Burning pain: causes & symptoms of burning body pain

A burning pain can occur anywhere in the body and this pain can be temporary or more chronic. Burning body aches and pains can feel like pin and needle pricks, electric shocks, a warm feeling or a sharp, spiky pain. A large number of different causes can underlie this. It is therefore important to seek medical advice and get a correct diagnosis. The place where you experience the burning pain can give a good indication of the cause. For example, a burning sensation in the muscles may be the result of an injury or trauma, while a burning sensation on the skin is probably the result of coming into contact with an allergen or an irritant. After your doctor has made a diagnosis, it can be determined which treatment is indicated. The treatment focuses on the underlying cause and the relief of complaints. The prognosis is often favorable and a quick recovery occurs.
  • Symptoms of burning pain
  • Types of burning body pain
  • Peripheral origin of burning pain
  • Central origin of burning pain
  • Characteristics of burning pain
  • Local pain
  • Peripheral pain
  • Dermatomal pain
  • Central pain
  • Causes of burning pain
  • Burning pain while urinating
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Other causes
  • Skin
  • Hands and feet
  • Skin disorders
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Mouth or throat
  • Sore throat
  • Acid reflux
  • Canker sores
  • Other causes
  • Private parts
  • Skin irritation
  • Wounds
  • Infections
  • STDs
  • Muscles
  • Sprain or injury
  • Other causes of burning muscle pain
  • When to consult a doctor?
  • Treatment of burning pain
  • Prognosis
Burning pain in the foot / Source: Chingyunsong / Shutterstock.com

Symptoms of burning pain

Burning pain occurs locally or over larger areas. That depends on the cause of the pain. Burning pain can be accompanied by the following symptoms:
  • tingling
  • stimuli
  • burning
  • numbness or numbness
  • weakness of the relevant body part (arm or leg)

Types of burning body pain

Different types of burning body pain can be distinguished.

Peripheral origin of burning pain

Neuropathy indicates the malfunctioning of one or more nerves. Peripheral neuropathy are diseases from long nerves to the arms and legs.
Pain receptors
Pain-guiding nerve fibers have sensitive peripheral elements known as nerve endings and nerve receptors.
Peripheral origin of burning pain occurs after irritation of peripheral pain receptors or nerve endings.
Nerve pain
A nerve conducts pain signals from pain receptors in skin, subcutaneous tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and intestines. Compressing or irritating the pain-guiding nerve causes radicular pain (radiating pain caused by the stimulation of a nerve where it comes out of the spinal cord), mononeuropathy (nerve damage to a single nerve caused by an injury or illness) or polyneuropathy ( where the nerves are affected in several places in the body). Burning pain spreads along the nerve in these cases.

Central origin of burning pain

Inflammation of a nerve in the spinal cord can result in widespread pain as observed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
A stroke or ischemia (insufficient blood flow) in the brain causes severe, widespread burning pain.

Characteristics of burning pain

Local pain

Pet bites or herpes simplex causes local or local burning pain.

Peripheral pain

Peripheral neuropathy often results in burning pain from one or more peripheral nerves (in arms and legs).

Dermatomal pain

A dermatome indicates a part of the skin that is controlled by one specific spinal nerve. Burning pain caused by radicular pain can be felt along the entire nerve.

Central pain

Central neuropathic pain is caused by a disorder or abnormality in the central part of the nervous system (in the spinal cord or brain) and causes widespread burning pain.

Causes of burning pain

Burning pain is often related to nerve problems. However, there are many other possible causes. Injuries, skin conditions, infections and autoimmune diseases can also cause nerve pain and sometimes even result in nerve damage.

Burning pain while urinating

Urinary tract infection

Experiencing a burning sensation while urinating is often a sign of a urinary tract infection. Women suffer from a urinary tract infection much more often than men. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include fever and a strong, constant urge to urinate and malaise. Infections can affect the bladder (cystitis), kidneys (renal pelvis infection) or urethra (urethra infection). If one urinary tract infection is not adequately treated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. It can also damage the kidneys, causing kidney damage.

Other causes

The following can also cause a burning sensation while urinating:
  • sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • prostatitis or prostate inflammation
  • a bodily injury to the urethra (urethra) or surrounding tissue, which is often the result of shaving, sexual intercourse or clothing friction
Gifsumak / Source: Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)


Throughout the day, the skin comes in contact with a range of potentially irritating substances. The following causes of irritation can lead to a burning sensation:
  • sunburn
  • plants that you can puncture or cause a skin rash, such as nettles or poison ivy (the most poisonous plant in the Netherlands, also known as Poison Ivy)
  • insect bites and stings, such as from wasps, bees, gnats and spiders
  • allergic reactions to perfumes, eau de toilette, deodorant, aftershave, body lotions, shower gel, shampoo, toothpaste, blusher, eye shadow, lipstick, cleanser, detergent, fabric softener, toilet freshener or other substances that come in contact with the skin
  • very dry skin, especially during the autumn and winter months
  • skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis
  • intense and / or persistent anxiety or stress
  • nerve damage due to degenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis
  • cellulite, a bacterial infection of the deepest layers of the skin

Hands and feet

Skin disorders

A burning sensation in the hands and feet is often caused by a skin condition such as psoriasis or eczema.

