May also be called: Muscle Pain; Muscle Aches; Myoneuralgia
Myalgia (my-AL-ja) is pain or tenderness in a muscle or group of muscles.
Many things can cause pain in specific muscles, including stress, using the muscle too much, or a minor injury. This type of myalgia often happens after athletic activity or doing a job that requires physical exertion. Sometimes, muscle pain can be a symptom of a condition that affects the whole body, such as fibromyalgia (which causes widespread muscle pain, headaches, and fatigue), the flu, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Certain medications and drugs also can cause it.
When myalgia is a result of stress, overuse, or injury, treatment usually involves resting the affected muscles, doing only low-impact aerobic exercise, and using anti-inflammatory medications, compresses, and massage. Muscle pain caused by a disease is managed by treating the underlying condition. If myalgia is caused by a medication, treatment usually involves stopping use of the medication or decreasing the dosage.
Most simple cases of myalgia can be treated at home and will clear up on their own within a few days. These cases can often be prevented by staying well hydrated and stretching before and after physical activities.
Muscle pain that lasts longer than a few days, is severe, or is associated with other symptoms may require medical attention but generally responds well to treatment.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
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