What Is Musculoskeletal Pain?

Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. It can be acute (having a rapid onset with severe symptoms) or chronic (long-lasting). It can be localized in one area, or widespread throughout the body.

What Causes Musculoskeletal Pain?

The causes of musculoskeletal pain are varied. Muscle tissue can be damaged with the wear and tear of daily activities. Trauma to an area (fractures, sprains, dislocations, and direct blows to the muscle) also can lead to this type of pain. Other causes include repetitive movements, overuse, and prolonged immobilization. Lower back pain is one of the most common types of chronic muscloskeletal pain, as is osteoarthritis-related pain.

What Are Specific Symptoms?

Symptoms of musculoskeletal pain depend on whether the pain is caused by an injury or overuse and whether it is chronic or acute. The symptoms can also differ from person to person. Common symptoms include pain that worsens with movement, the sensation of "burning" in the muscles, and the feeling that the muscles have been pulled or overworked.

The Psychological Impact of Chronic Pain

Pain doesn't just affect the body. It also has a big impact on how someone feels emotionally. All too often, pain can disrupt sleep, making tempers short and memory and concentration poor. Also common are fears that the pain will get worse or that the right treatment will not be found. Home and professional lives can suffer as a result of chronic pain.

The Right Treatment

If you're living with chronic musculoskeletal pain, know that there are options available to help you feel better. Talk to your doctor about the treatment that's right for you—you deserve to get your quality of life back again.