About all

Body aches and fever causes: Why your whole body aches when you’re sick (and what you can do about it)

Why your whole body aches when you’re sick (and what you can do about it)

Coming down with a cold, virus or the flu is never fun. But sometimes you can push through if the symptoms aren’t too bad. Have a sore throat? Gargle. Feeling congested? Take a steam shower. Mild fever? Take fever-reducing medicine. It’s bearable, though not ideal.

But once full-body aches set in (often accompanied by a fever), you may quickly find yourself out of commission. Unlike the muscle aches that can come on after one too many squats, body aches from an illness tend to cause dull pain and discomfort everywhere.

The good news is you can find some relief from full-body aches right in the comfort of your home. Here’s what you need to know:

What causes body aches when you’re sick?

When you have the flu, a common cold, a virus or a bacterial infection, your immune system jumps into action. It reacts by releasing white blood cells to fight off the infection. The reaction causes inflammation, which can leave your muscles feeling achy.

The good news is that your achiness is a sign that your body is fighting off the illness. But the harder your body works, the more severely the body might ache.

Full-body aches are also often accompanied by other symptoms including:

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Shivering or body temperature changes
  • Cold and flu-like symptoms

What helps body aches

The best way to diminish full-body aches is to treat the underlying cause of the aching. But as you’re waiting for treatment to kick in — or just waiting for a virus to run its course — try to:

Stay hydrated

Some symptoms of cold and flu — such as sweating, vomiting and diarrhea — can leave you dehydrated. But water is essential to your body’s normal functioning and its ability to fight infection. Drink plenty of water, broth, tea or electrolyte drinks. Soup is also a great way to stay hydrated, especially if you are struggling to eat solid foods.

Use heat to relax your muscles

Heat can loosen muscles and provide relief from body aches. If you don’t have a severe fever, a warm bath or shower can be relaxing. But avoid making the temperature too hot — keep the water just above lukewarm to maintain your body temperature. Heating pads or blankets can also offer some comfort, but avoid excessive heat and don’t use them if there is a chance you may fall asleep.

Regulate your body temperature

Full-body aches often go hand-in-hand with a fever. As a higher body temperature causes you to shiver, your muscles tense up and may begin to ache. To regulate your body temperature, reach for fever-reducing pain medicine, take a cool bath and use only a thin blanket or sheet.


Research shows that the immune system and sleep are closely connected. Sleep strengthens the body’s defense system. And when the body is fighting infection, it craves more sleep. The problem is that when you are sick, other symptoms often make it hard to sleep soundly. Try to rest as much as possible — it will relax your muscles and speed up the healing process.

Take over-the-counter pain medication

Common pain relievers may help you feel better but be sure to choose non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. NSAIDs have anti-inflammatory properties and block the body’s production of inflammation-causing chemicals. As a bonus, NSAIDs also help reduce fever to regulate body temperature.

When to see your doctor about full-body aches

Body aches from a viral illness typically clear up in a couple of days and improve with home remedies. But if your body aches haven’t gotten better after 3-5 days, check in with your primary care physician (PCP).

See a doctor sooner if your body aches:

  • Appear after a tick bite
  • Accompany severe redness or swelling
  • Occur with a rash

If you don’t have a fever or other symptoms, and you experience body aches often or for prolonged periods of time, make an appointment with your PCP. It could be a sign of a drug reaction or a more severe and chronic underlying medical condition, such as an autoimmune disease.

If you have body aches that aren’t improving, reach out to your primary care physician.

Body Aches: 17 Possible Causes

Body aches occur with many health conditions, including arthritis and the flu. If the pain lasts more than a few days, is severe, or occurs with other symptoms, you may need medical attention.

Often, rest and home treatment can relieve body aches. However, persistent or severe pain may have an underlying cause that needs medical attention.

A doctor can help you work out a treatment plan to relieve your aches and other associated symptoms.

Keep reading to learn more about 17 causes for body aches and pains and other symptoms of each, to help you work out what’s happening.

We often think of stress as a mental health condition, but it can also impact the body on a cellular level.

In times of stress, the body can become more susceptible to infection and inflammation, and it may lead to aches and pains.

Other symptoms of stress and anxiety include:

  • an increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • sweating
  • hyperventilating
  • trembling
  • headache

Get some tips for relieving stress here.

Water is an essential ingredient for the body’s normal and healthy functioning. Without it, you can become dehydrated, which can lead to muscle cramps.

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • dark urine
  • dizziness or disorientation
  • exhaustion
  • extreme thirst

What’s the best way to rehydrate?

Adults aged 18 and over need to sleep at least 7 hours in every 24 hours.

