Can allergies cause joint pain and muscle pain?

You would typically believe that allergies only affect your nose and skin, maybe your lungs, if you have asthma. But there’s much more to it than sneezes and a rash. Allergies could be a hidden cause of muscle and joint pain, and here’s the reason why.

Allergies and musculoskeletal pain

Many types of allergies can cause joint pain, including an allergic reaction known as serum sickness, and after an insect sting. Even seasonal allergies can be associated with joint pain symptoms for several reasons.

Let us evaluate each one of these conditions and find out how each type of allergy triggers joint pain and muscle pain:

  • Serum sickness: This type of allergy is one of those that stay with you for several days after you’ve been exposed to the allergen. After you’ve been exposed, your immune system creates abnormal substances that deposit in the joints and cause joint pain. You could also get swollen glands, hives, and sometimes fever.
  • Insect stings: They are often associated with an allergic reaction, swelling, and pain. Depending on the insect and your susceptibility, you can get difficulty breathing, swelling in the skin, and sometimes joint pain. In most cases, insect stings cause a type of serum sickness. In other cases, they act independently and cause both problems at the same time.
  • Allergies in people with arthritis: People with rheumatoid arthritis have different sources of flare-ups, and one of them is allergen exposure. For example, if they suffer from seasonal allergies, their arthritis symptoms are very likely to worsen during that time. Arthritis and allergies have the immune system in common, as we will see further in this article.
  • Fatigue: You’ve probably experienced tiredness and fatigue when you’re sick, along with weakness and sometimes muscle pain. That’s because your organism is trying to fight disease and leave you and your muscles without enough energy. The same happens if your body is going against you in allergies and autoimmune diseases. You’re likely to feel tired and experience muscle pain and joint pain.

Why does the immune system become overactive?

As you’ve seen above, allergies and joint pain often share a common pathway. They result from an overly active immune system that recognizes healthy tissue as the enemy. Inflammation ensues, and pain, allergies, and other symptoms are triggered.

But why does this happen in the first place?

The immune system is a lethal tool against invaders. But if you have a gun for protection, you need to make responsible use of this dangerous tool. Otherwise, it can turn against you and your family. The same thing happens with the immune system, which sometimes gets confused with overlapping signals and erratic substances.

The immune system becomes overactive because it starts recognizing healthy tissues as if they were part of the invaders. Thus, they display their arsenal against the good guys and use your own resources against you.

For example, when you’re exposed to an allergen, the body recognizes this substance as foreign and starts creating antibodies against it. These antibodies have a crossed reaction against similar proteins in your body or get a disproportionate immune response as if you’re trying to kill an ant with a bazooka. No wonder why the surrounding tissue gets heavily damaged, inflamed, and painful.

Is there anything we can do about it?

What could you do if you’re experiencing flare-ups of joint pain and muscle pain every season as a part of your seasonal allergy symptoms? Or how could you solve this problem if you’re experiencing allergies and joint pain at the same time?

First off, it is crucial to understand what causes the allergic reaction. It is often something in the air, such as pollen or dust. It could also be part of your food, your medications, or any additive that is seamlessly getting its way into your digestive system. Either way, they activate an immune response and make your joint pain and muscle pain worse. An obvious place to start is identifying these allergens and preventing a new exposure to these triggers.

You can also try other suggestions. For example:

  • Be sure to check for any active infection that activates your immunity. Lyme disease is a good example, but also yeast infection and some bacteria and viruses.
  • Select your food and try an anti-inflammatory diet abundant in fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods, red meat, and dairy.
  • Detox or make sure you don’t have any type of heavy metal toxicity. Some of them cause severe immune health problems, especially mercury toxicity.
  • Use probiotics as a part of your arsenal. They have been found to regulate the immune system, achieving the right balance to stay protected without attacking yourself.
  • Use anti-inflammatory nutrients, especially fish oil and other sources of omega 3 fatty acids. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and certain extracts such as turmeric are also a good choice.
  • Relax. It’s been shown in numerous studies that stress triggers immune responses, even in the absence of any allergens. Mindfulness and relaxation techniques can help you deal with stress and reduce the symptoms of both allergies and joint pain at the same time
Inflammation and Allergies


Allergies are associated with joint pain through a common passageway, and that is the immune system. Various pathways can cause an activation of immune complexes that cause allergic symptoms and joint pain.

We can surely do something against this problem, which is sometimes associated with seasonal allergies. To control the symptoms, we need to find out the source of allergies and get rid of the allergens. It is also essential to check for infections and heavy metal intoxications, lead an anti-inflammatory diet, destress, and use probiotics wisely.


Straus, S. E., Dale, J. K., Wright, R., & Metcalfe, D. D. (1988). Allergy and the chronic fatigue syndrome. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology81(5), 791-795.

Jacob, S. W., Appleton, J., & Press, F. (2002). MSM: The Definitive Guide: the Nutritional Breakthrough for Arthritis, Allergies, and More. Freedom Press (CA).

Panush, R. S., Stroud, R. M., & Webster, E. M. (1986). Food‐induced (allergic) arthritis. Inflammatory arthritis exacerbated by milk. Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology29(2), 220-226.

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