Muscle pain (myalgia)

Everyone knows muscle pain (myalgia): they occur mostly through tension, as muscle soreness or muscle injuries and are usually harmless. You can be but also signs of disease.

Muscle pain often occur around the neck.

Basically, every muscle in the body can ache. Most commonly, myalgia occurs but in the form of shoulder pain, neck pain and back pain. This tense, painful muscles (so-called Myogelosen) accompany many people in their daily lives, triggered by driving a car or prolonged sitting in front of the computer. In addition, muscle pain show in the context of various infectious diseases. In rare cases infected diseases behind the stabbing, convulsive and be pain that can affect the muscle itself, the skeleton or the nervous system.

What treatment for muscle pain is used, depends on the specific cause. Therefore, there is the most important step to diagnose it, to find out the original trigger. Then, the doctor can initiate appropriate therapeutic measures.

Also the person affected can do much: how a healthy lifestyle is much movement and relaxation as well as a balanced diet as a useful tool against myalgia and as a preventive measure.

Muscle pain: Definition

Muscle pain (myalgia) are pulling, gut-wrenching and spasmodic pain in the muscles: the term myalgia is composed of the Greek words myos for muscle and algos for pain. Muscle pain can spread (diffuse) or (local) occur in a certain place of the body. Basically any of the over 600 muscles in the body can hurt.

Over 600 muscles move the body.

Not only muscle pain, but all pain are an important signal for the body. Different stimuli can trigger pain: for example, heating or cooling (thermal), pressure or shock (mechanical) as well as electrical and chemical agents. So called pain receptors are responsible for the transmission of this stimulating sensations: these are free nerve endings that lie on the surface in the skin as well as in depth – in muscles, tendons, and ligaments, as well as in the various bodies. If the pain receptors a pain stimulus to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) submit, it reaches the central nervous system as a first wertfreies signal. The central nervous system processed the appeal to an unpleasant sensation with a specific goal: the body to a follow-up response trigger, to avoid the pain.

Usually, muscle aches are harmless. Triggers are mostly muscle tension (Myogelosen) and muscle injuries. In addition, myalgia can occur as a symptom of various infectious diseases. In rare cases, diseases of the skeletal system, joint wear (arthrosis), muscular diseases, or diseases of the nervous system for pain in the muscles are responsible.


Muscle pain (myalgia) occurs with greatest frequency in the field of shoulder and neck and in the back. About 75 percent of adults in Germany suffer from back pain – 7 to 18 percent frequently or continuously.

Muscle pain: Causes

Muscle pain (myalgia) can have many different causes. Common reasons for pulling, gut-wrenching and spasmodic muscle sensations are muscle tension (Myogelosen) and muscle injuries. Less frequent triggers of muscle aches are diseases of skeletal joint wear (arthrosis), muscular diseases, or diseases of the nervous system.

Muscle tension (Myogelosis)

Muscle pain (myalgia) often occur in the context of a muscle tension (Myogelosis): this the State of stress (tonus) is increased in the muscle; the muscle is shortened and feels hard. This condition also known as muscle hard tension. The affected muscles or muscle groups are as scan painful nodules or bead and not fully way massage. Common causes of muscle tension are:


Wrong postures and lack of exercise: Too much and incorrect sitting in front of the computer or in the car and little movement can be bracing muscles and durable wrong postures. Especially in the back (back pain), and in the shoulder / neck area voltage pain manifest like himself.

Wrong movements

Weak muscles and an imbalance between different muscle groups (e.g. between abdominal and back muscles). This leads to wrong postures and false charges (primarily the spine).

Muscle injuries (strain, muscle, Muskelriss)

Insufficient development and Abwärmen in sports

In the long term, a muscle tension as well as muscle pain may cause persistent headaches and a shoulder-arm syndrome.

