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What is Myalgia?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Myalgia translates to muscle pain. It is fair to say that most people experience one or two cases of the condition, at least, in a lifetime. Most often the pain is caused by straining or overuse of a muscle. It can occur in any muscle group, at any time of life. Myalgia that is not caused by muscle strain can be present in a large number of infectious diseases, anything from the common influenza to illnesses like Lyme disease. Some autoimmune diseases like lupus and fibromyalgia can cause significant muscle pain.

The muscle pain may be mild, or it can be severe if one has damaged a muscle. When pain that does not seem related to an illness is present for more than three days, one should see a physician. This is particularly important if one notices redness or swelling around the painful area, or if one has recently come into contact with a tick. If one has received a tick bite, it is very important to have the tick tested to rule out Lyme Disease. This can cause progressive damage to the body, but at onset can be easily treated with antibiotics. As well, any myalgia accompanied by fever for more than two days warrants consulting a physician.

Muscle pain that involves extreme soreness and inhibition of movement in the neck, accompanied by fever, can be very serious. If one cannot touch the chin to the chest, this may indicate pain caused by meningitis. This condition needs immediate medical attention. Parents who have children complaining of neck pain and fever, should direct their children to try the chin to chest stretch before calling the doctor, but even if the child can do this, a pediatrician should still be contacted.

Myalgia from overuse of a muscle is usually treated with alternating hot and cold packs on the muscle affected. Massage may also be of benefit. Treatment may also include taking ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen. Ibuprofen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are preferred because they may reduce swelling. However, muscle pain is the body’s way of communicating that rest of the muscle is needed. If the medication completely resolves pain it is possible to experience yet more pain by continuing to use the affected muscle or muscles.

Regular gentle exercise can be helpful to those who suffer from myalgia due to inactive lifestyles. As well, stretching before strenuous exercise can help reduce the risk of muscle pain. It is normal when beginning an exercise regimen to feel some pain after exercising. Muscles that have not been used frequently will be sore at first. If the pain is extreme, this may mean injury to a muscle.

Those who have myalgia as a result of autoimmune diseases may find some reduction in pain with gentle stretching exercises. Many with lupus and fibromyalgia find that especially Hatha yoga, also called gentle yoga, can help reduce muscle pain. For those who have movement difficulties, another helpful exercise regime is chair yoga, which eliminates standing poses.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon984128 — On Jan 06, 2015

Reading all these comments is quite moving. I am not sure about the treatment you are getting, however, I suggest to always get at least two medical opinions, and to do your own reading, in order to understand your symptoms and possible diagnosis. A lot of doctors unfortunately only follow normal procedures. The patient comes, take the anamneses, make a half-hearted diagnosis and prescribe some medication. If it works, fine. If not, prescribe something else.

If there are symptoms not fitting in the picture, often they will be ignored. Maybe it's because often there are no answers, or maybe there are different clinical pictures, and we just look at one. Many symptoms are aggravated by our fears, our uncertainty and the feeling of being alone with the disease. Be mindful: it doesn't cure you, but it keeps you sane and brings things back into perspective. Cheers.

By anon963022 — On Jul 27, 2014

Don't expect anything from doctors. They only know how to read blood work, nothing more. They are in it for the money, and are only interested in getting you in and out the door. I know. I've been dealing with illness since I was 24 and I'm not 58. Change your diet. That's your only hope to help yourself.

By anon347962 — On Sep 12, 2013

I was on all the statins out there and now I'm told I have myalgia, paresthesias snd neuropathy. What do I take to help this?

By anon339952 — On Jun 28, 2013

I am 67 and I run 15 miles a week. I used to run 50 miles a week. I have been suffering with myalgia for years and didn't know until now that I have it. I was told by doctor to carry on running.

By anon293819 — On Sep 27, 2012

I hate to say this, but has anyone tried marijuana? I do not know what is wrong with me but all of a sudden, slowly but surely, my whole body started hurting. I could not even bend over to kiss my kids good night.

I never believed marijuana helped with pain but now I do. I have no pain now. I am going to stop smoking to see if the pain comes back. If it does I do not know what I will do. I hate pills/chemicals.

By anon291545 — On Sep 14, 2012

If it is not lupus, fibro or a statin, your brittle joints, migrating pain, anxiety, insomnia and about 100 other symptoms could be caused by fluoroquinolone toxicity. These are the most toxic and dangerous antibiotics on the market. Stronger and more toxic than chemo. The sad thing about these antibiotics, other than the fact that they are not to be handed out like candy but are, is the delayed reaction. Sometimes it will be months after finishing a dose of Cipro, Levaquin or Avelox before the first symptom appears. Sometimes the affects are immediate. One pill can leave you dead or permanently disabled. A severe "floxing" which is what they call those of us who have been damaged by these horrible pills, can take seven to eight years. The effects are cumulative.

