HomeSports 2.0Muscle Pain Unraveled: Discovering Causes, Symptoms, & Effective Treatments | Rehab Station
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Muscle Pain Unraveled: Discovering Causes, Symptoms, & Effective Treatments | Rehab Station

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Ever had unpleasant, nagging sensations in your muscles? Well, you are not alone! Between 60% – 85% of the world’s population experiences muscular pain daily. Studies suggest that these pain are mainly non-specific and can very rarely be localized to pin-point. Technically speaking, pain is an unpleasant sensory or emotional response to actual or potential tissue damage. While we will speak more on muscle pain treatment, first let’s get to know the basics of muscular pain.

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Origins of Pain

Origin of Pain KreedOn

The origin of pain depends upon the characteristics of the injured tissue. The sources of pain may be as follows:

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  • Joint pain

Muscle Pain KreedOn
Credits Pain Doctor

This pain arises due to pathological tissue damage at the bone or joints. It may arise due to an injury to the bursae, ligaments, or tendons that surround the joint.


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  • Muscular pain

Muscle Pain KreedOn
Credits: Steemit

Muscle pain is the most common kind of ailment. It arises out of abnormal loading of muscular tissue. Overuse of muscles due to excessive physical activity may also lead to pain.

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  • Neurological pain

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This pain arises out of irritation of nerves at their roots or any location throughout their course. It may also be caused due to damage or disease that affects the somatosensory nervous system.

  • Psychosomatic pain

Phsychosomatic Pain KreedOn
Credits: Verywell Mind

Psychological problems lead the person to believe they have pain with no underlying pathology at the site of pain (inorganic pain). It may start because of emotional stress before manifesting in the body as physical pain.

Muscle Pain KreedOn
Muscle Pain Treatment

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Muscle Pain Causes

Muscular pain could be the result of abnormal loading on normal tissue structure or normal loading on abnormal tissues. Specifically felt in a particular area, muscular pains may also happen due to stress, tension, overuse, or minor but repetitive trauma.

Generalized muscle pain is mainly the result of systemic conditions like connective tissue diseases (e.g. fibromyalgia, polymyositis, myofascial pain syndrome, etc.), illness, fever, or effect of medications.

Muscular Pain Treatment KreedOn
Muscle Pain Treatment

Hyperirritable spots can develop within the muscle, commonly known as trigger points. They can appear in the neck, upper back, calf, and thigh region. These trigger points are generally palpable nodules that may elicit pain under pressure.

Muscular pains could mainly be arising due to straining of a muscle, soreness due to overactivity, cramping due to sustained overwork, and muscle tears.

Pain caused by muscle tears is often experienced at the moment of the damage and rarely post the incidence. Muscle tear is almost invariably accompanied by an inability to perform the action done by the muscle.

Symptoms of Muscle Pain

  • Type: Dull aching type of pain, localized or spreading to the nearby area.
  • Onset of pain: depends on the underlying cause.
  • Aggravating factors: strong contraction, sudden excessive stretch, more than desirable loading of muscle, sustained postures, wrong posture, lifting of heavyweight, fatigue, and dehydration.
  • Relieving factors: Rest, hot and cold fomentation.
  • Swelling: Can be seen by the naked eye in case of superficial muscles or severe muscle tears.
  • Comparison to the opposite side is essential. In some cases, investigations like ultrasound can reveal swelling.

  • Abnormal contour: When the muscle tear is of higher grade, an abnormal contour (bulge, nodule, taut band, discontinuity in the muscle) of the muscle tissue is evident in comparison to the uninjured side. If the tear or injury is long-standing, muscle fibers shrink in size and the muscle shape and size also reduces.
  • Skin changes: If the muscle undergoes a direct blow or direct trauma, the red-bluish-black discoloration may also be noticeable. Moreover, the skin temperature can also be slightly higher in comparison to other areas in the acute stage of injury.
  • Mobility and Strength: Muscle flexibility and force of contraction will be compromised post-injury.

