Why do joints ache after a cold What to do to alleviate the condition

The consequences of bacterial or viral respiratory infections are very diverse. The causative agents of acute respiratory viral infections and influenza affect the muscles, blood vessels, nerves, ligament-tendon apparatus. In some people, all clinical manifestations disappear immediately after antiviral therapy or a course of antibiotics. Others feel discomfort in the joints for a long time at rest and while moving. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by swelling of the joints, redness of the skin above them.

If after a cold the joints began to hurt, then a visit to a rheumatologist or neurologist should not be postponed. A thorough laboratory and instrumental diagnosis is needed to establish the cause of the pathology. The treatment uses conservative methods – the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, glucocorticosteroids. Physiotherapeutic procedures, massage, exercise therapy are shown to patients.


Influenza, acute respiratory viral infections, bacterial tonsillitis last from one to two weeks. The speed of recovery is affected by the state of the immune system, a variety of infectious agents, a history of chronic pathologies, and the quality of the therapy. A doctor should be consulted if “aches” in the joints persist for several days. It can cause weakness after a severe respiratory illness.

But more often the inflammatory process is diagnosed in the muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons. In the absence of medical intervention, degenerative tissue changes begin to occur. After a few years, this will cause a loss of working capacity and human disability.


Joints usually hurt after a cold due to poisoning of the body with toxic waste products of viruses, bacteria, pathogenic fungi. In the process of their growth and active reproduction, a large number of metabolites, enzymes, dead viruses and microbes penetrate into the bloodstream. Own cells of the human body, for example, destroyed cells of the immune system, which it produces to destroy foreign proteins, also enter the systemic circulation.

Acute clinical manifestations are characteristic of the first three days of a respiratory infection. One of the symptoms of general intoxication is muscle and (or) joint pain. It is almost always accompanied by other signs of body poisoning:

  • temperature exceeding subfebrile values;
  • weakness, apathy, fatigue;
  • gastrointestinal upsets.

Such symptoms disappear after the destruction of infectious agents, but discomfort in the joints can be felt for several more days. The fact is that viruses and bacteria distort the course of metabolic processes. Lactic acid and ammonia accumulate in excess in muscle fibers, evacuating within a few hours under normal health conditions. Toxic substances irritate the sensitive nerve endings, causing pain. They provoke damage to muscle and nerve cells, deplete their energy reserves necessary for fiber reduction. For accelerated cleansing of the body of infectious agents and products of their vital activity, the following are shown to patients:

  • bed rest;
  • heavy drinking (still water, mineral waters of Essentuki, Narzan, Borjomi, Slavyanovskaya, berry fruit drinks, vegetable juices, fruit compotes);
  • taking balanced complexes of vitamins and minerals (Selmevit, Complivit, Supradin, Vitrum, Centrum).

The appearance of pain, weakness in the legs often becomes a consequence of a respiratory infection. Doctors warn that if symptoms persist for more than a week, an examination is required to exclude complications in the form of developing reactive articular pathologies.


Myositis is a pathology accompanied by the development of an inflammatory process in skeletal muscle. The disease becomes a consequence of acute intoxication, the lack of adequate therapy for influenza, acute respiratory viral infections, and bacterial tonsillitis. Of the primary infectious foci located in the upper, lower respiratory tract, viruses or bacteria penetrate the muscle fibers localized near the joints. At the initial stage, pain is felt, the intensity of which increases with palpation or movement. Sometimes the skin above the knee or elbow blushes, swells. If a person does not seek medical help, then stiffness occurs due to gradual muscle atrophy. Pathology quickly takes a chronic course with frequent exacerbation with a sharp decrease in immunity, hypothermia, stress. For the treatment of myositis, drugs of various clinical and pharmacological groups are used:

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If bacterial myositis is detected, antibiotic therapy can be performed. More commonly used are cephalosporins (Cefotaxime, Ceftriaxone), macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin), semi-synthetic, protected by clavulanic acid, penicillins (Amoxiclav, Flemoklav). If a viral pathology is diagnosed, then the treatment is aimed at eliminating the symptoms, strengthening immunity. Antiviral agents are rarely used due to the lack of a reliable evidence base for their clinical effectiveness.

Post-viral asthenia

An unpleasant consequence of influenza or ARVI can be asthenic syndrome. Its clinical manifestations are psycho-emotional instability, dyspeptic disorders, sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness. Such symptoms are accompanied by joint pain that occurs even after minor physical exertion. Reasons for the development of post-viral asthenia:

  • general intoxication of the body;
  • adverse reactions used to treat pharmacological agents;
  • excretion of the body fluid with useful trace elements;
  • deficiency of fat and water soluble vitamins;
  • decreased functional activity of the immune system.

Even “neglected” joint problems can be cured at home! Just remember to smear it once a day.

Viruses destabilize the work of almost all vital systems – nervous, cardiovascular, digestive. The state of the musculoskeletal system depends on their functioning. Therefore, after a cold, joints hurt even as a result of minor physical exertion or a short walk.

