Many things can cause muscle pain (myalgia), including injuries, infections and diseases. Muscle pain can be short-term or chronic. Delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) occurs after exercise. You can take steps to prevent and manage muscle pain and the conditions that cause it.
Muscle pain, or myalgia, is a sign of an injury, infection, disease or other health problem. You may feel a deep, steady ache or random sharp pains. Some people have muscle pain all over, while others have it in specific areas. Everyone experiences muscle pain differently.
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People of all ages and genders can have sore muscles. When you try a new physical activity or switch up your exercise routine, you may experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Muscle aches may come on six to 12 hours after a workout and last up to 48 hours. You feel pain as the muscles heal and get stronger.
In addition to muscle pain, you may also have:
Many things can cause muscle pain, including:
Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks itself. A healthy immune system fights off germs and infections.
Autoimmune diseases that cause muscle pain include:
Types of infections that cause muscle aches include:
When you repeatedly use the same muscles at work or during exercise, you may develop sore muscles from overuse.
Other types of injuries that cause sore muscles include:
Certain medications and therapies can cause temporary or chronic pain. Some medicines cause inflammation around muscle cells (myositis) or activate muscle pain receptors. These treatments include:
Neuromuscular disorders affect muscles and the nerves that control them. They can cause muscle weakness and pain. These conditions include:
Other conditions that also cause muscle pain include:
If you don’t know what’s causing muscle pain, or the pain is severe or chronic, your healthcare provider may order tests, such as:
Depending on the cause, these steps may help you feel better:
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Almost everyone has muscle aches and pains now and then. For temporary muscle pain, rest, stretching and pain medicines can help. Chronic or severe muscle pain makes it difficult to do the things you love. If you have a condition that causes chronic muscle pain, talk to your healthcare provider about therapies that can help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/11/2021.
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