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Joint pain and enlarged glands. Diagnosed with infectious mononucleosis. Is the pain due to this?

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Hi! I'm a girl of 23, was diagnosed with mono in feb 2012 with symptoms of joint/muscle pain and enlarged glands. I still have a pretty sever muscle and joint pain but healthy otherwise. My doctor thinks it's been a while and thought it might be a good idea to check it up with a specialist (for example a rheumatologist) so there isn't anything else wrong with me. Can mono go on for this long with pains? Can viruses 'invade' your muscle like this without it being a severe disease?

Thanks! Felicia
Posted Mon, 21 May 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Jadhav 17 hours later


Thanks for your query.

Infectious mononucleosis or mono is usually a self limiting disease and settles down on its own in a few weeks. I presume that your diagnosis was made on the basis of blood tests and presence of atypical lymphocytes on the blood smear.

If it was indeed mono, there is a remote chance that it can become chronic where the symptoms can drag on for up to almost 18 months. However, in this case you must be specific that you have more of myalgias (muscle pain) rather than joint pains.

Presence of severe joint pain (more than muscle pain) may point towards other rheumatologic diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis and lupus are prominent alternative diagnoses in such a case - so more specific information in terms of site of the pain is required.

Presuming that you more muscle pain and if it turns out that you are going into chronic mono, the virus still invades the immune system (nodes and spleen) rather than the muscles. The end effect though, is severe muscle pain and fatigue. The treatment, in such cases, is usually symptomatic.

Hope I have clarified your doubts. If you have any more doubts, I will be available to help you.

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