Muscle injuries

Muscle pain (myalgia) underlie often muscle injuries as causes. A muscle injury can occur in the following forms:

Bruises (contusion): A muscular rebound caused by exposure to outside, for example by a blow or shock onto the muscle. Well known example is the so-called “horse’s Kiss”, as many footballers and Roslyng know it. Typically, a bruise (hematoma) is formed at the injured site. A muscular rebound is expressed in most cases with very strong muscle pain. However, the violation is not bad and cures usually without complications.

Pulled muscles: The cause of a strain is mostly a distension of the corresponding muscle. This will however still not a crack of one or more muscle fibers comprise a muscle. Causes of strains are out often jerky movements, especially from unfamiliar body positions. Especially in sports that require short start and stop movement, it often comes to muscle pain by strains in the thigh. Examples include badminton, soccer or tennis. The strain raises a short, spasmodic and strong muscle pains. If you have a stronger strain, should see a doctor in any case. This can determine the extent of the injury, and prescribe appropriate treatments such as heat therapy or physiotherapy.

Muscle fibre cracks and may: A hamstring exists to tear of one or more muscle fibers. A whole muscle tearing apart at a Muskelriss. Muscle fibre cracks and may cause very strong muscle pain. It is advisable to treat it by a doctor.

Delayed onset muscle soreness

Muscle pain (myalgia) for the muscle soreness caused by smallest injuries (micro-violations) in the muscle fibres. Reasons for this are injury in sports.

Muscle soreness usually occurs when someone exercises again a sporting activity or an unusual physical strain after a long break in training. Muscle pain can set itself but also in well trained athletes after exercise, for example if they learn new patterns of movement such as a new Turnübung. Insufficient warm up also favour the development of a Muskelkaters.

Muscle pain in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness sound off after a few days, leaving no permanent damage.

Muscle spasms

Muscle pain (myalgia) is often arise from muscle spasms. A Muskelkrampf of the muscle pain occurs when very violently and suddenly. A magnesium deficiency may be caused. A shortage of magnesium it is often by strong physical stress, such as sports, because: through the sweating, the body loses magnesium. When more frequent muscle cramps other diseases as causes of the seizures can come into question, for example, liver disease.

Diseases as causes

Comparatively less frequently, muscle pain (myalgia) underlie diseases as causes affecting the muscle itself. These include for example the muscle inflammation (Myositis) and non-inflammatory diseases of the muscles.

The muscle inflammation, which may be accompanied by strong muscle pain include for example:

Muscle inflammation caused by viruses (e.g. Coxsackie B virus), bacteria (e.g. Borrelia) or parasites (Trichinae, e.g.),. (immunogene) inflammatory disease caused by the own immune system of muscles such as the Dermatomyositis (a muscle inflammation of the skin is involved) or the polymyalgia rheumatica (a flammable rheumatic muscle disease) Muscle inflammation caused by Vasculitis.

Non-inflammatory diseases of the muscles, which can cause muscle pain, include:

  • Fibromyalgia (this is the most common form of muscle pain of the whole musculature),
  • Muscular dystrophy (especially from that type of Duchenne and Becker-Kiener),
  • metabolic muscle diseases (e.g. in disorders of carbohydrate metabolism or of purine metabolism)
  • Muscle diseases conditional hormonal (e.g. by a thyroid function, parathyroid function).

Diseases that do not directly affect the muscles themselves, can be causes of muscle aches. So are diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord =) muscle pain not uncommon: as causes of aching muscles such as the Parkinson’s disease, the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or the post polio syndrome are eligible. In addition, diseases that affect the skeleton or other institutions, may be causing muscle pain. In such cases, the actual cause of the pain is however located in the organ itself. People incorrectly interpret the pain as muscle pain or develop muscle tension, which they perceive as muscle pain. Examples of this are:

  • Back pain from herniated disc or lumbago
  • Damage to the cervical spine (for example syndrome columns of the cervical)
  • Osteoporosis (bone loss) and joint wear (osteoarthritis)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis (a flammable rheumatic disease especially the spine and joints)

Toxins and drugs

For muscle pain (myalgia), various Poisons (toxins) and drugs are as other possible causes eligible: on the one hand, for example, alcohol and heroin can cause an associated with the death of tissue muscle disease of muscle pain. On the other hand, many drugs cause more or less strong muscle pain as a side effects. So you can, for example,

  • Statins cause in addition to muscle pain, also muscle spasms and a muscle weakness
  • ACTH, quinidine, Danazol or levodopa cause painful muscle spasms,
  • Cimetidine cause severe muscle pain, or
  • Penicillin and D penicillamine lead to an inflammatory muscle disease.

