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What Do COVID-19 Body Aches Feel Like? COVID-19 Symptoms

Medically Reviewed on 1/3/2022

COVID-19 body aches can range from mild to moderate, and may affect the shoulders, lower back, or legs and limit or restrict mobility

COVID-19 body aches can range from mild to moderate. Most people have reported that COVID-19 body aches feel like dull muscle pain that typically affects the shoulders, lower back, or legs and may limit or restrict their mobility.

When do body aches occur in COVID-19?

Body aches or muscle pains may be an early symptom of COVID-19, often appearing at the very start of the illness and lasting for an average of 2-3 days.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 body aches can sometimes last much longer and are commonly reported in people with long COVID-19 or post COVID-19 syndrome.

What causes body aches in COVID-19?

Body aches in COVID-19 are a result of inflammation in the body. This inflammatory response from the immune system is triggered by the invading virus that involves a series of complex processes that the body uses as a defense mechanism to fight off the invading pathogens.

About 1 out of 3 people infected with COVID-19 report body aches as a symptom. It is more common in adults between ages 16-65 (41%) than children (15%) or people over 65 (36%). A report from the World Health Organization analyzed nearly 56,000 cases of COVID-19 in China and found that nearly 15% of patients experienced muscle aches and pains.

How do you get rid of body aches?

If you are suffering from body aches and suspect it could be due to COVID-19, you should:

  • Self-isolate at home
  • Get tested (irrespective of vaccination status)
  • Monitor yourself for other symptoms, such as fever and sore throat
  • Rest
  • Stay hydrated
  • Stretch several times a day
  • Eat a healthy and nutritious diet
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers if needed:
    • Acetaminophen
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen

Medically Reviewed on 1/3/2022

References

Image Source: iStock Images

World Health Organization. COVID-19. https://www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus#tab=tab_1

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html

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