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Pain is often used as an indicator by athletes and medical professionals alike. Muscle pain is associated with fatigue, high resting heart rate, and irritability. Poor performance is often the most reliable indicator of overtraining.

Why Do I Experience Muscle Pain?

If you have muscle pain in a specified location with no incident trauma or fall or accident in the same area, you are most likely the victim of faulty postures and muscular imbalances.

Muscular imbalance is mainly seen when some muscles are underutilized, and the muscles performing the opposite action are overburdened trying to compensate for their inefficient counterparts.

This is where physiotherapists help you! They aid to identify these imbalances and correct them before they land you into a more severe injury.

Muscle Pain Treatment

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Muscle Pain Treatment | Credits The Healthy

Muscle spasms or pain treatment differs according to the cause, severity, location, and chronicity. Considering the extent of muscle injury is also important when deciding the plan of action.

In case of muscle pull or tear, in the acute phase: Icing, optimal protective loading, mild stretching, taping, compression, and elevation of the area is beneficial for a faster recovery.

In physiotherapy, various electrotherapy modalities like ultrasound and therapeutic currents can be helpful for pain relief and quicker recovery.


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Moreover, one may have to resort to immobilization and surgery in extreme cases like a complete rupture of the muscle.

Gradually loading and stretching the muscle under the supervision of the physiotherapist is critical to avoid weakness (atrophy: shrinking of muscles), tightness, and re-injury.

Immobilization and rest periods should be optimal to avoid long-term weakness of the structure, which may increase the injury risk to the same or connecting structures.

Muscular cramps recover faster. Adequate stretching and hydration can help to reduce the symptoms. Acute muscle spasms respond well to hot and cold therapy, mild stretching, and relaxation techniques.

Persistent muscle spasm needs a good stretching program and soft tissue release (manually or with the help of a modality like shockwave). Correcting postural faults and muscle imbalances, and following ergonomic modifications are advisory to recover completely.

Similarly, treating the underlying cause of muscle spasms is also necessary to avoid worsening or recurrent episodes.

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Professional Expert Treatment: Rehab Station

Muscle injury is fully recoverable and preventable. The physiotherapists at REHAB STATION are experts at tackling muscle injuries and can guide you well in preventing them.

REHAB STATION is a sport and musculoskeletal-centric sports physiotherapy lab, situated in the heart of Pune city. We, the physiotherapists at REHAB STATION, strive to ensure that we live up to the statement that defines an ideal sports physiotherapist.

“Prevention is better than cure” is the least applied phrase in the modern world. REHAB STATION aims at spreading awareness regarding Preventive Rehabilitation.

We, as sports physiotherapists, can help you prevent injury and overcome the plateau in your performance!

How does muscle pain feel like?

The pain experienced is typically a dull ache that can be localized or spread to nearby areas. It may be noticeable both during movement and rest. Additionally, superficial muscles or severe muscle tears can also result in swelling.

How long does it take for muscle pain to go away?

Recovery from muscle pain depends on the extent, area and severity of the injury. Early injury management also plays a key role in the duration of recovery. Generally, muscle injury recovers within a week only if treated appropriately.

What are some medical treatments for severe or chronic muscle spasms?

For severe or persistent muscle spasms, a healthcare professional may recommend muscle relaxant medications, physical therapy, massage therapy, or other therapeutic interventions.

Can stress contribute to muscle pain?

Yes, stress and anxiety can lead to muscle tension and exacerbate existing muscle pain. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, may help manage stress-related muscle pain.

What’s the initial treatment for a muscle strain injury?

The initial treatment for a muscle strain injury includes the R.I.C.E. method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest the injured muscle, apply ice to reduce swelling, use compression bandages, and elevate the injured limb to minimize inflammation.

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Rehab Station
Rehab Station
REHAB STATION is a high-performance sports physiotherapy rehab centre where they offer a unique combination of up-to-date manual therapy, exercise therapy and advanced electrotherapy.

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