Whether you’re 18 or 80, most of us have experienced aches and pains. It’s pretty clear where some of them come from, such as back and period pain. However, sometimes we get aches and pains that don’t seem to have an obvious source. Learning more about what causes common aches and pains can help you deal with them.
WHY DO I GET ACHES AND PAINS?
Pain is your body’s natural way of telling you that something is wrong. There could be many reasons for aches and pains:
STRAINS AND SPRAINS
Strains and sprains occur when muscles, joints and ligaments have been used too much, too soon, or too often. Damage to these soft tissues is usually accompanied by inflammation.
Muscle strains and sprains can also be a result of tension or stress, poor sitting and lifting posture. It can also be caused by prolonged and repetitive movements like typing or writing.
It’s tough having to deal with the miserable symptoms of coughs and colds, such as shivering, fever and a sore throat. But your body can also feel achy and sore as a result of infection. These body aches and pains are often described as a dull, continuous pain all over the body.
These pains can be the result of your immune system releasing chemicals into your body to help fight off infection. These chemicals send signals to your brain which you feel as pain.
MORE COMPLEX PROBLEMS
Body aches and pains can sometimes be the result of complex, long-term problems. For example, in nerve pain (or neuropathic pain), signalling systems in your spinal cord and brain may be damaged. The body interprets the erratic signals as aches, pains and other sensations such as tingling and numbness.
HOW DO I RELIEVE BODY ACHES AND PAINS?
Pain normally works as your body’s early warning system, so it’s helpful to address the source of pain where you can. This could mean changing the layout of your office desk to improve your sitting posture, or to reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A MUSCLE STRAIN OR SPRAIN:
- Rest that part of the body.
- Take steps to reduce swelling and inflammation in the first few days - follow the PRICE (Protect,Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) principle or take a pain reliever alongside PRICE treatment, such as Nurofen to relieve pain.
- After the first few days, heat therapy can often feel soothing
- Try some gentle exercise like walking or swimming
WHEN YOU SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT ACHES AND PAINS
In most cases, rest, gentle exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way towards a natural recovery. Pain relievers, such as Nurofen, can help temporarily relieve aches and pains, so that they don’t stop you completely.
For some people constant aches could be due to some underlying cause such as an inherited condition, or a long-term medical problem like diabetes or arthritis.
If your pain persists after a couple of days, don't ignore it - visit your doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible.
All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health matters please contact your doctor. UK/N/0215/0011c