Having too little sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. It can also worsen existing pain symptoms.

Around 25% of your sleep should be the deepest sleep. During this time, the body repairs itself and releases essential hormones, among other functions.

Not getting enough quality sleep also increase the risk of various chronic conditions, such as:

  • diabetes
  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • depression

How much deep, light, and REM sleep do we need, and how can we get enough good quality sleep?

A cold, the flu, COVID-19, and other infections can cause inflammation as your immune system works to remove them. This can cause aches and pains.

Here are some common symptoms of these conditions.

A coldThe fluCOVID-19
stuffy nose
sore throat
slight aches
fever and chills
chest discomfort
fever or chills
muscle or body aches
cough and possibly breathing difficulty
new loss of taste or sense of smell
congestion or runny nose

Cold symptoms are usually milder than those of flu. The severity and types of COVID-19 symptoms vary widely, but they can become life threatening if a person finds it hard to breathe.

What’s the difference between cold and flu symptoms?

Anemia happens when your body doesn’t have enough properly functioning red blood cells, so your body tissues can’t get enough oxygen.

Some people who live with chronic conditions have anemia of inflammation. Experts believe this may result when a chronic condition affects how the body works, including how it uses iron.

Possible symptoms include:

  • body pain
  • a rapid heart rate
  • dizziness or light-headedness
  • weakness and fatigue
  • pale skin
  • shortness of breath

What are some signs of iron deficiency anemia?

Hypocalcemia, or a low blood calcium level, can happen when you don’t have enough calcium in your diet and vitamin D (calciferol) in your body from sunshine or your diet.

Your bones and muscles need calcium and vitamin D to stay healthy.

Low vitamin D levels can lead to:

  • bone pain and unusual bone shape in children and teens
  • muscle pain and weakness
  • muscle cramps

How can I get more vitamin D?

Mononucleosis, mono, or “kissing disease” is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).

It’s very contagious, and symptoms include head and body aches.

Other symptoms are:

  • fatigue
  • fever
  • a sore throat
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • an enlarged liver, spleen, or both
  • a rash

What treatments can you use for mono?

Pneumonia is a lung infection that can affect your whole body.

It can cause chest and muscle pain, as well as:

  • a cough, which may be dry or produce green, yellow, or blood-tinged mucus
  • headache
  • fever and chills
  • breathing difficulty
  • fatigue
  • low appetite
  • confusion
  • nausea and vomiting, especially in children

Can home remedies support medical treatment for pneumonia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition where your entire body feels exhausted, achy, and sensitive.

Why is happens is unclear, but older age and having lupus or rheumatoid arthritis seem to increase the risk.

Symptoms include:

  • pain and stiffness throughout the body
  • fatigue
  • depression and anxiety
  • sleep problems
  • difficulty thinking, focusing, and remembering
  • headaches and migraine

Fibromyalgia diet: Can it help?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), can cause you to feel exhausted and weak, no matter how much rest or sleep you get.

Possible causes include previous infection with the EBV or other viruses, genetic factors, and changes in the immune system.

Symptoms of CFS include:

  • aches in the muscles and joints throughout your body
  • fatigue that does not improve with rest
  • a general feeling of being unwell
  • headaches
  • sleep disturbances and daytime drowsiness
  • difficulty thinking and remembering

Get some diet hacks to reduce chronic fatigue

Arthritis happens when your joints become inflamed. There are different types of arthritis, and symptoms can vary, but they all include joint pain.

Examples include:

  • osteoarthritis, which happens when the cartilage around your joints breaks down
  • autoimmune conditions that wear away the lining around your joints, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • gout, when a buildup of uric acid crystals causes pain, swelling, and inflammation
  • psoriatic arthritis, which can occur with psoriasis and often involves swelling in the fingers

Other symptoms of arthritis include:

  • stiffness in your joints
  • swelling, warmth, or redness around the joint
  • not being able to move a joint all the way

Can Ayurvedic treatment help with arthritis?

Lupus, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), happens when your immune system attacks the tissues around your body, including blood vessels, organs, and joints.

The damage and inflammation that can lead to pain in the joints due to arthritis.

Other symptoms include:

  • skin lesions and rashes
  • anemia
  • headache
  • heart, lung, and kidney problems
  • ear and eye problems

What are some diet tips for lupus?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that spreads through tick bites.

Symptoms develop in stages and include:

  • a rash
  • muscle pain
  • eye pain
  • joint pain, especially in the knee, ankle, and wrist joints
  • facial palsy, or weakness in the facial muscles

Without treatment, Lyme disease can lead to neuromuscular and joint conditions, such as arthritis and facial paralysis. It can also cause heart problems.

