September 19, 2023

How to Relieve Body Aches When Sick

Amongst other viral symptoms, you may have noticed uncomfortable body aches when sick with the flu or other illnesses. Alongside a fever, uncomfortable body aches can leave you feeling even weaker as your body attempts to fight off an illness.

Luckily, there are a few approaches you can take to help manage your discomfort associated with body aches. Below, this guide will explore why body aches occur and methods to take to relieve body aches when sick.

Common Causes for Body Aches While Sick

The release of white blood cells often causes body aches while sick. White blood cells are increased when we come down with an illness, helping our bodies to fight off the infection and get better. Unfortunately, inflammation caused by these white blood cells can cause body aches.

Usually, body aches are accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, weakness, fatigue, and a general unwell feeling. While we can take action to help improve pain associated with body aches, viruses must run their course and go away on their own.


Does the Flu Cause Body Aches?

The flu is one of the most commonly known illnesses that can cause uncomfortable body aches. Since the flu virus, also known as Influenza, causes inflammation throughout the body, body aches can happen as a result.

When inflammation affects your muscle tissues and nerves, inflammatory chemicals are released throughout the body. Also known as cytokines or histamines, these substances are released by your body’s immune system to help your white blood cells fight off the infection.

However, these cytokines attacking your muscles also cause body aches. While not harmful, this means having the flu can leave you with some painful body aches. The flu virus can cause body aches throughout the whole body, although, some people may find the pain centralized to the back and legs. You may notice discomfort more in these large muscle groups.


How to Relieve Body Aches When Sick: 5 Methods

While it is not possible to avoid getting body aches while sick, there are some efforts you can take to help increase comfort. Learn more about how to relieve body aches when sick with these five trustworthy methods.

1. Take Pain Relief

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to relieve body aches when sick is to take over-the-counter pain relief medications. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as Aleve or Advil can help reduce the amount of inflammation throughout your body.

Since these medications also help to reduce fever, you’ll help keep your fever low and improve body aches. Should you have questions about taking pain relief to relieve body aches when sick, speak to your healthcare provider at Healthcare Associates of Texas. Patients on prescription medications should speak with their primary care provider before taking over-the-counter NSAID medications.

2. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

While you’re sick and feeling tired, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. However, staying hydrated is essential to your recovery and can help you relieve body aches. Dehydration may make your body ache when sick worse.

While your body fights an illness, you are more likely to lose extra fluids by vomiting, diarrhea, or sweating. Extra hydration can help to replace lost fluids. To help support your body even more, you might consider drinking fluids with electrolytes to support your body’s recovery.

3. Use a Heating Pad

Another way to relieve body aches when sick is by applying heat. Heat can have a positive effect on loosening muscles and relieving aches. If you don’t have a heating pad or a heated blanket, you can also try taking a warm bath or shower to relax your muscles.

When using heat to relieve body aches, avoid severe temperatures as this can make your fever worse. Keep water slightly above lukewarm temperatures.

4. Sleep

Sleep is a vital component of your recovery from any illness. During sleep, our bodies’ immune systems have a chance to recover and rejuvenate, making it easier to fight off infections. Furthermore, sleep can relax your muscle aches and help accelerate your recovery.

Sleeping while you’re in pain from body aches can be difficult. Taking NSAID medications before sleep may make it easier to sleep comfortably and support your recovery.


5. Massages

A massage may temporarily improve your discomfort associated with body aches and may even reduce Cortisol in the body. Cortisol negatively affects your immune system, which can interfere with your body’s focus on fighting off an illness.

If possible, use a massage pad or chair in your home or ask a family member to gently provide a muscle massage to provide temporary relief.

When to See a Clinician

Most body aches associated with viral illnesses will go away on their own. To help provide relief and manage discomfort, try some at-home relief remedies such as heat therapy, hydration, and using over-the-counter NSAIDs.

While you’re likely to notice improvement in body aches between 3 to 5 days, it’s important to seek advice from a healthcare professional if body aches do not go away. Check with your primary care provider at Healthcare Associates of Texas if your body aches are not going away. In addition, if you have any of the following symptoms with your aches, seek treatment as soon as possible:

  • Rashes
  • Redness or swelling
  • Tick bite

Individuals with chronic medical conditions or high-risk individuals (such as elderly people, pregnant women, or young children) should consult with their healthcare provider when experiencing body aches.

At Healthcare Associates of Texas, we’re here to help! Patients can schedule an appointment online at their nearest location or call us to speak to a member of our administrative team. We offer board-certified physician services to our patients in the areas of both family and internal medicine.



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