In most cases, asthenic syndrome disappears within a week. But sometimes the patient needs treatment aimed at strengthening the general state of health. What drugs can a doctor prescribe:

  • vitamins with trace elements – Supradin, Multitabs, Bio-Vit, Alphabet in the cold season, Macrovit, Duovit, Pikovit;
  • liquid fish oil or in capsules with retinol, tocopherol, ergocalceferol, polyunsaturated fatty acids;
  • adaptogens and biostimulants – tinctures of ginseng, leuzea, eleutherococcus, lemongrass, Rhodiola rosea;
  • probiotics and prebiotics – Lactobacterin, Bifidumbacterin, Acipol, Linex Forte, Hilak Forte;
  • sedatives – Glycine, Tenoten, Persen.

With asthenic syndrome, analgesic drugs are not required. Joint pains disappear after a short rest.


The likelihood of developing this inflammatory joint pathology is quite high. Less commonly after a cold, reactive arthritis is diagnosed. It occurs either during a cold, or a few days after recovery. The impetus for the development of the disease is the penetration of infectious agents into the body. Viruses and bacteria do not necessarily enter the joint cavity. Reactive arthritis occurs in people predisposed to it due to overreaction of the immune system. It detects foreign proteins circulating in the bloodstream and begins to produce antibodies to destroy them. But at a certain stage, a failure occurs – the immune system attacks the cells of the joint, provoking the development of the inflammatory process.

After viral or bacterial respiratory infections, other types of arthritis occur:

  • infectious. Pathogenic microorganisms penetrate into the joint cavity from the primary inflammatory foci. They release toxic substances that damage tissues in the process of life. This becomes the cause of inflammation, including accompanied by the accumulation of purulent exudate;
  • rheumatoid. The etiology and pathogenesis of this type of arthritis is not fully understood. A relationship was found between the violation of the immune response to the penetration of certain types of virus, usually herpes viruses. The synovial membrane (synovitis) becomes inflamed, granulation tissues form. They gradually grow, penetrate the hyaline cartilage, destroying them.
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Only rheumatoid arthritis is a terminal disease. The remaining types of pathology respond well to therapy, but only with its timely implementation. To diagnose arthritis, both instrumental and biochemical methods are used. During an external examination, a rheumatologist draws attention to the swelling of the joint, redness of the skin, stiffness. For treatment, the following local and systemic drugs are prescribed:

  • hormonal preparations for insertion into the joint cavity (Dexamethasone, Prednisolone, Hydrocortisone);
  • antibiotics to which pathogenic bacteria are sensitive (Sumamed, Panclave, Ciprofloxacin, Erythromycin, Amoxicillin);
  • immunomodulators, immunostimulants (Cyclofen, Viferon, Ribomunil, Likopid, Cycloferon);
  • ointments, gels, tablets with NSAIDs (Nise, Nimulide, Ketorol, Fastum, Finalgel, Voltaren, Nimesil);
  • muscle relaxants (Midokalm, Sirdalud, Tizanidin, Baklosan);
  • B vitamins (Milgamma, Combilipen, Pentovit, Neurobion, Neuromultivitis);
  • external funds with a warming effect after stopping the acute inflammatory process (Arthro-Active, Viprosal, Finalgon, Apizartron).

Video about the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis:

In the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, basic preparations (sulfasalazine, methotrexate, leflunomide) are used to achieve stable remission, to prevent joint degeneration. Biological agents are also used that block the protein-cytokine, which provokes the development of the inflammatory process (Etanersept, Infliximab, Adalimumab).

Folk remedies

To eliminate joint pain that occurs after bronchitis, flu, acute tonsillitis, tracheitis in folk medicine, drugs are used that help cleanse the body of infectious agents. This is an infusion of medicinal herbs that have a mild diuretic, tonic, restorative effect:

To prepare the infusion, put a teaspoon of dry plant material in a container, pour a liter of boiling water, leave for 2 hours. Then filter and take half a cup after meals 2-3 times a day. To increase the body’s resistance to viruses, bacteria, fungi, propolis with milk is used. Bring a glass of milk to a boil, add a pinch of propolis and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink 0,5 cups twice a day.

Folk remedies are used only after the main treatment, at the rehabilitation stage. They do not contain biologically active substances that can eliminate the causes of arthritis, myositis, asthenic syndrome. To prevent the development of irreversible complications of the common cold, a thorough examination of the patient and adequate treatment are necessary.

Shishkevich Vladimir
Shishkevich Vladimir
Orthopedic doctor, traumatologist
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I have been treating joints for many years. I can say with confidence that the joints are always treatable, even in the very ripe old age.

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Anatoly Kudravets

An orthopedic traumatologist is involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pathologies of bones, muscles, ligaments, and joints. He owns the methods of applying gypsum for fractures, correcting acquired or congenital pathologies of the limbs. Anatoly Kudravets specializes in the treatment of various types of injuries: bruises, sprains, fractures, subluxations, dislocations. The doctor deals with the consequences of radioactive, thermal, electrical, chemical lesions.