Muscle pain: Symptoms

Muscle pain (myalgia) can spread the symptoms (diffuse) or (local) occur at a particular location. There are attractive or stinging, burning, dull or pressing muscle pain. You can as a sudden violent myalgia acute occur, such as Wadenkrämpfen or pulled muscles. Or if the muscle pain permanently exist as is the case with long-lasting muscle tension.

Acute muscle pain have a warning and protection as all pain in its limited duration. Once the triggering stimuli are eliminated, they sound off quickly again.

In addition to the acute, there are also chronic muscle pain that exist over a period of more than six months. Chronic pain can represent a separate syndrome (pain syndrome).

Usually other symptoms associated with a muscle pains (myalgia): very often, pain in the muscles along with a muscle tension (hard muscle tension) occur. Further possible signs of muscle aches are a closed position and a painful restriction of mobility.

Muscle pain: Diagnosis

In muscle pain (myalgia), diagnosis in many cases already manages on the basis of the medical history and the described symptoms of those affected (medical history). Most pain muscles due to a muscle tension (e.g. by wrong postures, lack of exercise) or injury (e.g. sprain, contusion or muscle soreness through sport). Further investigations such as ultrasound or X-ray, help to confirm the diagnosis of the suspicion or to go to the cause of the muscle pains closer to the bottom.

Medical history (anamnesis)

Muscle pain (myalgia) is the first step to diagnosis in the collection of medical history (anamnesis): this the doctor asks for type, location, and extent of muscle pain. This information can provide already significant clues to the causes of muscle aches. Especially the history of the pain is important for the diagnosis: kicking them, for example, suddenly up, as is often the case with muscle injuries or spasms? Has a bruise (hematoma) formed (e.g. a possible consequence when bruises)? The muscle pain soon disappear or they remain stubbornly (such as when a herniated disc)? When are the muscle aches violent to feel alone or under load, tags or at night?


According to the survey of the persons concerned to the muscle pain (myalgia), various studies are made to diagnosis to assess the pain. It should be noted that muscle pain in rare cases can be a reference to diseases of muscle: a muscle inflammation (Myositis) is the muscle pains mostly spread out wide and concerns several muscle groups. Also reddish to purple skin discoloration on the face point to a muscle inflammation of the skin is involved (so called Dermatomyositis). (Stirring nighttime muscle pain in the area of the hip, neck, and shoulder found suggest a flammable rheumatic disease of the muscles, for example, in the polymyalgia rheumatica,).

Also accompanying symptoms can be important for the diagnosis for muscle pain. Painful pressure points on tendon approaches, fatigue and sleep disturbances are for example the typical signs of a non-inflammatory disorder of the muscle with muscle pain (fibromyalgia).

In some cases are also diseases behind the muscle pain affecting the skeleton, the nervous system or other organs. Night-time missions sensations get osteoporosis (bone loss) and Bechterew’s disease before (a flammable rheumatic disease that mainly affects the spine and joints).

More possible causes of muscle aches are alcohol and drug abuse. In addition, more or less strong muscle pain occur as a side effect of many drugs.

To investigate these possible reasons for muscle pain in the diagnosis, following methods can be used:

Physical examination

Blood test: How, for example, differential blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and CRP values indicate possible infections or autoimmune causes supply, while certain liver function tests can indicate chronic alcohol abuse.

Ultrasound (Sonography): This imaging investigation may be useful, for example, when a muscle inflammation (Myositis) the diagnosis is suspected.

