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Heat Therapy for Muscle Pain

Causes of Muscle Pain

Muscular pain, or myalgia, is a common complaint among the general population. Muscle pain can be isolated to one specific area or can be more generalized; the causes of muscle pain are mainly overuse, tension and stress, actual injury and some medical conditions. One of the most effective ways to deal with muscle pain is the application of heat therapy using microwavable wheat bags or heat pads.

Physical Injury

The most common causes of muscle pain are injuries. Muscles are comprised of bundles of thin fibres that contract and expand depending on what kind of movement is required. If the muscle is damaged by being twisted the wrong way, is strained too hard, or forced into an incorrect position, causing sprains, strains and even tears to the fibres. Recovery form these kinds of injuries is slow and often painful. Rest is prescribed, as well as pain medication as needed. Cold packs should be applied first, and then heat packs afterward to ease pain and augment circulation.

Overuse and Fatigue

People who do repetitive physical work, or practise sport intensely can suffer the effects of another of the common causes of muscle pain - overuse and fatigue. When a muscle is overused, the fibres can become stressed and the body produces too much lactic acid, causing a burning sensation and a lingering ache. Muscle fatigue happens after a lengthy exercise or strenuous work session. Reaction time is slowed, strength is diminished, and the muscles present a dull ache. Applying heat packs to the overused and fatigues muscle group can bring pain relief and revitalize tissue.

Illnesses

Muscle aches are listed as a symptom for many illnesses, including influenza, pneumonia, common colds, as well as more serious diseases like hepatitis, meningitis, mumps, measles, malaria and Lyme disease. These ailments require medications to cure, and the accompanying muscle aches can be diminished with compresses as needed. Autoimmune disorders like lupus, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis also cause muscle pain. Warm heat pads or wheat bags can provide localized relief from pain and swelling.

Medication and Drug Side Effects

Many medications are causes of muscle pain, such as cholesterol-lowering statins, ACE inhibitors taken to lower blood pressure, and even cocaine. Muscle aches and pains can also be caused by electrolyte depletion. When a person endures strenuous activity and sweats a lot, their body can lose stores of electrolytes, which are substances like calcium and potassium that regulate body pH and muscle performance. Without proper electrolyte balances, the muscles will cramp and spasm painfully. Drinking lots of fluids and warm heat packs can soothe in both cases.

Proper Application of Heat Therapy

Heat therapy is invaluable in the relief of muscle pain, but there are times when it should be avoided. Do not apply heat immediately after an injury, such as a sprain or strain, because this can increase swelling and delay healing. Once the swelling has been controlled by cold therapy, apply heat and cold alternately, to stimulate healing and circulation and reduce pain. For chronic conditions, applying a microwavable heat pack is a convenient and inexpensive way to get rid of muscle pain.

The causes of muscle pain are as diverse as the muscles themselves. If someone finds they have aching muscles they should consider their activities and health to diagnose the source, and if there is doubt they should consult a physician. Once a condition is diagnosed it can frequently be relieved by the judicious usage of wheat bags or heat pads.