An overview of joints and muscles
Joints represent body parts where bones intersect. Joints facilitate movement of bones. Knees, hips, elbows and shoulders are examples of joints in the body. On the other hand, muscles are soft tissues made of fibers. They are located on the bones and contribute to about half of the body’s weight.
They allow movement of the body, maintain posture, stabilize and strengthen joints and generate heat to maintain a normal body temperature.
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What contributes to aching of joints and muscles?
Aching of joints and muscles is not uncommon. All individuals experience achy joints and muscles at one point or another in their lives. There are numerous factors and conditions that trigger muscle and joint aches.
Simple lifestyle habits-walking or standing or engaging in intense physical exercise for prolonged hours- can cause aching muscles and joints. In this case, getting adequate rest and treatment can alleviate achy muscles and joints. However, in other circumstances, severe medical conditions such as lupus, anemia, and leukemia can cause long term aching of muscles and joints.
When this is the case, it is essential to get proper medical diagnosis to determine the reason why your muscles and joints ache. To get a clear picture of what causes aching of joints and muscles, let us look at several factors that can be possible triggers.
Literally speaking, arthritis refers to joint inflammation. Individuals who suffer from arthritis experience swollen and sore joints and achy muscles. A common type of arthritis is Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease).
This type of arthritis causes the joints surfaces to wear and tear. The American College of Rheumatology articulates that osteoarthritis mostly occurs in adults who are above 40 years. The condition targets joints such as hips, hands, knees and wrists. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another type of arthritis that gradually deforms the joints.
The Arthritis Foundation asserts that RA is common in many people especially women. In America alone, RA affects more than one million individuals. RA causes buildup of fluid in the joints as well as inflammation and pain.
2. Common infections: malaria, Lyme disease, common flu and cold
These infections also activate muscle and joint pain by causing inflammation. They weaken the body’s immune system making it unable to fight off other infections. When the immune system becomes weak, the body is forced to work extra hard to counteract these infections.
In the process, the entire body including muscles and joints is likely to ache. It is therefore necessary to seek medical treatment for such infections to prevent aching of muscles and joints.
According to medical experts, close to 90% of people with lupus are likely to encounter both joint and muscle pain. In most cases, people with lupus complain of joint pain and stiffness as their first symptoms. Joints in the wrists, hands and feet stiffen and become so painful that moving them becomes a nightmare.
At times, the pain is so severe that performing routine tasks-putting on clothes, standing up- becomes a problem. So, how does lupus cause painful joints? Lupus leads to inflammation in the entire body. This means that the thin lining surrounding the joints changes in size (grows and thickens). What follows is swollen and pain joints.
The muscles are also affected when lupus manifests. It is believed that most people who suffer from lupus also experience muscle aches especially between the hip and knee and the neck and elbow.
4. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
This is a condition that results in extreme fatigue and weakness irrespective of the amount of rest or sleep one gets. Since the body feels exhausted, chances are that muscles and joints in the entire body will be stimulated to ache.
This is a chronic condition whose underlying cause is not exactly known. It is often associated with physical trauma and common infections. The severity of this condition differs from one person to another.
It causes irregular sleeping patterns, psychological distress as well as extreme muscle aches. The condition at times goes hand in hand with the occurrence of lupus thus aggravating muscle inflammation. When muscle inflammation occurs, the muscles become swollen and reddened.
6. Vitamin D deficiency
When the body is not supplied with enough Vitamin D, a condition known as Hypocalcemia occurs. In other words, a situation in which there is low blood calcium level manifests. Low calcium in the body means the improper functioning of organs such as muscles. The end result is aching of such organs.
Our bodies need enough water in order to function in a healthy and normal way. When your body is not well hydrated, it is unable to competently execute processes such as breathing. This in turn translates to pain in body organs such as joints and muscles.
Trauma is regarded as one of the factors that leads to pain in the muscles and joints. Trauma can be in form of accidents and injuries from sporting activities. In the event of a trauma, the muscles are subjected to extreme stress which causes fibers to wear out. Damage of joint surfaces also occurs.
The traumatic event can also cause damage ligaments and tendons which also leads to aching of muscles and joints. For instance, an automobile accident, can cause pain in muscles and joints in the neck.
What happens when you are stressed out? The immune system responds in a negative way. Your immune system is deprived of the power to respond accordingly to inflammation. Your body becomes weak and is not in a position to effectively protect itself against diseases and infections.
As a result, body aches such as muscle and joint aches happen. This is because the body becomes very vulnerable to inflammation and all sorts of illnesses. If you attribute your achy joints and muscles to stress, make an effort to significantly reduce stress.
In summary, a wide array of factors and medical conditions cause achy muscles and joints. Although some factors do not cause severe muscle and joint pains, they should not be ignored.
When you constantly experience muscle and joint pains together with severe symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical attention.
The earlier a diagnosis is done, the better the chances of full recovery.