There is no way to leech the toxin from your body. There is no cure. It will destroy your life. There are many natural antibiotics out there. Colloidal silver is one, along with D-Mannose for bladder infections and so on. Please I beg you do not ever take a fluoroquinolone. This drug keeps big pharma and doctors in business because it keeps people disabled for months, years and a lifetime. You will run from doctor to doctor and they will misdiagnosed you, give you more medication, which your body will not be able to tolerate due to the P450 enzyme damage the quinolones have caused.

Your DNA, CNS, ligaments, tendons, collagen, cartilage, eyes, hips, joints, heart, muscles, skin and hearing will all be damaged beyond repair. You will age prematurely. The pain can be so severe it feels like you are being burned alive. Do not touch this medication.

By anon282002 — On Jul 26, 2012

My GP said I have myalgia. He was generally dismissive of the pain I have in my hands and arm. It wakes me up from sleep. Since I am on a range of drugs to control a heart condition, he says I just have to put up with it.

Can anyone give any worthwhile suggestions that don't require more drugs or natural therapies that work?

By anon276775 — On Jun 26, 2012

I feel for all of you, as I am a sufferer. There's no sleeping in this much pain. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia four years ago and my god it doesn't get any easier.

Yet again, the X-ray on my hip are clear and the ultrasound is clear. You name it, and it's all clear. You could easily take to your bed if only you could sleep. I wake up so tired. Now I'm fed up with it and take cocodamol and citalopram.

By anon276760 — On Jun 26, 2012

Can myalgia affect hearing?

By anon213782 — On Sep 12, 2011

In August, I was hospitalized with what doctor thought was a TIA (mini stroke) I temporary lost mobility of my right leg and muscle weakness of right arm.

My Ana came back positive four times for lupus, yet they say is not lupus, after several more test, cat scan, mri and spinal tap, all the autoimmune all came back negative, still no diagnoses. I'm currently doing therapy three times a week, and although I'm currently walking I get tired easily, where I need a cane for support. I can't lift my right leg to do any kind of exercise and my left is also feeling heavy, just not as heavy.

I was just prescribed gabapentin 300 mg, last night I felt like my mind and heart were raising, haven't slept in 24 hours. I'm frustrated beyond words. My neurologist is great, but still no answer. Please help.

By anon174686 — On May 11, 2011

Like poster #16, I'm in the same predicament. I seem to get injured very very easily. Muscle strains all over my body. I started doing yoga. It didn't help. It made some of it worse in fact.

We need a place to compare notes. I know that I've taken lots of cold medicine like Sudafed my whole life and I wonder if that has made my muscles very stiff and brittle. I think some of these medicines on the shelves are doing damage to us and we aren't getting the whole story from the manufacturers.

By anon138258 — On Dec 30, 2010

i have been hurting all over my body, including my back, legs, shoulders, neck and arms. It's been going on for years. I talk to my doctor about these problems and they just look at me like I'm nuts or something so i just hold it in and let it go but now it's getting worse.

The pain is keeping me up at night and making me cry and I have made er visits and they can't find out anything, but one doctor suggested that it could be myalgia and another person told me that the doctors here don't know what they re looking for because she has fibromyalgia and it took them years to detect it. Is it possible that he made a mistake and this has been going on for over three years?

By anon135046 — On Dec 16, 2010

My friend has been diagnosed with hepatatis B positive. He is about 26 years old. Is there a cure for this or is he going to continue with this sickness life long. What are the implications in life with this sickness? Will be able to get married and have children. If he gets married, will this sickness be transferred to his wife and children? How about close contact with him? Is it dangerous? Please clarify.

By anon125913 — On Nov 10, 2010

My husband took Lovastatin 1 year ago and is still in agony and pain in his muscles. He has tried CoQ10 and just started taking L Carnatine. Nothing has really helped. This is with a normal Ck level. We are asking for a muscle biopsy. sorry we still haven't found anything to help with the pain except for a slow release morphine but even that only makes you sleep.

By anon103533 — On Aug 12, 2010

No 10: Get your CPK level tested as well as your serum myoglobin. You likely have rhabdomylosis which is the destruction of you muscle cells and can lead to kidney failure. My husband has been going through this all summer.

By anon98184 — On Jul 22, 2010

I had the most excruciating pain for three weeks. A five- second trip to the bathroom would take five minutes and leave me in tears; the pain was just profound. I was 34 at the time and a well toned fit man. Turned out simple dicoflenic did it for me. Funny really, that a simple drug stopped it.

