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Old 03-10-2012, 11:37 AM
freckafree freckafree is offline
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Why muscle aches with fever, and why only sometimes?

I understand that fever is part of your body's effort to make the environment inhospitable to whatever pathogen is infecting it. Are muscle aches just a by-product of the immune response? If so, why do they accompany a fever only some of the time? While we're at it, can someone tell me what causes muscles to ache with fever?

Inquiring minds recovering from a really crummy cold want to know.
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:53 PM
scamartistry scamartistry is offline
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The fever is a reaction coming from chemicals your body releases when encountering a foreign body ( in this case most probably a virus) . These chemicals go into the bloodstream and reach your hypothalamus (in your brain), which react in a rudimentary fashion by increasing your body temperature.

The actual muscle ache part I would like to understand myself. My point is that the two are not necessarily connected.

Last edited by scamartistry; 03-10-2012 at 01:55 PM..
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:44 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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Muscle aches during illness are usually attributed to dehydration (and sometimes a resulting electrolyte imbalance). Fever can cause this, but so can vomiting and diarrhea, and so can not drinking fluids when you're sick.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:39 PM
freckafree freckafree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag View Post
Muscle aches during illness are usually attributed to dehydration (and sometimes a resulting electrolyte imbalance). Fever can cause this, but so can vomiting and diarrhea, and so can not drinking fluids when you're sick.
Can you provide a cite for that, Nametag? I've read that dehydration can cause muscle cramping. What I'm talking about is that pervasive "everything hurts" kind of muscle ache. Maybe dehydration can cause it, but in my experience, the onset of the aching coincides with the fever, as does its disappearance.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:01 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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The medical community attributes most myalgias and arthralgias associated with infection to a variety of immunologic processes induced by the infection. Cytokinins and other chemicals released by the body to fight the invader tend to cause inflammation in muscles and joints, and often muscle enzyme levels are elevated in the blood as a result of this.

Immune complex deposition has also been identified as a probable cause. Antibodies binds to the virus or bacteria, inactivating it and making it more easily digestible to white cells. This process also causes local inflammation and tissue irritation.

Essentially, the 'chemical warfare' that the body's immune system wages on the invader has a lot of collateral damage to the battlefield itself, within the muscles, joints, blood vessels, lungs, etc. Hence the aches and pains as the battle rages.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:04 PM
freckafree freckafree is offline
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Thank you, QtM! That was just the kind of info I was hoping someone would be able to give me.

So is there anything that determines why you get muscle aches sometimes and not others?
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Old 03-10-2012, 05:13 PM
Qadgop the Mercotan Qadgop the Mercotan is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freckafree View Post
So is there anything that determines why you get muscle aches sometimes and not others?
Lots of variables and unknowns to that one, but a short answer is that many infections just don't trigger a full blown immune response. Many reasons, lots of them unknown, as to which triggers what. But otherwise every cold would trigger your body's equivalent of WW III.

Which is good, as sometimes it's the immune response to an infection that is fatal, not the infection itself.

"We had to destroy the village to save it."
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Old 03-10-2012, 10:37 PM
KarlGauss KarlGauss is offline
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What Qadgop said (as always!).

I'll note that in various infections, especially those due to viruses, the body produces substances called interferons.

It is instructive to note that when interferons are used therapeutically, i.e. as medicines (for things like viral hepatitis and certain leukemias), many of their side effects are basically just the symptoms of a typical "flu", i.e. aches, myalgias, "malaise", headache, fever, etc.

Does that help answer the OP?
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