This post shares about general, non-specific body aches. My reflections are based on my personal experience. As everyone has different bodies and experiences, I welcome you to share your thoughts in the comments.
Body aches have become a common fact of my mid-life. My low-level, everyday aches are unique to my body and its history; yet, my friends and I seem to share an increased frequency of body aches as we age.
Body aches are mysterious to me because they can be (to use a word I am making up) contramonious. In other words, opposing causes can result in similar aches. Some examples:
- I can ache from exercising too intensely or too often, or from not enough or not frequently enough.
- I ache when am dehydrated, or when I feel I am retaining water.
- Aches can come from new injuries, but also from old healed injuries.
Aches in the body can also present in contrasting ways:
- Aches can be dull and generalized, or sharp and localized.
- Aches can come from one’s body attacking its own healthy cells, as in an autoimmune disorder.
- Aches can be uncomfortable but indicate nothing serious, or they can be symptoms of a condition that requires immediate medical attention.
Aches can be a mystery when their causes are not clear. My body has been been aching this week, and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. Maybe it’s because I sat all week at my desk. Or it’s because I went rollerskating in the mall on the weekend. It could be from recent my flu vaccine, or because I am getting sick and I haven’t hydrated enough. Perhaps there is a specific medical reason, or perhaps I am just tired and burnt out in general.
Body aches are literally a pain, but the small upside of mine is that they are a general warning light for me: inflammation is happening in my body, and things could get worse if I don’t take action. Aches force me stop and self-assess—how severely am I aching, what impact are these aches having on me, and what can I do to alleviate them?
I’m also happy that, though my aches may have many different possible causes, the treatment is fairly simple and standard:
- Warm bath (or my heating pad!)
- Light, safe movement
As I age, my low-level body aches are little mystery novels that remind me to do more simple self-care, no matter “what-dunit.”
What is your experience with everyday, low-level body aches? Is there an upside to your aching?