Why Does My Body Ache?

Written by Tim Jewell on June 12, 2017



Lack of sleep

Cold or flu


Vitamin D deficiency




Chronic fatigue syndrome



Lyme disease


Multiple sclerosis

See your doctor

Is this cause for concern?


Body aches are a common symptom of many conditions. The flu is one of the most well-known conditions that can cause body aches. Aches can also be caused by your everyday life, especially if you stand, walk, or exercise for long periods of time.


You may just need rest and some treatment at home to relieve your body aches. But some aches, especially ones that last a long time, may mean that you have an underlying condition. In these cases, you may need to see your doctor for a diagnosis. They can create a long-term treatment plan to can relieve your aches and other associated symptoms.


Keep reading to learn more about what may be causing your symptoms.



1. Stress

When you’re stressed out, your immune system can’t control its response to inflammation as well. As a result, your body can’t fight off infections or sickness as well as it usually can. This can cause your body to ache as it becomes more susceptible to inflammation and infection throughout your body.


Watch out for other symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as:


abnormally high heart rate

increased blood pressure

hot flashes or cold sweats


abnormal physical shaking

headaches, such as tension headaches or migraines

If you think stress is causing your body aches, make small changes to your daily lifestyle to reduce your stress as much as possible. Try these steps:


Meditate for a few minutes per day. Focus on your breathing and take your mind off the people or events causing you stress.

Take a walk or leave a stressful environment to remove yourself from triggers.

Share your feelings of stress with someone you trust to help articulate the cause of your stress.

If you’re losing sleep over stress, try relaxation techniques before bed or take short naps throughout the day to refresh yourself.

Learn more: The best stress relief blogs of the year »


2. Dehydration

Water is an essential ingredient for your body’s normal and healthy functioning. Without it, your body can’t properly perform many of its important processes, including breathing and digestion. When you become dehydrated and these processes don’t work well, you can feel physical pain as a result.


Other symptoms of dehydration include:


dark urine

dizziness or disorientation


extreme thirst

If you don’t drink enough water, especially on a hot or dry day, you can become dehydrated quickly. You should aim to drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day, plus more if you’re physically active and sweating.


If you’re dehydrated because of a condition like diarrhea, drink plenty of water until the episode passes. Drinking water or beverages with extra electrolytes can help keep you hydrated and replace the electrolytes lost to diarrhea, too.


If you can’t keep water down, see your doctor right away or seek emergency medical help to make sure you don’t become severely dehydrated.



3. Lack of sleep

Not getting enough sleep can impact your overall health. You need at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night, including the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Your body’s tissues and cells need proper sleep to stay healthy, and your brain needs it to stay refreshed and alert. Without it, your body doesn’t have the time to rest and replenish essential energies and processes. This can lead to pain.


Other symptoms of sleep deprivation include:


confusion or disorientation

falling asleep during the day without realizing it

trouble understanding when reading or listening to others

trouble speaking properly

trouble remembering things

Try to establish a consistent sleep schedule every night. Your body needs to follow a daily rhythm, or circadian rhythm, to stay healthy.


Try techniques to relax before bed, such as:


drinking hot tea or other hot beverage


listening to music or a podcast

having white noise in the room, such as from a fan

4. Cold or flu

A cold and the flu are both viral infections that cause inflammation. These infections attack your body, and your immune system attempts to fight them off. Inflammation, especially in your throat, chest, and lungs, can be painful. The rest of your body might ache, too, as your body works hard to fight the infection.


Other common symptoms of a cold or flu include:


sore throat

hoarse voice

sneezing or coughing

thick, colored mucus

headaches or earaches

Getting rest, drinking plenty of water, and gargling with warm salt water to ease your throat pain can help your body get over a cold or the flu quickly. Over-the-counter medications, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and ibuprofen (Advil), can help relieve your symptoms and aches.


If you have cold or flu symptoms for more than a few weeks, or if you can’t eat, drink, or