Gold Member Badge


  • You're all caught up!

Symptoms of Muscle, Leg & Shoulder Pain

author image Dr. Christine Princeton, D.O.
Writing professionally since 1998, Dr. Christine Princeton has been published with the American Osteopathic Association and the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine. Dr. Princeton received her degree at Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine and works as a physician in the fields of hospital medicine and women's health.
Symptoms of Muscle, Leg & Shoulder Pain
Muscle pathologies can be polymyalgias and lupus. Photo Credit: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images

Musculoskeletal pain is a common ailment. Muscle, shoulder and leg discomfort are associated with a variety of conditions that range from the most benign, such as muscle overuse and inflammation, to morbidities like polymyalgias, systemic lupus erythematous and vascular abnormalities, notes the book, "Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine."

Video of the Day

Muscle Pain

Muscle pain is characterized by diffuse discomfort.
Muscle pain is characterized by diffuse discomfort. Photo Credit: John Lund/Tiffany Schoepp/Blend Images/Getty Images

Painful muscles are associated with a variety of conditions, the most common being overactivity, according to "Cecil Medicine." Muscle pain is perceived as radiating from deep within the muscle fibers, giving rise to a diffuse tissue pain. "Neurology in Clinical Practice" notes that symptoms of muscle discomfort include throbbing, fatigue, spasms, cramps, burning and soreness. Chronic pain is widespread and associated with autonomic symptoms. Acute pain is more localized and generally classified as cramping pain, associated with muscle contractions.

Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be from muscles, nerves, or the joint itself.
Shoulder pain can be from muscles, nerves, or the joint itself. Photo Credit: Aleksander Kaczmarek/iStock/Getty Images

"Textbook of Family Medicine" indicates that shoulder pain can come from the muscles of the shoulder girdle, nerves, and the shoulder joint. Shoulder girdle pain is a diffuse aching pain, while nerve pain is sharp and burning. Shoulder joint pain is characterized by discomfort upon movement sometimes associated with clicking or grinding within the joint.

Leg Pain

According to "Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics," leg pain is generally associated with nerve, muscle and joint problems. Similar to the pain associated with the shoulder, the most common leg pain is muscular. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine" also includes pain from vascular disorders. For instance, pain associated with arterial disease is characterized by constant dull aching that is worse upon exercise but is relieved by rest and hanging the leg over the edge of a bed.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
Lose Weight. Feel Great! Change your life with MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



  • "Cecil Medicine"; Lee Goldman, M.D. and Dennis Ausiello, M.D.; 2008
  • "Neurology in Clinical Practice"; Walter Bradley, D.M., F.R.C.P. and Robert Daroff, M.D.; 2008
  • "Textbook of Family Medicine"; Robert Rakel, M.D.; 2007
  • "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine"; Anthony Fauci, M.D., et al. (eds.); 2008
  • "Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics"; S. Terry Canale, M.D. and James Beaty, M.D.; 2008
  • "Cleveland Clinic: Current Clinical Medicine"; 2010
Demand Media