Muscles form an integral aspect of our anatomy. They are responsible for the movement of voluntary organs like the limbs and eyes as well as involuntary systems such as circulatory, respiratory and digestive. Needless to say, when such an important component experiences discomfort, it usually affects a wide range of functions. Muscle pain, or Myalgia, is a very common clinical condition that can be treated easily. As a medical professional, however, I think to truly understand any medical condition we must begin with the basics .Any muscle is made up of bundles of thin fibers called muscle fibers which are in turn composed of contractile proteins called Actin and Myosin.
The muscles fibers are like small elastic strings that contract and expand when they receive neural impulses to carry out a certain function. On it’s own a single fiber is not really strong enough to cause any movement but put them in a bundle and we have a very powerful muscle capable of lifting several times it’s own weight! Pain is caused when the muscle fibers undergo severe trauma or strain. This can either be due to overexertion, fatigue, or injury to the muscle. Most commonly myalgia is observed in a class of muscles called the skeletal muscles. these are the muscles attached to the bones and cause movement of joints. These include all the muscles of your arms, legs, neck, hip, abdomen and chest.
CAUSES OF MUSCLE PAIN:
Although there can be several causes of muscle pain with a wide array of symptoms, we shall discuss the most common ones here.
1. Muscular Strain: Imagine what would happen if you stretch an elastic band too far. It would snap. That’s essentially what happens when a muscle is made to do too much work or pull too much weight. You will see this often in people who do heavy workout or athletes. A ‘pulled muscle’ is what they will complain of that is characterized as extreme pain while lifting heavy weights of running very fast.
2. Fatigue: Muscle fatigue results when the muscles are worked continuously without rest. This does not necessarily mean that the muscle has to perform difficult or heavy work but that simply it as not been allowed to rest to recover it’s strength. Medically, the cause of pain is the metabolic process taking place in the muscle cells to form a byproduct called lactic acid. Accumulation of this acid causes pain.
3. Injury: Literally any injury that could tear or otherwise damage the muscle. TREATMENT: Home remedies include treatment by placing ice packs, massaging the muscle and most importantly, REST. This will usually relieve most types of myalgia resulting from fatigue or exertion. In more extreme cases, however, such as those resulting from injury, infection or persistent pain lasting more than a few days, proper medical attention must be sought.