal with and makes me quite edgy. I wonder if it is that way with most people? I don't take prescribed drugs for it. I stay as far away from pharmaceuticals as I can get by with because of the long term effects most of them have.

    Thanks for sharing this information. Voted Up and more.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    billybuc, thank you so much! You're the best!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Wonderful article my friend! I am big on listening to my own body. After sixty-four years I have a pretty good grasp of what a normal ache is as opposed to something not normal. I shrug off the normal; I will not shrug off the abnormal, not at this age.

    Great job; sharing on Facebook with a few writers' groups.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks BlissfulWriter for the great input. :)

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    ChristyWrites, isn't amazing the damage stress can do? Wow. Glad you're feeling. better. Just today my husband was diagnosed with arthritis in his knee. The pain has been so bad, you'd think the man had just had surgery! It's horrible. Thanks so much for the vote up and sharing!

  • BlissfulWriter profile image


    5 years ago

    There are so many reasons that might cause joint pain. Long term statin use can also result in muscle and joint pain. A person who is gluten sensitive and consume gluten may also eventually develop joint pain and rheumatoid arthritis. Gluten sensitivity can be easily checked with a blood test.

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 

    5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I remember being under so much stress that I could not even put my back straight when I sat because it hurt so much. I am feeling better than that lately but do remember the damage. Good, useful hub. Vote up and sharing.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    So sorry to hear that you have firsthand experience with this, moonlake.

  • moonlake profile image


    5 years ago from America

    Heart attack pain in women can be very unusual.

    I was also so cold I was going to be bed with a flannel gown, leggings, a house coat and socks.

    Voted uP!

  • Deborah Brooks profile image

    Deborah Brooks Langford 

    5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

    My worse pains are from Fibromyalgia and I have developed food allergies in my old age. if I do not exercise on a regular basis and if I eat any kind of pre packaged food and or cans foods and fast foods.. oh my I will get real sick and caffeine almost kills me..

    thank you for a great hub



  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Of course, this article was dealing with inexplicable aches and pains so heart attack symptoms in women was featured. Men have more than one symptom that can mean a heart attack that should not be ignored...the classic chest-gripping pain isn't the only one.

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    5 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks for the confirmation, always exploring.

  • Frank Atanacio profile image

    Frank Atanacio 

    5 years ago from Shelton

    Pies.. yeah this was a very good share.. I too didn't know that folks with Lyme disease didn't show the classic signs.. I also thought women didn't have signs of heart attacks.. just men .. a very good hub

  • always exploring profile image

    Ruby Jean Richert 

    5 years ago from Southern Illinois

    Since i have Celiac disease this was a very interesting article. You covered it nicely. Thank you..

  • Sinea Pies profile imageAUTHOR

    Sinea Pies 

    6 years ago from Northeastern United States

    Thanks, healthylife2. I too had not realized that about Lyme Disease until I researched it for a Hub. The undiagnosed cases are a horror story.

  • healthylife2 profile image

    Healthy Life 

    6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

    Excellent advice on how to deal with pain caused by many illnesses. I didn't realize people with Lyme disease don't always have the classic symptoms. Voted up useful and interesting.


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