Cutting image method such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): this imaging techniques are in very large or deep-lying muscles better suited than Ultrasound (especially if the parties concerned are severely overweight); an MRI can help to diagnose inflammatory muscle disease is suspected.

Electrophysiological study (electromyography): an electromyogram can provide, for example, information on inflammatory or degenerative diseases of the muscle or muscle damage caused by the nervous system.

Muscle biopsies (tissue samples from the muscles): A muscle biopsy is usually as the last step to diagnose – and even then only if there are clear references to a muscle disease.

Muscle pain: Treatment

For muscle pain (myalgia), treatment depends on the cause of the symptoms. It is therefore advisable to clarify the possible triggers of a doctor. He can make an accurate diagnosis, and initiate appropriate treatment measures.

The muscle pain not on one of the commonly attributed cause (such as muscle tension or muscle injury) can be, but an is responsible for the pain treatment aims usually to cure the underlying disease. The myalgia is a side effect of certain drugs (e.g. Statins against high blood fat levels or the antibiotic penicillin), it may be to depose. By issuing the responsible compounds can be to undo the damages caused by them most – and the muscle pain disappear.


Against the muscle pain (myalgia), even different medications can be symptomatic treatment used: pain relievers like for example non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are Geeignet.

Acute muscle pain

If you have acute muscle pain (myalgia), as they appear for example in muscle injuries, peace and protection are recommended for the treatment. Also immediate cooling applications offer assistance in acute muscle pain: this wrap an ice pack in a towel and place it on the affected area.

You should immediately break sporting activities for muscle pain. Expose so one or two days training with a sore muscles and increase it slowly once you are pain-free. When a strain that is possible with Muskelrissen only after twelve weeks for example after two to four weeks.

You should give sufficient time to heal muscle injuries. Because who too early again goes into the training, runs the risk of renewed violations of the corresponding muscle. Additional scarring and – in serious cases – inflexibility (Myositis ossificans) of muscle tissue can be the result and prolong the healing process and significantly restrict the movement of the muscle.

Chronic muscle pain

Against chronic muscle pain caused by muscle tension, for example, heat helps the treatment. Are recommended:

  • Baths with herbal additives
  • Sauna (However if you heart cardiovascular complaints, a combined with or acute infections previously clarified this with your family physician or to treat muscle aches without sauna)
  • warm fonts (about 10 to 15 minutes long with a hard water jet on the main pain points target)
  • Heat packs (mud, paraffin and mud mud)
  • moist compresses, heating pads and heat emitters
  • Thermal covers
  • Heating plaster (contain as the active ingredient capsaicin, which irritates the skin, stimulates blood circulation and this encourages the treatment of muscle pain)

In addition to the heat treatment, other procedures can help alleviate constant muscle pain. These include:

  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Electrotherapy (therapy through electricity)
  • Neural therapy (hives)
  • Physical therapy
  • Back training (especially for back pain and lower back pain)
  • Relaxation training (e.g. progressive muscle relaxation, autogenous training)

A shoulder neck syndrome, is behind your muscle pain helps to treat a steady workout of the neck muscles, which is possible at any time also at work. Stretching where you actively stretch for example the neck and stretch are important. Generally it is recommended, providing to find out causes of an inner tension itself, and to draw consequences from this (e.g. for a modified sitting position in the workplace). You can even good massage neck muscles best with some oil.

When chronic muscle pain in the back and the cross, treatment essentially corresponds to the measures for shoulder neck pain. As a first measure lumbago or herniated disc, even the quiet supine with highly defined legs can relieve a little back pain and lower back pain.

