OverviewKey FactsSymptomsCausesRisk factorsDiagnosisCelebs affectedPreventionSpecialist to visitTreatmentHome-careComplicationsAlternatives therapiesLiving withFAQsReferences
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Body Ache

Body Ache

Also known Body pain

Overview

A feeling of generalized, dull aching pain all over the body that may or may not be accompanied by weakness and tiredness is known as body ache. In this, a person is not able to recognize the origin of the pain or the exact location of the pain. Instead, it is characterized generally by dull aching pain or a feeling of soreness all over the body. 

Body aches can vary in intensity and frequency with sharp, intermittent pains or a dull but persistent ache. Body aches often occur in the presence of other symptoms like weakness, fatigue, shivers, and fever.

Body ache is very common and can affect individuals at any age and time. Lifestyle factors such as stress, poor diet, lack of sleep, or strenuous workouts can cause generalized body aches. These can be managed by dietary and lifestyle modifications. However, certain health conditions, such as viral fevers, anemia, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc., can also cause body aches and require medical intervention. 

Over-the-counter painkillers are often used to get symptomatic relief from body aches. However, it is essential to seek medical care when body aches are chronic or associated with any signs of an infection, such as fever, chills, etc. 

Key Facts

Usually seen in
  • All age groups
Gender affected
  • Both men and women but more common in women
Body part(s) involved
  • Whole body
Mimicking Conditions
  • Spasmodic pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Joint pains
  • Disuse atrophy
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Peripheral nerve lesions
  • Soft tissue cancers
  • Blood cancer
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Imbalance of electrolytes 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Peripheral artery disease 
  • Stress 
Specialists to consult
  • General Physician
  • Internal Medicine Specialist
  • Neurologist
  • Immunologist

Symptoms Of Body Ache

Following symptoms are commonly associated with body aches:

  • A dull aching, low-intensity pain that occurs all over the body.

  • Not having enough energy to perform routine activities or a feeling of discomfort while performing routine activities.

  • Not feeling refreshed even after taking ample rest.

  • Sometimes, fever and chills occur along with body ache.

Causes Of Body Ache

There are numerous reasons why a person can get body aches such as:

Lifestyle factors

1. Stress: A constant stressful lifestyle predisposes the body to fatigue and increases wear and tear. The person may become weak and have an increased risk of infections due to a reduced immune response. All this may cause the patient to have body aches. Stress is also known to cause other types of muscular pain, such as tension headaches, stiff and painful shoulders, etc.

2. Heavy exercise: An intense full-body workout session may leave the muscles sore and tired. Sore muscles cause pain. When a large number of muscles are involved, it can cause pain in the whole body.

3. Lack of sleep: Around 6 to 8 hours of sleep is essential for the body. While sleeping, the body regenerates its energy resources and refreshes you. A lack of sleep can hamper the overall health of the body.

4. Dehydration: The human body is made up of about 70% water. When you don’t drink enough water or lose more water than you consume (such as diarrhea), your body gets depleted of its stock of water. All these factors can lead you to feel tired and achy.

5. Nutritional deficiencies: If you do not consume a healthy and balanced diet, you are at risk for nutritional deficiencies. A deficiency of essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, iron, and potassium can cause your body to feel weak, tired, and achy.

6. Medications: Certain medications such as statins (lipid-lowering medicine) or a few blood-pressure relieving medications are known to cause body aches.

Most of us are aware of the effects of stress on our mood, emotions, and behaviors. However, very less is known about the negative impact of stress on key organs and systems of the body. Here is a brief on the effects of stress on the body and how different organs react to stress.



Health Conditions

1. Viral fever: Body aches are a common symptom of viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. Body ache is also a symptom of the novel coronavirus infection which has caused the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. Pneumonia: Infections in the lung, known as pneumonia, can be viral or bacterial. Body aches are a predominant symptom in the early stages of pneumonia.

3. Anemia: Anemia is a health condition caused by the deficiency of the pigment hemoglobin in the blood. It is characterized by weakness, fatigue, body aches, and many other symptoms.

4. Hypothyroidism: This occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t make enough of certain key hormones. It can cause muscle and joint aches, as well as swelling and tenderness. It can make you tired and lead to memory problems, thinning hair, dry skin, high cholesterol, slowed heart rate, and other issues.

5. Multiple sclerosis: This is a chronic neurological disorder that occurs due to demyelination (inflammation that destroys the protective covering of nerve cells). It causes periods of flare-ups characterized by extreme fatigue, weakness, and generalized pain.

6. Fibromyalgia: In this disease, the entire musculoskeletal system of the body gets affected. The muscles feel tired, weak, and achy. The exact cause of this disease is not yet known.