What is the Lyme disease antibody test?

Histoplasmosis is a fungal infection caused by airborne spores from the soil or the droppings of bats or birds, especially in river valleys.

Possible symptoms include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • chills and fever
  • chest pain
  • joint pain, in some cases
  • headaches
  • coughing

How can histoplasmosis affect the eyes?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition that affects the nervous system. It causes the myelin coverings around nerves to break down because of constant inflammation. As a result, the nerves cannot transmit messages effectively.

As a result, a person with MS will experience body aches and pain.

They may also experience:

  • vision changes
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • tingling
  • trouble walking or staying balanced
  • trouble remembering or thinking

What are the treatments for MS?

Sepsis is an extreme response to an infection. It happens when an infection in the lungs, skin, or elsewhere triggers an immune reaction throughout the body. It is a life-threatening emergency.

The symptoms of sepsis include:

  • severe pain
  • a rapid heart rate or weak pulse
  • confusion
  • fever or chills
  • difficulty breathing
  • clammy skin

Anyone with these symptoms needs urgent medical treatment, especially if they have a weakened immune system or already have an infection. It can quickly lead to septic shock, which can be fatal.

Cancer can cause general body pain if it spreads throughout the body or if a person has bone cancer. As late-stage cancer progresses, the pain will increase, and the person will need strong pain relief medication.

Depending on where cancer has spread, other late-stage symptoms may include:

  • bone pain and fractures if cancer is in the bones
  • shortness of breath, if cancer is in the lungs
  • headaches and dizziness if cancer has reached the brain
  • abdominal swelling and jaundice, which give a yellow tinge to the eyes, if cancer has spread to the liver

Some cancer treatments can also cause bone pain.

Anyone with cancer or a previous diagnosis of cancer should speak with a doctor if they notice an onset of general pain or bone pain.

What are the stages of cancer?

Why do I have joint pain in the morning?

Joint pain and stiffness that is present when you wake up and lasts 30 minutes or longer may be a sign of RA. RA usually affects more than one joint, and it occurs in corresponding joints on both sides of the body, for instance, both knees.

What does it mean when you have body aches but no fever?

Body aches often happen with an infection, and you may also have a fever and chills. However, they also can occur without a fever, for instance, if you have been exercising more than usual, if you are not sleeping well, or if you are lacking nutrients, such as vitamin D or calcium.

How do you stop body aches?

This will depend on the cause. If it is due to exercise, you will have to wait until they resolve. Some underlying conditions, such as a cold or the flu, respond to rest and home treatment. Other causes will need medical attention. In the case of sepsis, the person will need immediate help.

Seek emergency medication attention if you have body pain with the following symptoms:

  • trouble breathing
  • trouble eating or drinking
  • a high fever
  • confusion
  • seizures
  • extreme fatigue or exhaustion
  • a bad cough that doesn’t go away after a few days

If other, milder symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, see your doctor. They can examine you for a possible underlying condition. They will then work with you on a treatment plan to reduce the pain and treat the cause.

If you don’t already have a primary care doctor, you can browse doctors in your area through the Healthline FindCare tool.

Body aches and pains can happen for many reasons, ranging from stress to sepsis. Many of these causes are not serious and will resolve without treatment, but some may need urgent medical treatment.

If so, a doctor will consider the aches and pains along with other symptoms and carry out various tests before making a diagnosis.

Read this article in Spanish.

What to do if the temperature rises and the body aches?

The cause of pain in muscles, joints and bones during fever often lies in intoxication, that is, poisoning of the body 1 . As “poisons” are bacterial toxins, products of inflammation and decay of tissues in the affected areas, substances that appear in the body due to metabolic disorders against the background of the disease 1 . At the same time, the severity of symptoms of intoxication primarily depends on the type of infectious agent and the body’s ability to resist it 1 .

Infectious diseases are more commonly caused by:

  • viruses, such as influenza, parainfluenza, adenoviruses, hepatitis viruses, infectious mononucleosis, measles, varicella, and others;
  • bacteria: staphylococcus, streptococcus, salmonella, tubercle bacillus, etc.;
  • protozoa: amoeba and giardia;
  • mushrooms 2 .

The vast majority of all infections are acute respiratory viral diseases 2.3 . Their pathogens can be:

  • influenza viruses – about 15% of cases;
  • parainfluenza – up to 50%;
  • adenoviruses – up to 5%,
  • respiratory syncytial virus – about 4%;
  • enteroviruses – 1%;
  • viral associations – about 23%;
  • other viruses 4 .

