7 reasons why your muscles might be in pain

Are your muscles sore? One of these common problems might be to blame

When your muscles are sore or in pain, it might be hard to figure out why. After all, not all muscle pain is the same. Sometimes, it’s slightly irritating, while other times it is fully debilitating. Some pain affects one area, while some pain leaves your whole body feeling sore. Similarly, muscle pain is caused by different factors.

We’ve listed 7 of the most common sources of muscle pain below. Not all instances of muscle pain will fall under the list, but many will. Read below to learn more.

7 reasons why your muscles might be in pain

You’re sore from exercise or physical activity

Any medical professional will tell you that staying physically active provides a ton of benefits to your overall health. Despite what your most exercise-obsessed friends will say, you do need to avoid exercising too much or too aggressively. 

It’s normal to expect muscles to be sore after exercising, but going too far can leave your muscles sore for longer than you’d hope. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Give yourself enough time to recover between exercise sessions; this is important for your muscle development

  • Stretch and perform warm-up exercises before moving into more difficult movements

  • Be particularly careful when trying a new exercise

READ MORE: How massage therapy helps with posture and body alignment 

You have a muscle strain

Just as you can strain or sprain your ankle, you can do the same to your other muscles. This occurs when a muscle or tendon is stretched too far.

Strains are usually cured quickly by resting and applying ice. However, a strain might last longer than expected, which could indicate that something more serious is at play.

If you find that your muscles strain easily, you may choose to see a physiotherapist or similar professional.

You experience stress

Stress is one of the most common reasons for muscle soreness and similar physical pain, though many don’t realize that stress is to blame for their pain.

Alongside muscle pain, heavy amounts of stress can lead to high blood pressure, headaches, respiratory problems, and so much more.

What makes this issue more complicated is that stress isn’t something you can simply ‘choose’ not to feel – you are likely in the habit of reacting with a certain level of stress due to your material circumstances.

You may choose to consider massage therapy or physiotherapy to treat stress-related physical symptoms.

You aren’t getting enough sleep

You may notice your muscles feeling sore in the morning because you ‘slept funny’ — in other words, your body was positioned in an awkward angle that stretched your muscles, or you moved suddenly in your sleep in a way that hurt your muscles. 

However, your position while sleeping isn’t the only thing that might affect muscle soreness: the amount of sleep you get matters as well.

A full night’s sleep gives your body and its muscles the chance to recover. Without getting enough sleep, your body won’t be able to heal properly, and your muscles might feel stiff or sore.

You have a vitamin deficiency or nutrition issue

If your muscles feel sore or weak, it might be worth checking to see if you have a vitamin deficiency or similar nutrition-related condition.

One of the most common deficiencies comes from a lack of Vitamin D. This is particularly common in the winter, as the sun is a major source of Vitamin D. This vitamin is important for muscle growth and sustainability, and it helps absorb calcium to give you strong bones. 

Your doctor might prescribe you supplements or recommend a change to your diet should you have a deficiency.

You are dehydrated

Without drinking enough water, you can easily feel weak, tired or sore. There is an explanation as to why you might feel sore in your back from dehydration: 

The discs in your spine essentially act as a cushion, keeping the rest of your spine functioning comfortably. These discs are made primarily of water, so your body will need a good supply of H2O to reinforce these discs.

You have a muscle pain condition

If your muscles are frequently sore, you may have a condition. Talk to your doctor, and they may determine that you experience myalgia. This condition refers to muscle pain, and there are other versions of it. For example, chronic muscle pain is called fibromyalgia.

Relieve muscle pain at home with the R.I.C.E. method

If you have severe muscle pain, we recommend seeing a doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor immediately. However, if that is not possible, you can reduce some of the pain on your own. Consider what is known as the ‘RICE Method.’ It’s an acronym that gives step-by-step instructions on how to relax your sore muscles

  • Rest: Get in a comfortable position and avoid movement

  • Ice: Press an ice pack against the area that is in pain

  • Compression: Wrap the sore area to keep it from swelling

  • Elevation: Keep the sore area slightly elevated for proper blood flow

READ MORE: How lymphatic drainage can benefit you


At Elysian Wellness Centre, our physiotherapists are specially trained to help you find relief from muscle pain and soreness. We take a patient-based approach, and aim to understand the root cause of your pain while looking for a solution that works for you.

Johanne Gordon - Registered Physiotherapist

Johanne is an experienced, fluently bilingual physiotherapist who graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in physiotherapy with magna cum laude honours from the University of Ottawa.

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