What is musculoskeletal pain?

Musculoskeletal Pain
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Musculoskeletal pain: Overview

Different problems with the bones, muscles, nerves, ligaments, and tendons in the body can cause pain. One or more areas of your body may ache or burn, or feel tired, stiff, or sore. This is called musculoskeletal pain.

This type of pain can have many different causes. Sometimes it's caused by an injury such as a strain or sprain. Or it might by caused by using one part of your body in the same way over and over again (overuse). In some cases, the cause is another health problem such as arthritis or fibromyalgia.

Treatment depends on your symptoms and the cause of the pain, if known. Sometimes doctors can't find a cause. But there are things you can do at home to help you feel better.

How can you care for your child who has musculoskeletal pain?

  • If your child's pain is new, encourage your child to rest until your child feels better and to avoid anything that makes the pain worse. Your child can gradually be more active when they child feel better and the doctor says it's okay.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Ask your child's doctor about using heat or cold for pain. Only use these when you can be near to supervise your child.
    • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake). Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
    • After 2 or 3 days, you can try applying heat to the area that hurts. Apply heat for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. You might also try switching between ice and heat.

Musculoskeletal pain: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new pain, or your pain gets worse.
  • You have new symptoms such as a fever, a rash, or chills.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.