7. Arthritis: Arthritis or inflammation of joints in the body can also cause generalized aches and pains.

8. Lupus: Systemic lupus erythematosus is an auto-immune disorder that affects the skin, joints, and internal organs. It is known to cause muscle and body pain.

9. Chronic fatigue syndrome: It is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for at least six months and that can't be fully explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue worsens with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest.

10. Peripheral neuropathy: A neurological condition that causes numbness, aches, and pains throughout the body. This condition is frequently caused by a traumatic injury to the nervous system or exposure to certain toxins and leads to burning and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. 

11. Depression: Negative emotions, including sadness and anxiety, seem to aggravate chronic pain. Depression is an overwhelming feeling of sadness or loss of interest. It leads to difficulty in sleeping, lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness, or thoughts of commiting suicide. Depression mentally drains the body and predisposes to body aches and pains. 

Risk Factors For Body Ache

If you have a poor and stressful lifestyle or are suffering from any active infections or chronic diseases, you are at an increased risk of suffering from body aches. Women, in general, are at a higher risk for certain diseases, such as fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis. These are some of the known causes of body aches.


Pain is nature’s way to protest when something is not right with your body. Rather than snuffing the voice of the body, pay attention to what it is trying to convey. Here are a few easy and manageable techniques to conquer four common types of pains before it troubles you more.


Diagnosis Of Body Ache

If you experience body ache occasionally, you can associate it with lifestyle factors or a bout of recent infection. But in either of the cases, there is no need to investigate it in further detail. However, if you have a chronic body ache that may or may be accompanied by other symptoms, it is necessary to perform tests to identify the underlying health conditions that may be causing these aches.

Along with a detailed history and physical examination, the following tests may be essential to establish a cause of the body aches:

The doctors may order additional tests based on the preliminary test results to further evaluate suspected causes of body ache.

Celebs affected

Selena Gomez
Famous American pop star Selena Gomez was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, which often causes body aches along with other symptoms
Lindsay Lohan
In 2014, American actress Lindsay Lohan contracted the Chikungunya virus and reportedly had fatigue and body aches. She recovered with timely treatment.

Prevention Of Body Ache

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent body aches arising from lifestyle disorders. While it is not possible to completely prevent a body ache arising from health conditions, lifestyle changes may help reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

The following lifestyle modifications can help prevent body aches:

  • Take a wholesome diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals. Cut back on processed foods.

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially during the summer season.

  • Establish a sound sleep schedule. Do not sleep during the day.

  • Exercise daily, but do not over-exercise.


To prevent catching an infection, wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water, especially before meals. Do not constantly touch your face, eyes, and nose with contaminated or unclean hands. Also, having a warm bath, as the heat can help relax muscles and ease tension in the body.

Specialist To Visit

If you experience a constant body ache and suspect it is not because of lifestyle factors, such as strenuous workouts or stress, it is better to get evaluated by your physician who will diagnose you himself or refer you to other specialist doctors: 

  • Immunologist

  • Internal medicine specialist

  • Infectious disease specialist

  • Neurologist


Consult India’s best doctors online with a single click. Book your appointment now.

Treatment Of Body Ache

Treatment for body ache is broadly divided into:


1. Symptomatic relief

Antipyretics and analgesics: Drugs like paracetamol can help with pain relief. In severe body aches, NSAID painkillers may be used for pain relief.


2. Treatment of underlying cause

Treatment for body ache varies according to the cause.

  • Fever and infections: Antibiotics and antivirals are used to treat bacterial or viral infections, respectively.

  • Anemia: The treatment for anemia covers a very broad area and is mostly based on the type of anemia. Common formulations used to treat anemia are folic acid supplements, Vitamin C supplements, recombinant human erythropoietin alfa, etc.

  • Neurological and related disorders: The treatment for neurological and other related causes of body ache, such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc., is vast and complex. It usually consists of a combination of neurotonics, multi-vitamins, and neurotransmitter enzyme regulators wherever applicable.

Home Care For Body Ache

If you have a chronic body ache, it is essential to identify what is causing the pain so that the cause may be addressed and treated accordingly. There are certain things you can do at home that may help combat body aches-

  1. Take a wholesome and balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals.

  2. Drink plenty of fluids and energy drinks throughout the day.

  3. Do not over-exercise to a point where your muscles become exceptionally sore.

  4. Take a cold shower immediately post your workout to reduce muscle soreness and aches.

  5. If you are stressed out, have a low-intensity body ache or try to sleep better at night. You may take a bath in a hot tub with Epsom salts or a hot shower to help you relax and ease the pain.

  6. Avoid daytime naps. It is better to get 8 hours of sound sleep at night rather than catching up on sleep in bits and parts.