All of these viruses can infect the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract. They penetrate the epithelial cells of the nasal cavity and pharynx, causing local inflammation and death of these cells 3.4 . Absorption into the bloodstream of inflammation and decay products leads to the development of an intoxication syndrome, accompanied by body aches and fever, weakness, headache and other symptoms 3.4 .

Intoxication is most pronounced in influenza 4.5 . Its appearance precedes the symptoms of respiratory tract damage.

  • Body temperature rises to 39-40 °C 4 chills occur.
  • Starts to have a headache in the forehead and temples.
  • Sudden sounds and movements aggravate headache.
  • There is pain and pain in the eyes, aggravated by the movement of the eyeballs and pressure on them.
  • Eyes become red and watery.
  • Aches and pains in muscles and joints.
  • Acute weakness and lethargy seizes the whole body 5 .

According to statistics, muscle pains accompany influenza in 40% of cases. Muscle weakness occurs in 87% of patients 4 .

Additional manifestations of intoxication may be vomiting, sometimes occurring in children, dizziness and fainting, which are more common in adolescents and elderly patients. Possible sleep disturbance in the form of insomnia 5 .

The manifestations of SARS caused by other respiratory viruses (not the influenza virus) are similar to each other 4 . According to the severity of the intoxication syndrome, these diseases are an order of magnitude inferior to influenza 4 .

So, rhinovirus infection , although it begins acutely, with sneezing and the appearance of copious watery discharge from the nose, is almost never accompanied by body aches and fever – the temperature rarely rises to 38 ° C, and sometimes even remains normal 4 .

With parainfluenza from the first day, sore throat, dry hacking cough, hoarseness are disturbed, and manifestations of intoxication are limited to a rise in temperature to 37. 5 ° C, mild weakness and headache 4 .

Adenovirus infection is characterized by high and prolonged fever, runny nose, conjunctivitis, sore throat associated with damage to the pharyngeal tonsils, swollen lymph nodes. However, despite the impressive set of symptoms and high temperature, the muscles and joints do not hurt – some weakness and heaviness in the head are possible 4 .

Respiratory syncytial infection also occurs with moderate intoxication: weakness, lethargy, headache, discomfort in the muscles of the body – but the resulting discomfort is not comparable to what happens with the flu. Along with the intoxication syndrome, there is a cough with shortness of breath, wheezing and viscous sputum 4 .

Pain in the whole body – General information, Causes. Tomsk

General information

Patients with high fever complain of fever or the presence of chills, feeling hot, excessive sweating, pain throughout the body. With a systematic (morning and evening) measurement of body temperature, attention is drawn to type of fever (temperature height, its daily fluctuations, the duration of the increase in body temperature).

A certain type of fever (temperature curve) is characteristic of certain infectious diseases and carries valuable information. Therefore, all infectious patients who are being treated at home and, especially, in the hospital, have their body temperature measured at least 2 times (in the morning and in the evening). At home, the patient’s body temperature is recorded on a separate sheet in order to provide this informative data to the doctor later.

Causes of pain in the whole body

In addition to excessive physical activity, various injuries and viral diseases – from colds or flu to pneumonia, as a result of which you can feel pain in the whole body, there are other causes of such disorders, the effect of which is still not quite clear yet. The immune system responds to the invasion of viruses into the body with a protective reaction – the development of an inflammatory process , with which muscle pains are associated.

bites from ticks that carry infectious diseases can cause pain in all joints. Although the threat posed by these parasites has now decreased somewhat, the problem of the occurrence of disorders remains. Signs of the disease due to a tick bite are a rash in the form of vesicles with a clear liquid, redness of the skin at the site of the bite or on other parts of the body (and a walk in the forest a few weeks before the onset of pain can serve as confirmation of the bite).

Pain throughout the body can be a sign of hematological diseases (leukemia, lymphomas), as well as oncological pathology (cancer). The occurrence of pain throughout the body may be associated with some other diseases. So, with damage to the joints, pain spreads to nearby muscles.

These disorders may be caused by connective tissue or autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or (in rare cases) lupus. The symptoms of these diseases vary in severity, and mild forms of the disease are mistakenly considered as other disorders.

In rheumatoid arthritis, the pain is usually more pronounced in the morning when the person starts doing something after a period of rest at night. However, soon, after 30-60 minutes of movement, the condition improves. Arthritis due to degenerative changes in bone tissue (so-called osteoarthritis) usually manifests itself in increased pain towards the end of the day.

The vast majority of infectious patients complain of general malaise, weakness, weakness, feeling of pain throughout the body, pain in muscles, joints, sleep disturbance and almost always headache.

The intensity of the listed suffering of an infectious patient depends primarily on the nature, severity and form of the disease.