Musculoskeletal pain affects bones, joints, ligaments, tendons or muscles. An injury such as a fracture may cause sudden, severe pain. A chronic condition like arthritis may also cause pain. If musculoskeletal pain interferes with your usual activities, speak with a healthcare provider. The right treatment can help relieve the pain.
Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects:
Musculoskeletal pain can be acute, meaning it is sudden and severe. Or the pain can be chronic (long-lasting). You may have localized pain (in one area of your body), or it may affect your entire body.
The most common types of musculoskeletal pain include:
Common causes of musculoskeletal pain include:
Your symptoms may vary depending on the cause of your musculoskeletal pain. Common symptoms include:
Your healthcare provider starts a diagnosis by taking a thorough medical history. Your healthcare provider may ask you questions to determine:
Then, your healthcare provider does a hands-on exam to look for the pain’s source. Your provider may touch or move the affected area.
Your healthcare provider may order other tests to find the underlying cause of the pain. These tests may include:
Your treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your musculoskeletal pain. Common treatments include:
Your healthcare provider may guide you to manage musculoskeletal pain at home. Recommendations may include:
Your treatment plan may include medication such as:
Maintaining strong bones and joints is crucial for preventing musculoskeletal pain. You can work to avoid musculoskeletal pain if you:
Some conditions can increase the risk of musculoskeletal pain, including:
Usually, musculoskeletal pain improves with proper treatment. If an underlying condition causes musculoskeletal pain, treating that condition can help relieve symptoms.
If pain interferes with your daily activities or how well you can function, speak with a healthcare provider. Seek immediate medical help if you have severe pain from a sudden injury.
To help yourself cope with musculoskeletal pain:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Musculoskeletal pain can cause discomfort and disrupt your daily activities. Sometimes, a sudden injury such as a broken bone causes severe pain. For some people, underlying conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia lead to pain. Whether your musculoskeletal pain is acute or chronic, the right treatment can relieve your symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/10/2021.
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