Blog , Health and Wellness

Why Do My Joints Hurt When I’m Sick?

Posted on Thursday, September 14, 2023
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
Sick senior next to a table of medicine and a lemon and water with text next to her

Ugh I’m sick…

When a person is infected with a virus, the immune system kicks in. White blood cells are released to fight off the infection. This can lead to inflammation and/or joint muscle pain that makes people feel achy. While it doesn’t feel great, it means that one’s body is working hard to protect themselves. Infections may also be accompanied by fevers and other symptoms as well. A person may ask, “Why do my joints hurt when I’m sick?” Doctors may recommend fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to relieve aches and pains. However, read on to learn more…

What’s bothering my joints?

Note that a variety of viruses, bacteria, and fungi can infect a joint. It’s important not to self-diagnosis joint issues as some infections can be dangerous.  Rather, see a doctor. For example, infectious (septic) arthritis includes fever, joint pain, and swelling. However, the symptoms can mimic other health conditions and be misleading. Complications of septic arthritis include permanent damage to the joint.

So many causes…

Joint pain can also be linked to various forms of ailments such as arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis, just to name a few.

Seeing your doctor is most urgent. However, relief from non-serious sources of joint pain can be achieved by doing just a few of the following:

  • Drinking clear fluids to increase joint lubrication
  • Using heating pads to loosen stiff joints and reduce spasms
  • Taking warm baths to penetrate tight joints
  • Performing massages to warm frozen joints
  • Performing gentle stretching exercises to stimulate blood flow
  • Taking medications as prescribed or recommended by a doctor
  • Icing injuries to decrease pain and inflammation

Discuss with your doctor:

  • Cause(s) of joint pain
  • Beneficial therapies
  • Helpful medications
  • Possible surgical solutions
  • Lifestyle changes such as ceasing smoking, limiting alcohol, and healthy eating

Recap & more

To recap, many wonder why their joints hurt when they are sick. Joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors. For example, it may be linked to illness, medical conditions, or many of the examples mentioned above. Joint pain of unknown cause, or severe, consistent, or worsening pain, should never be ignored. In cases where home care is lacking while symptoms persist, professional assistance may be beneficial. Should you undergo sudden physical changes such as losing weight, developing a fever, or experiencing other significant symptoms, seek medical help promptly. For information on why joints may hurt in the cold, click here


This article is purely informational and is not medically reviewed nor intended as a medical resource.

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