Why the Body Experiences Aches and Pains During a Fever
A fever takes a lot out of a person in a way that most headaches, colds, and cases of flu typically don’t on their own. Body aches and fever often go hand-in-hand because of the way that fevers affect the body. These symptoms are typically described as an aching feeling that affects various parts of the body and makes it very difficult to move around or have the energy to function at a normal level.
The paragraphs that follow provide a description of how fevers impact the body and why fevers are so often accompanied by body aches. Fever sufferers can better address their symptoms of body pain and fever with knowledge about the use of pain-relievers and other potential treatment strategies.
How Fevers Occur in the Body
In a healthy and well-functioning body, the white blood cells’ job is to identify and eliminate foreign cells. But when a person’s body has the flu, infection or fever, the white blood cells find and fight the intruder that is causing the sickness. Since the white blood cells response causes inflammation, the body is left feeling sore and achy.1,2
Meanwhile, while the white blood cells are busy fighting off the infection, they cause the release of cytokines, which are proteins that act as a natural chemical messengers.This also contributes to inflammation throughout the body. While some inflammation can be beneficial to fight illness, too much of it can negatively affect the muscles and joints by making them ache.2
How OTC Pain- Relievers Help with Fevers
Pain- relievers that contain acetaminophen or ibuprofen are often used to treat high fevers under the direction of a doctor. This is because they are able to reduce fevers and make a person feel better in a relatively short amount of time.3
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen and aspirin, reduce inflammation throughout the body by reducing the formation of prostaglandins, which therefore reduces the body’s perception of pain. NSAIDs also lower overall body temperature and some directly affect pain receptors in the brain.3
Treatment for Body Pain and Fever
Doctors sometimes recommend not trying to lower one’s body temperature for low-grade fevers but simply letting the fever run its natural course instead. When the symptoms of a fever are short-lived and manageable, this approach can be beneficial to prevent the masking of symptoms or prolonging of the illness.4
But when fevers become high or too uncomfortable to bear, there are other treatment strategies available as well. First, it is very important to get lots of rest during a fever to help the body regain energy and strength to fight it off.4
In addition to medication, fever body aches can be soothed with taking a lukewarm (but not cold) shower or bath to help the body cool down. Drinking plenty of fluids, mostly water, and eating foods rich in antioxidants will also help restore the body back to natural health.4
References for Why the Body Experiences Aches and Pains During a Fever
2. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Cytokine Biochemistry. Retrieved on September 15, 2019 from https://www.britannica.com/science/cytokine.
3. MacGill, Markus. (May 25, 2017). Medical News Today. Everything You Need To Know About NSAIDS from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179211.php.
4. Mayo Clinic. Fever. Retrieved on September 15, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20352759.
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