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Muscle inflammation occurs when various muscles of the body become irritated and swollen, often leading to varying degrees of pain. Inflammatory medical conditions such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, or arthritis are common causes of chronic inflammation of the muscles. Muscle injuries or strains may also lead to inflammation in some cases. Treatment options include lifestyle modification as well as the use of over-the-counter or prescription medications.
The first step in treating muscle inflammation is to schedule an appointment with a doctor. The doctor may order a variety of tests in order to determine whether the inflammation is due to a chronic disease or other factors. If a chronic disease is present, treatment for the inflamed muscles may be combined with other treatment methods for the disease itself.
Medications are often needed to treat the pain associated with muscle inflammation. Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help to reduce some of the inflammation while alleviating the pain so that the patient can function at a more normal level. If these medications do not provide sufficient pain relief, the doctor may prescribe stronger medications. Some patients have reported symptom relief when taking dietary supplements such as fish oil capsules.
Heat therapy can be a very beneficial way to treat muscle inflammation. Many patients respond more positively to this type of treatment than with the use of medications. Heated pads and gels can be purchased at most drug stores without a prescription. Electric heating pads may be used as well, although care should be taken to avoid burning the skin. Hot baths or showers may also provide pain relief and help to increase blood flow to the affected areas.
Dietary changes and getting plenty of rest may help to alleviate chronic muscle inflammation. Patients who are able to get at least eight hours of sleep per night often report lowered pain levels during the day. Some foods may trigger inflammation and may need to be avoided. These foods may include sugar, wheat, and flour. In some cases, juices that have undergone the pasteurization process or packaged meats, especially deli meats, may lead to inflammation in some people.
If the patient attempts to treat the pain associated with muscle inflammation at home without success, further medical evaluation may be necessary. In some cases, additional medications such as muscle relaxants or steroid medications may be needed to reduce the inflammation and provide pain relief. Any questions or concerns about this type of inflammation should be discussed with a doctor.