Causes of aching muscles & joints

Updated April 17, 2017

Muscle ache is frequently associated with tension from overuse of muscles in physically demanding activities. It can involve other surrounding parts such as tendons, ligaments and tissues. Muscle ache can also be brought about by other conditions such as fever, flu and menstrual periods in women. Joint pain can be a result of many conditions or even injuries. Muscle and joint pains can sometimes be frequent or recurring; the intensity may cause great discomfort.


People suffering from cramps may experience spasms as their muscles become hard or slightly enlarged. Muscle cramps can occur due to many different reasons such as overly strenuous exercise, too much alcohol, dehydration, hyperthyroidism and some metabolic problems. Pregnancy and kidney failure can also trigger muscle cramps. Though not life-threatening, muscle cramps or spasms are usually alleviated through slow stretching.


One of the major conditions causing muscle and joint aches is fibromyalgia. Typical symptoms include widespread pain and tender points in the muscles and joints. It can also affect the soft tissues and tendons. Fibromyalgia is often linked with other conditions such as sleep problems, headaches, fatigue, anxiety and depression. It can also occur along with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

There are no conclusive reports to determine the cause of this disorder. Studies suggest that fibromyalgia is a common affliction for those who suffered great physical and emotional trauma. Thus it affects the normal flow of bodily systems like metabolism, leading to chronic fatigue. It is not a fatal disease though. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed and lifestyle changes are imposed.


Arthritis is another major cause of joint aches, and is characterised by inflamed joints resulting in stiffness and restricted movement. There are over a hundred types of this condition. Unlike fibromyalgia, arthritis has been extensively researched and studied, giving people more ways of recognising and coping with the disease.

Normally, during arthritis, a cartilage is torn or breaks down entirely. Joints are covered by cartilage, which absorbs the pressure during walking or running. If the cartilage gets ruptured, there won't be shock absorbers that cushion the blows the joints receive. This creates intense pain and swelling.

Treatment for arthritis can range from medication to dietary changes, and from physiotherapy to surgery. Joint replacement surgeries enables the patient to live a more normal life free from pain.

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About the Author

LaTasha Favors has been writing professionally since 2008. She specializes in travel- and health-related topics and has published articles on various websites, including and