Every one of us has experienced body aches and pains at some point in life. Your pain can be a sharp, intermittent one that dissipates after a short while or it can be a constant throbbing making life unbearable.
Although everyone experiences pain differently, certain parts of the body are more prone to aches. These include the back, joints, head and neck. These pains can be caused by illness or chronic conditions, advanced age and overexertion, as well as injury or damage to a particular body part. As we age, the body naturally slows down and becomes more susceptible to injury. Similarly, strenuous exercise or physical activity can predispose you to muscular aches. Women seem to be particularly vulnerable to pain, especially right before their periods when estrogen levels are low.
Common body aches and pains
- Lower back pain. Back pain can be the result of a chronic medical condition such as arthritis. Other causes can be improper lifting technique, sitting for long periods and sleeping on a bad mattress.
- Joint pain. Joints are quite vulnerable to injury as they bear the brunt of carrying your weight and moving you around. It is quite common to injure your ankles, knees, shoulders, hips and wrists. The daily friction caused by moving these parts of the body predisposes them to wear and tear. Conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease that mostly affects women) can also be responsible for your joint pain.
- Headaches and neck pain. If you regularly experience tension headaches, your neck might be the culprit. Tension and stress can cause a tightening of the neck muscles that turn your head from side to side or the muscles at the base of your neck resulting in a pounding headache.
Easing the pain
Regular pain can take a heavy toll on all aspects of your life. It is therefore imperative that you find ways to ease the pain and resume your daily duties. Some methods to help you find relief include:
- Massage therapy.
Receiving a massage from a qualified massage therapist can go a long way towards easing muscle pain. It is especially effective against back pain. A massage session that focuses attention on sore and tense muscles can help relax them, calm the nervous system and reduce pain. Several sessions can lead to long-lasting relief.
Stretching the muscles is a sure way of reducing pain. This also works on joints such as the shoulders. A good stretch stimulates blood flow to the muscles, leaving them supple and relaxed. Exercises such as yoga and Pilates can help you stretch and build muscle strength. In order to avoid muscle cramps, ensure you include stretches in your warm-up and cooling down routines prior to exercising.
- Moderate exercise.
It can be hard to even think of exercising when your joints are aching. However, motion can provide some much-needed relief. Stick to simple and moderate exercises such as walking or swimming and take care not to overtax yourself. It is also a good idea to wear compression clothing to aid circulation and improve recovery between your workouts. These days there is the option of purchasing mineral-infused clothing that provides some health benefits. Do enough research and have any questions about the benefits of wearing copper and other minerals answered before purchasing such clothing or jewelry.
- Heat or ice.
Often, people will apply heat or ice to sore muscles. You might wonder which of the two is more effective. Experts say that applying indirect ice –an icepack wrapped in a towel is best for quick relief. The ice reduces inflammation of the affected area and heat can later be applied to increase blood flow. A heating pad is also useful in relieving joint pain.
- Vitamin and mineral intake.
Regular muscle aches and joint pains could be indicative of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Vitamin C helps prevent inflammation in the body while vitamin D is necessary for healthy bones. Calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium are just some of the many minerals your body requires to function. Vitamin and mineral supplements might help you feel better but they should only be taken under medical supervision.
If you get sore muscles occasionally, you can take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin to ease the discomfort. Be cautious about using these regularly as long-term use can interfere with your muscle’s ability to repair itself. You should also check with your doctor before using these drugs since they may interfere with other medications you take.
Sometimes more drastic measures such as surgery or physical therapy might be necessary to provide relief for muscular aches and pains. Therefore, seek medical help if your pain is persistent and nothing seems to ease it.