When to Worry About Body Pain: What You Need To Know

man with backpain


  • Physical injuries, such as sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations, can cause pain and require medical attention. 
  • Muscle overexertion can result in Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), which is usually a dull ache that resolves over time. 
  • Neuropathy is damage to the peripheral nerves that can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. 
  • Inflammation is a sign of an injury or infection that causes swelling, stiffness, and pain.
  • If you’re experiencing prolonged or unusual pain, seeking medical advice is best. 

Everyone experiences body pain occasionally, whether it’s a twinge, ache, or sharp stab. But when does body pain become something more serious? Knowing the difference between normal body pain and when it’s time to get help can be tricky. Here’s what you should look out for so that you can take the best care of yourself.

Physical Injury

If you suffer a physical injury, such as being hit by something or falling down, this could result in pain that requires medical attention. If you experience any persistent sharp pain or swelling after an injury, there’s a good chance you need to seek medical advice. Here are some possible outcomes of a physical injury:

Sprain or Strain

A sprain or strain is a common type of injury that happens when one of the ligaments or tendons in the body is stretched, torn, or overstretched. Sprains and strains often cause swelling and tenderness around the area of injury. Pain may also be present after an injury such as this, ranging from mild to severe.


A fracture is a bone break caused by a direct injury or repetitive stress on the bones over time. Fractures can be very painful and cause significant swelling and bruising. Depending on the severity of the fracture, a cast or other medical treatment may be necessary.


Dislocations are when two bones move out of their normal alignment. This kind of injury can be extremely painful and often requires medical attention to realign the bones. Dislocation pain is typically sharp and may be accompanied by swelling, bruising, or numbness.

man holding knee and ankle injured from running with blue shoes on the side

Muscle Overexertion

Exerting muscles, such as lifting too much weight or doing too many reps, can sometimes cause pain. The most common form of muscle pain caused by overexertion is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

This type of pain typically begins a few hours after the activity and peaks within 24-72 hours. It’s usually a dull, aching pain in the affected muscle and can be quite uncomfortable.

While it typically resolves on its own within one to two weeks, if you experience intense or prolonged pain that is not improving after a few days, it’s best to get checked out by your doctor.


Neuropathy is a condition that causes damage to the peripheral nerves due to injury or illness. This can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in affected areas of the body.

The associated pain typically feels like an electric shock or burning sensation and can be very uncomfortable. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, effective neuropathy treatment should be sought in order to relieve the pain and improve your quality of life.

The leading cause of neuropathy is diabetes, so if you have diabetes, it’s important to get checked out by your doctor to ensure your blood sugar levels are controlled.

woman wincing in pain holding her wrist with red spots added to show pain


Inflammation is a sign that the body’s immune system is activated, usually in response to an injury or infection. It can result in pain, swelling, redness, and heat around the area of inflammation. Here are some disorders that are associated with inflammation and can cause pain:


Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints, causing swelling, stiffness, and pain. It typically worsens over time if left untreated, so early diagnosis and treatment are key. If you notice that your joints are painful or swollen, be sure to have them checked out by a doctor.


Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and fatigue. The pain associated with fibromyalgia can range from mild to severe and may come in waves. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia so that you can get the appropriate treatment.

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, resulting in inflammation and pain. Common autoimmune disorders include lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. If you’re experiencing unexplained body pain that is not getting better, it may be worth talking to a doctor about the possibility of an autoimmune disorder.

Body pain is a common experience for many people, but living with chronic discomfort is unnecessary. Keep an eye out for signs of physical injury, muscle overexertion, neuropathy, inflammation, and other conditions that can cause body pain. If you’re experiencing prolonged or unusual aches and pains that don’t seem to go away on their own, it may be time to seek medical advice. Knowing when to worry about your body pain can be the key to living a healthy and comfortable life.

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