Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Pain management health centre

Select a topic to explore more.
Select An Article

Musculoskeletal pain

Pain affecting the muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones is called musculoskeletal pain.

What causes musculoskeletal pain?

Muscle tissue can be damaged by the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to an area - from jerking movements, car accidents, falls, fractures, sprains, dislocations or direct blows to the muscle - can also cause musculoskeletal pain.

Other causes of pain include postural strain, repetitive movements, overuse and prolonged immobilisation. Changes in posture or poor body mechanics may lead to spinal alignment problems and muscle shortening, with the result that other muscles are misused and become painful.

What are the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain?

People with musculoskeletal pain sometimes complain that their entire body aches. Their muscles may feel as if they have been pulled or overworked. Sometimes the muscles twitch or burn. Symptoms vary from person to person, but the common ones are:

How is musculoskeletal pain diagnosed?

Your doctor or physiotherapist will conduct a thorough physical examination and take your medical history. Your doctor may also arrange tests to help confirm the diagnosis.

How is musculoskeletal pain treated?

Different types of physical therapy, or mobilisation, can be used to treat people with spinal alignment problems. With acute musculoskeletal pain, these techniques have been shown to speed recovery.

Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are often recommended.

In patients with musculoskeletal disorders such as fibromyalgia, medicines to increase the body's level of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain and immune system function) are prescribed in low doses.

Other treatments may include:

Next Article:

WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 30, 2014

Mind, body & soul newsletter

Looking after your health and wellbeing.
Sign Up

Popular slideshows & tools on BootsWebMD

woman washing face
Prevent & treat flare-ups
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
female patient consulting with female GP
Take action for a healthy baby
couple watching sunset
How much do you know?
cold sore
Prevent and treat cold sores
smiling african american woman
Best kept secrets of healthy hair
assorted spices
Pump up the flavour with spices
10 tips to lose weight after baby
crossword puzzle
Tips for the first hard days
sperm and egg
Facts to help you get pregnant
african american woman wiping sweat from forehead
Relief from excessive sweating
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting