Dealing with body aches is never fun, and it frequently results in a slew of questions. You may be wondering why your body aches when you have no fever, or if you do have a fever and chills, is it due to COVID-19? Perhaps you know why your body aches—that new high-intensity workout, perhaps?—but you’re still puzzled as to how two completely different things can cause similar types of pain and discomfort.
So, why do various parts of your body throb and twinge? Beyond the simple aging of our joints and muscles, here is a closer look at the most common causes of body aches, why your body responds with pain in the first place, and how to find relief.
1. You’ve fallen a victim to cold and flu season
The aches and pains caused by an infection, such as pharyngitis or the flu, are caused by your immune system’s response to the infection. Our bodies produce certain chemicals, including interferons, which aid in the fight against infection but also cause body aches. Furthermore, your immune system is devoting the majority of your body’s energy to fighting the infection, leaving you exhausted.
2. You have mononucleosis
Mono is a type of infection that is common among teenagers and young adults and is usually transmitted through saliva. It is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Mono causes extreme fatigue, sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Because it’s contagious, like pharyngitis and flu, your immune system will respond with an inflammatory response, resulting in body aches. Because antibiotics cannot treat viral infections, there is no specific treatment plan for mono.
3. You worked a little too hard in your last workout
Small tears in your tissues cause muscle soreness, specifically delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) a day or two after a hard workout. This causes inflammation, which causes that “can’t sit properly” feeling in your legs after doing too many squats. It’s nothing to be concerned about; DOMS is simply your muscles adapting to a new activity so they can repeat it.
4. You’re overworking one specific part of your body
When you repeatedly use one part of your body, whether while working out or typing at work, you can develop a more focused body ache and concentrated pain, which is known as a repetitive motion injury. What is a common example? Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Repeatedly performing the same motion can cause muscles, ligaments, and tendons to become swollen and inflamed, resulting in an ache. Aside from aches, you may notice a loss of strength and a limited range of motion in the affected area.
5. You’re stressed
Physical manifestations of psychological stress can range from headaches to jaw pain to lower back pain. This is because your body produces the hormone cortisol when you are stressed. Chronic stress can cause inflammation to increase, resulting in muscle breakdown, pain, and fatigue, among other symptoms. Furthermore, when you are unable to relax, your body becomes more susceptible to infection.
6. You’re not sleeping well
You know you need sleep to stay alert, but you may not realize how much your body relies on it to stay pain-free. Non-restorative sleep, or disruptive sleep, is the leading predictor of widespread pain, particularly among adults over 50.
7. You have Lyme disease
Muscle and joint aches can be early indicators of Lyme disease, but if caught early enough, they may not become severe. Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, and a bullseye-shaped rash are also symptoms of Lyme disease. If you suspect you have Lyme disease, seek medical attention as soon as possible. The symptoms will only worsen over time, potentially leading to complications such as heart problems and severe joint pain.
8. You have arthritis
You don’t have to be old to suffer from arthritis, which includes over 100 different conditions. Inflammatory arthritis, which includes rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, affects the entire body because they are autoimmune diseases, which means your immune system goes haywire and attacks healthy cells, causing inflammation. It is distinguished by pain and stiffness following periods of inactivity, as well as morning stiffness lasting more than an hour. You may also experience joint pain, swelling, and tenderness. To manage pain effectively, talk to a pain doctor.