  7. Reduce excessive consumption of caffeinated drinks (especially in the evening) and alcohol. Quit smoking and recreational drugs.

Do you know?
A good massage relaxes your muscles and improves muscle tone, circulation, and blood flow. It also relieves any physical tension and mental stress. Here are 6 top essential oils that you can use for an oil massage for body ache.
Do you know?

Complications Of Body Ache

Worsening body ache is usually a sign of the worsening of the underlying health condition. If you have a fever and body ache and your symptoms are worsening, it may suggest a possible case of a severe infection, such as pneumonia. However, if your pain worsens after a workout, it can be a sign of a muscle injury. In conditions like multiple sclerosis, worsening body ache usually signals the onset of a flare-up or aggravation of the disease.

Alternative Therapies Of Body Ache

Along with the medical treatments for the underlying health conditions, you can overcome body aches with several alternative therapies like:

Diet

Consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients is an excellent way of providing the body with the fuel it needs to perform activities. A balanced diet ensures there are no vitamin or mineral deficiencies that often cause body aches. Drinking plenty of water and fluids, like buttermilk, herbal teas, soups, coconut water, etc., keeps your body hydrated and refreshed.


Meditation

Meditation techniques like focusing on breathing awareness, progressive relaxation, etc. can help channel and conserve the body’s energy. It may help overcome chronic pain and also boost energy levels.


Massage and relaxation

Gentle body massage has been known to promote relaxation and improve blood flow to various parts of the body. This may help relax muscle soreness and provide pain relief while rejuvenating the body. Soaking in a hot tub with Epsom salts is another great way to promote relaxation and reduce body aches.


Aromatherapy

Inhaling soothing fragrances like rosemary, lavender, chamomile, etc helps calm your mind and can soothe an ache.


Exercise and yoga

Light exercises and yoga help boost the body's energy levels and are a great way of combating muscle aches. However, care must be taken not to overdo the physical activities as it may lead to soreness and become an indirect cause for body aches. Strenuous exercises followed by a cold shower may help reduce the onset of muscle soreness.


Ayurveda

Certain ayurvedic herbs, like Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Shatavari, Licorice, etc., are known for their medicinal properties. They can help increase the body’s overall strength and stamina. They may even help to an extent in combating body aches. Massage with ayurvedic oils or panchakarma is useful in promoting relaxation and reducing muscle and body ache.


Homeopathy

Homeopathic preparations in the form of oral drops/pills, such as Rhus Toxicodendron, Arnica Montana, Solanum Dulcamara, etc., are known to improve pain, especially joint pains.

Living With Body Ache

Body aches are typically a sign that your body is feeling down and out. In most cases, this pain is dull and will resolve on its own and is rarely severe. However body pain is usually  accompanied by weakness, low endurance, sleep disturbances, and fatigue which drain the body further. This can lead to a vicious cycle. Conditions such as traveling long distances, over exertion, dehydration, or emotional stress also influence pain. Adequate rest, good sleep cycle, balanced nutritious diet along with stress management can go a long way in managing body aches and pains.

Hence, an occasional episode of body ache has no severe impact on a patient’s quality of life. But chronic body aches may interfere with daily activities, leading to restrictions in movements and travel. Often, chronic pain can be a source of anxiety and depression in patients. Proper and in depth diagnosis and relevant treatment of the underlying cause is of utmost importance in such cases. Do not hesitate to visit your doctor in case you have been tackling body aches for a long time.

Do you know?
Excessive tiredness or feeling tired even after a good night’s sleep could indicate an underlying health problem. There are various health conditions that can manifest in the form of tiredness and body aches in addition to other symptoms.
Do you know?

Frequently Asked Questions

References

  1. González Plaza JJ, Hulak N, Zhumadilov Z, Akilzhanova A. Fever as an important resource for infectious diseases research. Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2016 May;5(2):97-102.External Link
  2. Crofford LJ. Chronic Pain: Where the Body Meets the Brain. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2015;126:167-83. External Link
  3. Nathaniel Katz, The Impact of Pain Management on Quality of Life, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, Volume 24, Issue 1, Supplement 1, 2002, Pages S38-S47. External Link
  4. Widyadharma, I.P.E., Sari, N.N.S.P., Pradnyaswari, K.E. et al. Pain as clinical manifestations of COVID-19 infection and its management in the pandemic era: a literature review. Egypt J Neurol Psychiatry Neurosurg 56, 121 (2020). External Link
  5. Di Stasi SL, MacLeod TD, Winters JD, Binder-Macleod SA. Effects of statins on skeletal muscle: a perspective for physical therapists. Phys Ther. 2010;90(10):1530-1542. External Link
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