Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why would someone's entire body ache all the time?"
My daughter is away at college and has called several times to complain that she aches throughout her entire body. She is 19 years old and has had few health problems in the past. What should I tell her?
Sometimes aches and pains can simply be from the fatigue and stress of studying all the time, and they can be relieve by making sure to eat good meals, sleep well, and get plenty of exercise. However, if these measures do not resolve the issue, then your daughter should go to her college's health center to be seen by a doctor. One common cause of aches and pains like this is a viral infection, such as mononucleosis. The symptoms can last for quite a while, and it is easy to diagnose with a physical examination and some simple blood tests. Similarly, sometimes aches and pains can be a sign of an inflammatory condition in the joints or muscles. Again, there are clues that her doctor may pick up on the physical exam, such as painful or swollen joints. Additionally, blood tests can provide clues as to whether there is an inflammatory process in the body. If so, additional testing or a specialist referral may be needed. Regardless, I think the first step, if the symptoms continue or worsen, would be for your daughter to see a general primary care doctor at the health center; they will be able to determine if there is something wrong and if further workup is needed.
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