Muscle Pain

Muscle pain, also known as myalgia, is a common occurrence that affects many people, regardless of their age, fitness level, or lifestyle.1 It can range from a mild discomfort to more severe muscle pain which can interfere with daily activities. Muscular pain may be localised or be widespread and can feel like a dull ache or a sharp pain.2

When you engage in physical activity, your muscles are put under stress, and this stress may cause microscopic damage to the muscles. This damage, if not excessive, is normal and part of the process of building stronger muscles. However, if you overexert yourself or engage in exercise without proper warm-up, you increase the risk of injury. 3 If you feel pain during exercise, stop immediately and speak to your GP if pain persists.

Injuries can range from strains and sprains to muscle tears, all of which can cause muscle pain. When an injury occurs, the muscle becomes inflamed, and this inflammation triggers pain receptors, causing you to feel discomfort or pain. The severity and duration of the pain will depend on the type and extent of the injury. Injured muscles will require rest, proper treatment, and rehabilitation to recover fully and prevent further damage.4

To prevent injury-related muscular pain, it’s important to take proper precautions before engaging in physical activity. This could even help to make your workout more effective!5

Start by warming up your muscles with dynamic stretching or low-intensity movements that increase your heart rate and blood flow. This helps to prepare your muscles for the stress of exercise and reduces the risk of injury.6

Wearing appropriate footwear and using proper equipment is essential for reducing the risk of falls, strains, or other injuries during physical activity. Proper footwear can help support your feet and provide stability while also reducing the risk of slipping or tripping.7 Using the right equipment for your chosen activity, whether it’s a bike helmet, knee pads, or a weightlifting belt, can help protect you from injury.

Another cause of muscular pain could be anxiety or stress.8 When you experience anxiety, your body goes into a “fight or flight” response, releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.9 This response can cause your muscles to tense up, which, if sustained over time, can lead to muscular pain and discomfort. When you are stressed, you may be more likely to engage in behaviours that can cause muscle pain, such as poor posture or clenching your jaw.10

To prevent or manage stress-related muscular pain, it’s important to practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga.11 Getting regular exercise can also help reduce stress levels and promote overall well-being.12 Additionally, taking breaks throughout the day to stretch or move around can help alleviate muscular tension and pain caused by stress.

If you are unsure on the cause of your joint or muscular pain, you should speak to a healthcare professional.

What happens when you pull or strain a muscle?

A pulled muscle, also known as a muscle strain, often occurs in the lower back and hamstrings.15 This is when a muscle tears, typically from exercises like sprinting or sudden increase in exercise. This commonly occurs when the muscle is contracting while elongating.16


How to recover from a muscle strain

Muscular strains may be managed with the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation). RICE helps to relieve pain and swelling and may also help with the healing process.17

R – Rest and protect

I – Ice or cold pack

C – Compression on the injured or sore area

E – Elevate the injured or sore area

If your muscle pain persists, speak to your GP or pharmacist.

Top tips: things to remember

  1. Heat therapy after exercise has been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Try placing a damp towel over the muscle.18
  2. Sleep deprivation can make pain worse. Try to go to bed at the same time each evening and stick to a consistent sleep routine when possible. If you are having trouble sleeping, speak to your GP.19
  3. Maintain a healthy diet. Your body uses proteins to repair muscles, and carbohydrates for energy. It’s important to eat a balanced, healthy diet.20
  4. Try using a foam roller to alleviate muscle pain and tension.21
  5. Consider getting a massage to help relieve muscle tension and boost blood flow.22
  6. Try soaking in a bath with Epsom salts. This may help your muscles to relax.23

Where to get support and advice for muscle pain

Pain can be frustrating and sometimes even feel isolating. If you are looking for support and advice on muscle pain, here are some great resources to get you started;

Pain Toolkit https://www.paintoolkit.org/

Pain Concern https://painconcern.org.uk/

Health Talk https://healthtalk.org/

NHS Inform https://www.nhsinform.scot/


Flarin Joint & Muscular Pain Relief 200 mg Soft Capsules. Contain ibuprofen. Relief from rheumatic or muscular pain, joint pain, back pain. Always read the label.


  1. References
    1. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17669-muscle-pain#:~:text=Almost%20everyone%20has%20muscle%20aches,do%20the%20things%20you%20love.
    2. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/17669-muscle-pain
    3. https://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/post-workout-muscle-recovery-how-why-let-your-muscles-heal/
    4. https://www.physiofitcambridge.co.uk/advice/how-long-does-it-take-to-recover-from-a-soft-tissue-injury/
    5. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/how-to-warm-up-before-exercising/
    6. https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/keeping-active/before-and-after-exercise/warm-up-and-cool-down#:~:text=Warming%20up%20increases%20your%20heart,improves%20the%20efficiency%20of%20movement.
    7. https://www.mdbonedocs.com/proper-footwear-to-prevent-sports-injury/
    8. https://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/muscle-pain
    9. https://www.henryford.com/blog/2020/05/how-to-lower-your-cortisol-levels#:~:text=It’s%20elevated%20when%20we%20experience,and%20immune%20systems%2C%20for%20example.
    10. https://www.apa.org/topics/stress/body#:~:text=When%20the%20body%20is%20stressed,tension%20when%20the%20stress%20passes.
    11. https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/tips-and-support/mindfulness/
    12. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469#:~:text=Almost%20any%20form%20of%20exercise,%2C%20gardening%2C%20weightlifting%20and%20swimming.
    13. https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/vitamin-d-deficiency#:~:text=When%20vitamin%20D%20levels%20are,muscle%20pain%20and%20muscle%20weakness.
    14. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/
    15. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/muscle-strains/symptoms-causes/syc-20450507
    16. https://www.hss.edu/conditions_muscle-strain
    17. https://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/orthopaedic-surgery-sports-medicine/treatment/rice
    18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3808259/
    19. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/pain/10-ways-to-ease-pain/
    20. https://www.henryford.com/blog/2016/03/8-ways-to-ease-post-workout-muscle-pain
    21. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/jul/foam-rolling-101-who-should-do-it-when-to-do-it-how-to-do-it/#:~:text=%22Foam%20rolling%20is%20a%20type,athletic%20trainer%20at%20Houston%20Methodist.
    22. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/sore-muscles-after-workout
    23. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2021/sep/muscle-soreness-after-a-workout-can-it-be-prevented/