By anon73957 — On Mar 30, 2010

I have been diagnosed by one Dermatologist with HSV1 Stomatitis ans was treated with Valtrex Acyclovir for seven days.

After a few days i saw another doctor to get a second opinion, and this time I was diagnosed with aphthous ulcers and given Nexium and Maalox for five days. the ulcers seemed to disappear with this medication. At my visit to the original doctor, I told him about this and his response that it was indeed stomatitis and that it was herpetic.

When he examined my mouth he said that the ulcers were gone, and to report to him within 24-48 hours if there is a repeated episode. After about one week these ulcers started appearing again but not as bad as the original ones.

i have been reading everything and trying hard to boost my immune system. Do you have any advice. i also have a dental issue and will see the dentist tonight.

By anon73280 — On Mar 26, 2010

I have been and am still taking simvastatin for about 16 months for cholesterol. For the last 12 months, I have very weak leg muscles and left hand shakes and extreme weakness, usually after being idle for a while.

It scares me, but my doctor doesn't seem to be concerned. I have some pain and discomfort but not severe. This prevents me for walking too far away from my home at any time.

Is there another drug that doesn't have these side effects for cholesterol?

By anon51790 — On Nov 09, 2009

I have severe pain in both my thighs about once every month. When I get them, I can't move and I'm in a lot of pain. I have had them ever since I was little. My dad said he got them when he was young and that it was just growing pains. I am not growing anymore and I still get them. Is it some sort of myalgia?

By anon50299 — On Oct 27, 2009

I recently suffered a painful bout of pleurisy and now have been told i have myalgiaa. Nothing seems to be giving any relief. what can i do? (i'm 20.)

By anon44234 — On Sep 06, 2009

i have got pain in my tongue along with inflammation for the past year and a half, and it has not been diagnosed yet. some doctors say it is neuralgia, some say it is styloid process and now one doctor has suggested it is myalgia. i have been operated once for styloid process but have had no results from it. as you can well imagine my situation as to what kind of dilemma i am in as my problem is not been diagnosed yet. i am very upset. kindly suggest me what to do and where to go. waiting for answers. thank you. Tanya Sharma

By engelam — On Jun 25, 2009

I had a mastectomy(left side) about a year and a half ago as a result of Gr3 -Her2-neu breast cancer. I have had 6 doses of andromycin and 6 doses of taxotere as well as 35 radiation sessions

I have been experiencing excruciating pains in my left elbow and shoulder with numbness in my hand. My elbow is worst and very tender to the touch. I cannot pick up anything without pain with my left arm.

Also when I sit in a certain position I experience bone pain in my pelvic bone.

I am on Herceptin at the moment.

Could you please advise on these symptoms?

By anon32540 — On May 23, 2009

Can lipitor and an antibiotic cause myalgia?

By anon26682 — On Feb 17, 2009

I have suffered for 11 years with pain that no doctor could diagnose. I took ibuprofin for 10 years and changed the way I lived my life to cope with the daily pain.

Two years ago I learned about fibromyalgia and asked my doctor to examine me; and he agreed that I did have it and told me to take tylenol and 2 antidepressants, one was to help me get better sleep. The tylenol didn't work so I went back to Ibuprofin. The antidepressant to help me sleep didn't change the way I felt every morning.

Starting the day racked with pain is very difficult.

My relief came in alternative vitamins and supplements. After taking a supplement called Myalgia-X for 2 days I woke up with no pain.

This product contains malic acid, and magnesium as well as boswella and bromalain

I have since started taking 5-htp to get better sleep and MSM, Gluslosamine and condriotin to help with the daytime aches and pains.

I say take charge of your pain and try some of these products I do not take any Ibuprofin or prescription meds and I feel 90% better

Linda Vandevyvere

By PatsyAnn — On Jun 06, 2008

I had a lumpectomy over 2 months ago and woke from the anesthesia in excruciating pain. So much so that I was given 4 different narcotics to give me relief. I have had extreme muscle and joint pain ever since that day, having to take the maximum amount of Tylenol to get any relief. Stronger drugs tear up my stomach, either diarrhea, constipation, or nausea or all of the above. Is there anything known about myalgia after anesthesia, like the speed with which you are woken up, or the drugs used to bring one back. And more importantly what can be done to counteract this pain. Thank you for any advice or direction.

By yodatasha — On Jul 03, 2007

I want to know what causes myalgia encephalitica because I have a six year old son who is suffering from this disease. He normally have pains in both thighs and would have to be carried when he start having the pains. I really want to know about all these

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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