Body Pain: Symptoms, Causes and Relief
- At some point in our lives, most of us will experience aches and pains in the body.
- The older we get, the more likely we are to experience pain. Here’s some information about what pain feels like, causes of pain and treatments for body pain, so you can find relief.
Try an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Nurofen can help
Rest and give injuries time to heal.
Apply ice to injured sprains or strains for 10 minutes every 1 to 2 hours for the first 48 hours after injury.
Apply compression to a strain or sprain if practical for the first 48 hours.
If it’s a muscle strain or injury, avoid applying heat or massaging for the first few days.
Avoid getting back into exercise too soon. While exercise is important to help injured muscles recover, the optimal time to start it again is unclear. Ask your doctor or physiotherapist for guidance on what is best for you.
Knee & Hip Pain
Pain in the knee can have a variety of causes, including sprains, strains, tears and in some cases fractures or arthritis. Symptoms of injury to the knee include:
- Joint laxity (feeling of looseness in the joint)
- Inability to straighten the leg
- Pain behind the kneecap
Pain in the hip can also have a variety of causes, including injury and osteoarthritis. Symptoms of hip problems include:
- Pain in the groin area
- Pain in the thigh or knee
- Stiffness or feeling a reduced range of motion
Knee and hip pain should be investigated by your doctor who can identify the cause and recommend appropriate management.
Shoulder & Neck Pain
Shoulder pain is common and appears deep in the joint, in the back or front of the shoulder itself or even in the upper part of the arm. It can come from a range of causes including:
Injury or sprain
Problems in other parts of the body which cause referred pain
- Injury from manual labour, sports, or repetitive movement
- Poor posture
- Lack of use (e.g. after injury)
The neck supports the head and is a highly mobile part of the body. Common causes of neck pain include poor posture, osteoarthritis and injury.
Back pain is a common type of pain – around 1 in every 6 Australians reported back problems in 2014-15. Common causes of back pain include:
- Awkward movements
- Not being active enough
- Poor posture
- Being overweight
- Muscle tension (which can be caused by stress)
Joint pain caused by osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a chronic (long-term) disease of the joints that may have symptoms that fluctuate or progress over time. Some of the symptoms include:
- Pain that worsens with activity
- Joint stiffness lasting less than 30 minutes in the morning
- Joints that ‘pop’ and ‘crack’ when you move them
- Joints that feel like they ‘give way’
Sprains & Strains
Sprains and strains are soft-tissue conditions that affect muscles, tendons and ligaments. Strains injure muscles or tendons, usually caused by a fall, twist or over stretching. Symptoms include pain, muscle spasms and muscle weakness.
Sprains on the other hand are caused by stretching and sometimes tearing of ligaments. Typical symptoms are pain, bruising, swelling and inflammation that may limit how well you can move a limb or joint.
Preventing body pain
Minimise the risk of accidental injury by practicing safe lifting techniques, wearing appropriate equipment and protective gear for the activity you are undertaking and avoiding trip hazards. If you’re over the age of 45 years, are overweight or have had previous muscle or joint injuries, make sure you regularly check in with your doctor to screen for conditions like osteoarthritis.
This article is for general information only and not intended as a substitute for medical advice. All information presented on these web pages is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. In all health-related matters, always consult your healthcare professional.
This medicine may not be right for you. Read the label before purchase. Follow the directions for use. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, talk to your healthcare professional.
Malmstrom K et al 1999, Malmstrom K et al 2004, Mehlisch DR et al 2010 (RB sponsored).