What are Common Causes of Muscle and Joint Pain?

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  • Written By: C. Stoliecki
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Muscle and joint pain can be caused by a variety of conditions. Experiencing these symptoms concurrently is commonly attributed to a bout of influenza or any other common viral or bacterial infection. More serious medical conditions can also be responsible for causing muscle and joint pain in patients. These are systematic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as lupus, arthritis, hyperthyroidism, and fibromyalgia. Also, there are several unrelated conditions that a person may suffer from simultaneously that can cause muscle and joint pain.

Influenza is one of the most common conditions associated with simultaneous muscle and joint pain. In reality, the influenza virus itself is not to blame for the aches and pain associated with the flu. Rather, proteins called interleukins, which are produced by the body to fight off infection, are responsible for causing the muscle and joint pain experienced by those suffering from an influenza infection. The influenza virus is not the only infection that catalyzes the body into producing interleukins. Any type of viral or bacterial infection can cause the body to mobilize interleukins in defense, resulting in muscle and joint pain.


Another common cause of pain in the muscles and joints is the medical condition known as lupus. Patients with lupus do not have properly functioning immune systems. Their bodies produce antibodies, which are a class of proteins produced by the body to stave off infections, even in the absence of any viral or bacterial threat. Without a viral or bacterial target, these antibodies begin to assault normal body tissues, which results in muscle and joint pain, as well as a myriad of other symptoms.

It is especially common for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis to experience pain in their joints and muscles. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where a person’s joints become swollen. This inflammation causes the joints to ache, and the swelling of the joints often causes swelling in the adjacent muscle groups. Inflammation in the muscles cause the muscle pain associated with this disorder.

Fibryomyalgia, refers to a long-term condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the muscles. Generally, doctors believe this disease to be a musculoskeletal disorder that results in tenderness in the muscles. In most cases, pain spreads to the rest of the body, which is why sufferers can report feeling pain in their joints as well as their muscles. Muscle tenderness can also be caused by hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of hormones. These hormones can weaken muscles and increase joint pain.

There are several medical reasons for experiencing muscle pain and joint pain simultaneously that may be completely unrelated. For instance, a person may have injured their muscle and suffer from pain associated with the injury. At the same time, this same person may also be suffering from joint pain associated with a medical condition known as gout, which causes painful inflammation in the joints.


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