When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Muscle pain from minor injuries, stress or exercise is usually helped with simple home treatment. Muscle pain from severe injuries or systemic disease is often serious and requires medical care.

Get immediate medical care if you have muscle pain with:

  • Trouble breathing or dizziness
  • Extreme muscle weakness
  • A high fever and stiff neck

Schedule an office visit if you have:

  • A known tick bite or could have had a tick bite
  • A rash, especially the "bulls-eye" rash of Lyme disease
  • Muscle pain, especially in your calves, that occurs with exercise and resolves with rest
  • Signs of infection, such as redness and swelling, around a sore muscle
  • Muscle pain after you start taking or increase the dosage of a medication — (particularly statins — medications used to control cholesterol
  • Muscle pain that doesn't improve with self-care


Muscle pain that occurs during an activity usually signals a "pulled" or strained muscle. These types of injuries usually respond well to R.I.C.E. therapy:

  • Rest. Take a break from your normal activities.
  • Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the sore area for 20 minutes several times a day.
  • Compression. Use a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart, especially at night, which allows gravity to help reduce swelling.

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Dec. 21, 2021

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