Muscle Aches: Care Instructions
Your Care Instructions
Muscle aches have many possible causes. Some common ones are overuse, tension, and injuries such as a strained muscle. An infection such as influenza (flu) can cause muscle aches. Or the aches may be caused by some medicines, such as antipsychotics. Muscle aches may also be a symptom of a disease like lupus or fibromyalgia. Myalgia is the medical term for muscle aches.
The doctor will do a physical examination and ask questions to try to find what is causing your pain. You may also have tests such as blood tests or imaging tests like X-rays. These can help find or rule out serious problems.
The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Rest the area that hurts. You may need to stop or reduce the activity that causes your symptoms. Then you can return to it slowly.
- Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to ease pain. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
- Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your pain gets worse.
- You have new symptoms, such as a fever, swelling, or a rash.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
- You do not get better as expected.
Current as of: December 13, 2021