It’s early in the New Year, and people are crowding the gyms to get in shape. If you’re one of them, chances are your body is hurting all over!
Usually, when pain occurs in one part of the body, it’s easy to pinpoint the cause. But generalized aches and pains are another story and are much harder to diagnose.
When your whole body hurts, the cause could be anything from the flu to fibromyalgia. It doesn’t help that these aches tend to be dull and persistent instead of sharp and short-lived.
In most cases, body aches and pains are harmless and resolve on their own without treatment. However, sometimes they’re the result of an underlying illness.
What Causes Generalized Aches and Pain?
Flu or a Bad Cold
Soreness could be a sign that you’re coming down with something like the flu or a bad cold. The prostaglandins that your immune system releases to fight the infection are responsible for the achiness you feel and other symptoms like fever. Pain relievers stop the production of prostaglandins.
Most people have poor posture; they slump over when sitting and hunch their shoulders when walking. Over time this leads to incorrect alignment of the pelvis, and a curved lower back, which causes back pain and muscle tension. The pain usually goes away if you improve your posture and stretch or workout more often.
Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Many people who suffer from generalized body aches have no physical condition that accounts for their symptoms. In such cases, the cause may be psychological.
Stress can weaken your immunity and cause inflammation leading to mysterious soreness. Similarly, anxiety disorders can lead to pain, muscle tension, and headaches.
Depending on the severity, you can treat this pain with relaxation techniques, therapy, or medication.
Water is necessary to keep your body functioning optimally. When you’re dehydrated, essential bodily functions become more taxing, which can leave you feeling sore all over. Thankfully, you can relieve this kind of pain by drinking six to eight glasses of water daily.
Lack of quality sleep
Your body requires sleep for rest and recovery. Lack of sleep can make you feel sluggish and sore. The obvious solution is to get more sleep. However, if you struggle with insomnia or any other condition that keeps you up at night, talk to your doctor about it.
Serious Medical Conditions
Body aches can point to an underlying medical condition such as mono, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, pneumonia, arthritis, and various autoimmune disorders. If the pain or soreness refuses to go away on its own, disrupts your daily life, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as shortness of breath, weakness, or fever, see your doctor.
Generalized body aches and pain can be annoying at their mildest, and a sign of a severe medical condition at their worst.
Most of the time, all you need is a tall glass of water, some pain relievers, and a good night’s sleep. However, don’t wait to seek medical attention if the pain is accompanied by other symptoms and persists after you’ve tried your home remedies.