Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can you help me understand the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis?"
I am very sore after an intense workout on Tuesday and am concerned about rhabdomyolysis. Can you help me to understand symptoms?
I recommend that you discuss this with your doctor. The symptoms of rhabdomyolysis are generally diffuse muscle pain. It can occur from many causes including genetic disease, medications (the most famous of which is the so-called statins for cholesterol), prolonged immobility, trauma or injury, and finally extreme exercise. Every person that undergoes extremely intense exercise such as marathon probably experiences at least a minor amount of rhabdomyolysis. Rhabdo is diagnosed by looking for creatine kinase, a molecule made by muscles, in the blood. The creatine kinase is released into the blood when the muscle cells die. Being sore after a workout does not equal having rhabdomyolysis. In addition, even when this is detected by a blood test after an extreme workout, it is not severe enough to cause major problems. The most common cause of rhabdomyolysis that we see in the hospital is due to people that are immobilized and lay in the same position for many hours or days. If your muscle pain continues beyond what is normal for post-workout soreness, then you should schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. If your doctor is at all concerned about the possibility of muscle damage or rhabdomyolysis, then he or she might decide to get a blood test for creatine kinase. If this is negative, then you can cross this off your list. Good luck.
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