Body aches: What to do if the arms and legs ache?

21 October 2017

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Body aches typically occur in the context of an infectious disease. Almost everyone who has ever had a bad cold or a flu, knows this from personal experience: Then hurt not only the muscles or joints of the arms and legs, many also suffer from headaches, fever or back pain. 

But it may also happen that the affected suffer only under joint pain, without fever, fatigue or other signs of infection. The reasons are varied - it can, for example, among other circulatory disorders, nerve disease or carpal tunnel syndrome are behind the body aches. 

Medically speaking is meant by body aches any joint and Muscle aches of the

The term is therefore very broad: To fall under the term body aches example, elbow pain after a bump or sore muscles in the legs after exercise. 

The pain in the limbs can be very different pronounced be: the creeping and pulling pain can be barely noticeable, but also extremely strong. In addition, body aches can

The good news: Muscle and joint pain of the arms and legs are usually harmless and only occur temporarily on. Permanent body aches both arms or legs are rare: Most chronic joint pain affect only one limb and side effect of an underlying disease, for in osteoarthritis. 

The picture shows a woman lying with typical flu symptoms in bed: fever, body aches, headache. © iStock

Typical of the real flu: You feel suddenly very ill. By infection with influenza viruses the victims then suffer from fever, headache and body aches.

In many cases, body aches are the result of an infectious disease - usually they take a genuine flu or a bad cold on the frame. Many of those affected have then to fight not only with pain in arms and legs, but also with headaches, back pain and fever.

The pathogens (such as influenza virus), or inflammation of the upper respiratory tract during a cold cause the body to release increasingly certain chemical substances - so-called pyrogens. Fumed ensure firstly that the body temperature rises (you get fever) and, secondly, that the "pain threshold" falls. In other words, the victims take pains in her limbs earlier and more true than usual.

Body aches also develop common in other infectious diseases such as measles or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE).

but joint pain can also without Fever or other signs of infection occur: So can arise temporary joint pain, for example, among other complaints, when the body loses through heavy sweating plenty of fluids and electrolytes (so-called. heat exhaustion). To be precise, there is muscle pain and coordination problems, when the body loses up to six percent of its weight (about 5 liters for an 80 kilogram person) of liquid.

Further features include body aches to potential side effects some drugs: Sun limb pain can also be caused by treatment with heparin or so-called PDE-5 inhibitors.

Also circulatory problems in the legs due to hardening of the arteries leading to joint pain. This disease is popularly known as intermittent claudication - technical terminology it is called PAD (Peripheral arterial disease). In this disease, increasing the vessels in the legs narrow (in rare cases in the arms), whereby the corresponding limb receives not enough oxygen. The result is that the patient gets when walking relatively quickly pain in the legs, so he is forced to stand for a few minutes.

But also Circulatory problems in the fingers and toes (Raynaud's phenomenon), or a polyarthritis come for long-lasting joint pain in multiple joints in question as causes. Especially in the elderly inflamed joints may be behind the pain - for example as part of a Arthritis, rheumatism or gout.

If long-lasting body aches several affect joints, it may indicate a polyneuropathy point: These nerve disease can arise, for example, due to diabetes mellitus, alcohol abuse or poisoning. 

In addition, limb pain can arise of the legs fact that certain diseased nerves or disturbed are. More specifically, it is hereby 

The nerves mentioned can be injured in various ways and thus lead to pain in the limbs - as causes are surgery, inflammation or compressions by too tight shoes, plaster casts or even tumors in question.

long-lasting Body aches the poor - the so-called brachialgia - sometimes occur as a secondary symptom


In addition, such brachialgia can arise when the pain of the spine or the elbow into the arms radiate. In addition, body aches can in the arms after a X-ray irradiation of the axilla in breast cancer or a radical Removal of the female breast develop (mastectomy).

With aching limbs no complicated diagnosis is usually required: Often there is already sufficient to examine the physical condition shortly and ask about other symptoms and medical history to a Infection as a cause determine for joint pain and muscle pain of the arms and legs.

To determine the exact causative agent of infectious disease, the doctor, however, may be a blood test vera leave - this is antibodies or viruses can be detected in the blood. In some cases it is also useful to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and to examine the urine.

Can the doctor no identify infectious disease as the cause of pain in the limbs, are for diagnosis further investigations necessary. This includes, for example, a so-called neurological examination, which is to test sensitivity, muscle strength and reflexes. To assist in diagnosis, can also

be useful.

What to do with body aches, depends primarily what causes are responsible for the pain. 

Put a cold or flu behind the body aches, sometimes help already well-known home remedies like cold leg compresses or tea. Generally, it is important for an infectious disease like the flu that you

You can also drugs taking against the complaints: Useful remedy for severe limb pain are aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Are your body aches Accompanying symptom of another underlying disease, is the targeted therapy of this disease necessary. For example, if an inflammation of the nerves of the body aches can be held responsible, drugs help: Suitable anti-inflammatory agents such as phenylbutazone, or plexus, in which the physician numbs the affected nerve locally (so-called anti-inflammatory drugs.). Again, you can take in the short term painkillers (analgesics), to relieve your muscle and / or joint pain in the extremities.

Only in rare cases, surgery to treat joint pain is necessary - for example, a persistent carpal tunnel syndrome.


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