Why Do I Hurt? Causes of Body Aches that Do Not Have to Do with Aging

A hard work-out or a nasty cold can be an obvious cause for your current body aches. However, there is a range of causes behind aching muscles or joints.

Typically, inflammation is the cause of bodily aches. Inflammation is the body’s response to several conditions or behaviors. Some people chalk up body aches to getting older, but there are many other reasons at play, too. Below, we address some of the top causes behind body twitches and throbs and—more importantly—how to find relief.

Too Much Repetitive Motion

If you continuously use one part of your body – either through working out or performing work functions – you create body aches and concentrated pain through repetitive motion injury.

A common example? Carpal tunnel caused by typing! Another example? Standing for long hours without proper arch support.

Repeating the same motion over and over will cause tendons, muscles, and ligaments to become inflamed and swollen. You also might notice a reduced range of motion or lack of strength.

Fortunately, you can find relief in a few ways. You can do strength training through physical therapy, occupational therapy, or using braces for stability.

Overexertion in Exercise

Besides repetitive motion, it is possible to develop pain from overexertion in exercise.

If you try a new exercise or work a muscle group that you’ve neglected for a while, you can feel post-workout soreness. This type of pain, known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), usually appears a day or so after the workout. It results from small tissue tears. This process also involves inflammation.

If your soreness is so severe that you can’t sit down or rest, do not stress too much. It indicates your muscles are learning and adapting to the new activity and preparing to do it again.

Your muscles will heal in a few days, and you can help with foam-roller exercise and proper stretching to speed up healing.

Too Little Rest & Support

If you’re going to do physical exercise, then kudos to you. It’ll help to strengthen your entire body, making you more resistant to body aches overall. Compound exercises, in which you use multiple muscle groups, can work wonders to strengthen your whole body. But only if you let it rest enough. So as discussed, don’t go too hard on yourself. The idea is that you only stress your body for around 30-60 minutes a day. The rest should be rest!

At the end of the day, you need to treat yourself to a warm bath, a comfy chair, a fluffy robe and a pair of warm slippers for wearing around the house. Speaking of which, make sure your slippers aren’t just warm, but that they also have good support. Here’s a few suggestions to help you on your way with that.

Stressing Out

Psychological stress can have physical consequences, ranging from headaches to pain in the jaw or lower back.

When you are stressed, your body pumps the hormone cortisol. In the short term, that is fine. Over time, however, too much cortisol from chronic stress can cause:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle breakdown
  • Inflammation
  • And more

To relieve aches from stress, you need to focus on your mental health. This shift in focus might mean taking time to unwind through activities you enjoy—like a jog, yoga, or breathing deeply and meditating. These little breaks will rejuvenate both your mind and body.

Disruptive Sleep

Adequate sleep not only helps you feel alert but also supports your body in remaining ache-free. Disruptive sleep does the opposite. It can be a barrier to non-restorative rest.

Disruptive sleep might include insomnia, trouble falling asleep, or waking in the middle of the night. If you frequently feel fatigued throughout the day, it might be a sign that you are not sleeping well.

Your musculoskeletal system needs six to eight hours of adequate sleep to repair itself for the next day. If your rest is far from restful, try various sleeping hacks.

Some sleep hacks include:

  • Limiting screen time before sleep
  • Avoiding caffeine before bed
  • Ingesting a sleepy-time tea

If these hacks don’t work, consider visiting a sleep specialist for assistance.

A Deeper Issue

Muscle aches and pains can be a sign of a deeper issue. It could be a sign of various medical conditions characterized by inflammation throughout the body. Deeper issues could be everything from arthritis to lupus. If you suspect something deeper is at play, contact your doctor.

Also, don’t let your age discount your pain. Deeper issues, like arthritis, can affect people at any age.

There are over 100 types of arthritis, including rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, that affect your entire body. Arthritis feels like stiffness or pain. It can result from inactivity, such as during sleep, which is why people with arthritis often feel morning stiffness.

This type of pain typically lasts longer than an hour. You might also have swelling, tenderness, or pain around various joints. Diagnosing this issue involves talking with a doctor for treatment options.

Take Care of Yourself

There are many ways you can prioritize your health to alleviate aches and pains. These causes can be chronic or now and then, but they can still interfere with daily life. Take care of yourself through stretching, therapy, aids like arch support inserts, and other resources you might have. If you suspect anything else is at play, contact a doctor!