Aches and Pains - Causes and Ways to Get Relief
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:
- Flus or colds
- Food Allergies
- Heart Attack
- Vitamin Deficiency
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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
- 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"
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 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
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Joint and muscle pain
Milk allergies can produce stomach cramps and many other negative symptoms but muscle or joint aches are uncommon.
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.
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.
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.
Chains used in dividers from Clipart 101