Myalgia is medical term for muscle pain. It is derived from the prefix my(o)-, meaning muscle, and the suffix –algia, which refers to pain or a painful condition.
Myalgia, or muscle pain, is a symptom of many diseases and disorders and is a common complaint among adults presenting for medical care.
Nearly everyone, at some point of time will experience muscle soreness at some point in their life. Unusually exertion, trauma, and viral infections are among the most common causes.
It is important to differentiate myalgia from myopathy (muscle disease) and myositis (muscle inflammation) though both cause myalgia as symptom.
The most common causes of myalgia are overuse, injury or strain. But myalgia can also be caused by diseases, disorders, medications, or as a response to a vaccination [see causes below].
It is also a sign of acute rejection after heart transplant surgery.
The most common cause of is tension or stress that results from an injury or excessive use of the affected muscle [as in compulsive exercise]. IT causes a localized myalgia involving a single or multiple muscles.
Severe or strenuous pulling activity of the ligaments can also result to pain in the muscles.
Rhabdomyolysis is a syndrome caused by injury to skeletal muscle and involves leakage of large quantities of potentially toxic intracellular contents into plasma. It could be caused by
- Viral myositis
- Compression injury
- ACE inhibitors
- Retro-viral drugs
- Severe potassium deficiency
a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues
A connective tissue disorder characterized include overly flexible joints, elastic and bruisable skin and disorders of blood vessels.
Autoimmune disorders can lead to myalgia. These include
- Mixed connective tissue disease
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Polymyalgia rheumatica
- Multiple Sclerosis
Many infections can cause muscle pain including –
- Influenza and common flu
- Lyme disease
- Dengue Fever
- Hemorrhagic fever
- Muscle abscess
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Trichinosis (roundworm)
- Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II deficiency
- Conn’s syndrome
- Adrenal insufficiency
- postorgasmic illness syndrome
Many other diseases can cause muscular pain. TO name some
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Stickler Syndrome
- Hypotonia (Low Muscle Tone)
- Exercise intolerance
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Delayed onset muscle soreness
- AIDS/ HIV
- Tumor-induced osteomalacia
- Hypovitaminosis D
Sudden Withdrawal of certain drugs
- High-dose corticosteroids
Presentation of Patient with Myalgia
Pain onset is usually sudden and lingers for a few days to several weeks depending on the intensity and the cause of the pain. Stiffness and spasm may be present especially in chronic myalgia. The pain can affect almost any part of the body including the neck, hands, legs and the back.
Depending on the region affected, additional symptoms may be present
For example, myalgia affecting the cervical region also can have heaviness of the head accompanied with occipital headache.
Difficulty in breathing in and breathing out may also be experienced with chest involvement in myalgia.
Irregular heart beat is also experienced when myalgia involves the heart and is also potential for cardiac arrest.
The affected area would be tender.
Systemic symptoms like fever, vomiting and nausea or vertigo can occur.
Chronic cases may have associated anxiety and depression.
Myalgia is a symptom and may be caused by some serious underlying disorder.
Therefore underlying cause should be looked for especially if the symptoms are severe and persistent.
The diagnosis is based on medical history, physical examination and lab testing as directed by clinical course.
Treatment of Myalgia
Treatment of myalgia is of two kinds . One is symptomatic and supportive and other one aims at the underlying condition, if present.
The aim is pain relief and providing comfort to the patient.
Symptomatic and supportive treatment consists of rest, NSAIDs, warm or cold application, gentle massage.
For most chronic myalgia, physical therapy can be a helpful treatment modality. This can help to increase the flexibility in sore muscles and strengthen the surrounding tissue to support the area.
Some cases may respondnd to anti-seizure drugs, such as pregabalin and antidepressants.
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