Regular back training and sport are long-term measure for treating back and lower back pain. But not all sports are recommended – for people who constantly have muscle pain in the back, especially if they combine fast, exciting inflection here with rotation. These include tennis, golf, horse-riding, ball games and aerobics. Back-friendly are:

  • Running and walking on soft ground with professional footwear
  • Back and Kraulschwimmen
  • Cycling
  • Archery

Back pain are often due to stress: stress is often indirectly expressed as back tension that lead to muscle pain. The treatment you should move regularly in the fresh air. This promotes blood circulation and a good nights sleep and thus well-being. Generally, also a balanced diet improves welfare. If your muscle pain are mentally conditioned, techniques like autogenic training or yoga are suitable for the therapy in addition. Obesity for muscle pain in the back is responsible for sport and a healthy diet or a diet are also helpful.

Muscle pain: History

For muscle pain (myalgia), the course depends on the underlying cause. Basically, a muscle pain may be acute or chronic.

In most cases, are the result of tension or muscle injuries muscle pain and take a harmless history: light muscle injuries such as muscle soreness or pulled muscles heal back out usually without complications. This applies also to muscle cracks if it carried out a sufficient protection and treatment of the relevant muscles (e.g. with heat). When muscle tension, it is advisable to do something at an early stage: in the initial stages be well treated the tension, so that avert can be a possible chronic course.

When a disease (e.g., muscle itself or also of the nervous system, skeletal, or other institutions) is based on the muscle aches, the prognosis in particular of the cure of the disease depends.

Muscle pain: Prevention

You can only prevent muscle pain (myalgia): effective measures for the prevention of muscle pain be above all to avoid muscle injuries and muscle tension, which are among the most common triggers for muscular pains.

Muscle tension

Muscle tension caused by lack of exercise, to much stress and strain. Accordingly, the tips to prevent muscle pain (myalgia) by muscles are:

  • Move regularly: in particular running, walking or swimming have a relaxing on the muscles.
  • Eat healthy.
  • You relax sufficiently: techniques like autogenic training or yoga are highly recommended for this.
  • Avoid obesity.

You can prevent muscle pain by muscle tension in the shoulder / neck area by a posture and Sport (e.g. Kraul-and backstroke) easily. Gymnastics is however not circling the head and the neck tend not strongly backwards should also be important as a preventive measure. The cervical spine should be at swimming not too much over extended.

The posture to prevent muscle pain by muscle tension refers above all to the sitting and sleeping. The best the relaxing supine position is suitable for a healthy sleep. On its side, you should place the head on a thick and firm pillow. When some time sitting at work on a low back with fixed seat and a hip and knee angle, which corresponds to more than 90 degrees. Active sitting is required: muscle aches are often preventable, if you often change the seating position, alternately go and sit and in between with gym exercising.

If you want to do your back good, they ensure regular back training. Muscle pain by muscles in the back can be also due to stress (e.g. by bullying at work, fear of the loss of workplace, aggressive road in the morning or simply private and professional excessive demands). Therefore, all measures which increase the well-being, prevent back pain. Such as regular exercise in the fresh air and techniques of conflict resolution such as autogenic training or yoga.

Muscle injuries

You can prevent muscle pain (myalgia) by muscle injuries (such as pulled muscles, muscle tears or may) by a good and intense warm up before sports. Stretching and stretching and slow walking prepare the muscle for the upcoming “work”: make sure that the muscle is elastic and supplied with nutrients, and is so practically give it time to be once awake. So it is better prepared later on fast start and stop movement, where it usually comes to muscle injuries.

You can also prevent a sore at the smallest injuries (so-called micro-violations) in the muscle fibers are available, by enough to warm up and after a longer break properly dose their burden – so not the same again fully in training go. The same applies archery, gymnastics, or forms of exercise for weight training movements that you have had never exercised. Here applies: less is more, to avoid muscle pain in the form of delayed onset muscle soreness.

Muscle spasms

You can best prevent muscle pain (myalgia) by muscle spasms by provide you with enough magnesium. To achieve this through a balanced diet. Especially agricultural products such as potatoes or whole grain, but also fruits (e.g. bananas) contain lots of magnesium. Who despite a balanced diet of frequent muscle spasms (especially muscle pain in the calf by leg cramps) receives, should be examined by the doctor leave. In rare cases, errors in the organs may be responsible for a lack of magnesium.

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