Peripheral neuropathy

A burning sensation in the fingers or toes can, however, be a symptom of nerve damage. This is known as peripheral neuropathy, which affects the nerves of your peripheral nervous system. People with diabetes may suffer from peripheral neuropathy (known as diabetic neuropathy). Some other conditions that can cause peripheral neuropathy are:
  • multiple sclerosis
  • various infections such as shingles and HIV
  • injuries and accidents
  • vitamin deficiencies, such as a vitamin B12 deficiency
  • kidney disease and liver disease
  • cancer
Raynaud's phenomenon / Source: Tcal, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Raynaud's phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon can also cause a burning sensation in the hands and feet. The small arteries in these limbs contract when exposed to the cold. As a result, the fingers and toes receive less blood. They can turn white and a person can feel a burning or irritating feeling, as well as numbness. This condition can affect the nose, lips and ears in the same way. The symptoms disappear when you warm yourself, increasing blood flow.

Mouth or throat

Sore throat

A burning sensation in the throat is often the result of an infection, such as sore throat. Often it is a group A streptococcal bacterium. This is often accompanied by fever, chills and other cold or flu-like symptoms.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux can also cause a burning sensation in the throat. The feeling can occur intermittently, but often it occurs after a (fatty) meal or heavy dining. People with acid reflux can also experience a feeling of burning in the chest, burp and stomach upset.
Small afte on the inside of the lower lip / Source: Pfiffner Pascal, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Canker sores

Canker sores can cause a burning sensation in the mouth or on the tongue. They are small, red or white sores that often appear on the lips or tongue. They can be quite painful, but usually disappear after a few days.

Other causes

Burning feelings in the mouth and gums are often the result of irritation caused by:
  • gum disease
  • powerful brushing teeth
  • acid food

Private parts

Skin irritation

A burning sensation in or around the genitals can result from skin irritation, for example through the use of soap in the vagina or vaginal showers.


Small wounds caused by shaving or sexual intercourse can also lead to a temporary feeling of burning.


Infections are often responsible for a burning sensation in the sexual organs. Fungal infections and bacterial vaginosis often lead to a feeling of burning, itching and unusual discharge, and bacterial vaginosis can also cause a fishy vaginal odor.


Genital burning can also be the result of a wide range of STDs.
Burning sensations after running or exercising / Source: Istock.com/Martinan


Burning pain after exercise
The sensation of burning in the muscles or burning muscles after exercise is usually due to the release of lactic acid. You can also experience a burning sensation in certain muscles when you lift weights or do other heavy exercises. This is usually due to the release of lactic acid. You may also experience this when you try a new exercise or exercise more intensively or more often than usual. The pain and the burning sensation can also occur later. These symptoms are usually mild in nature and disappear after a few days.

Sprain or injury

An intense burning sensation can indicate a muscle injury, such as a sprain. If this feeling does not get better over time or spreads to different muscles, there may be a chronic condition, such as fibromyalgia.

Other causes of burning muscle pain

Other causes of a burning sensation in the muscles are:
  • arthritis
  • myofascial pain syndrome (a muscle condition characterized by a local and / or radiating pain where the origin of the pain lies in the trigger point)
  • a herniated disc in the spine
Consult with the doctor / Source: Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

When to consult a doctor?

It is usually safe to wait a few days and see if the sensation disappears. Go to your doctor if the burning pain persists. Contact a doctor within 24 hours if any of the following symptoms occur:
  • a rapidly aggravating rash
  • fever
  • an intense burning sensation while urinating
  • a burning sensation after a physical injury
  • other worrying symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea or vomiting

Also contact your doctor if you have a burning sensation:
  • returns
  • is associated with a chronic disease, such as liver failure or diabetes
  • worsens in response to medication
Medication for burning pain / Source: Stevepb, Pixabay

Treatment of burning pain

The treatment of burning pain depends on the cause. For example, many STDs and other infections can be treated with antibiotics. If healing is not possible, the treatment will focus on relieving the symptoms. The doctor will prepare a plan of action to relieve burning body pain and other symptoms. Therapy compliance is important. Take the medication as prescribed and follow the doctor's instructions.


A burning sensation is often a temporary annoyance that disappears by itself. Skin rashes usually disappear in a few days and ulcers rarely require medical treatment. Make an appointment with your doctor if the symptoms get worse or last longer than expected. If you suspect an infection or an STD, it is advisable to consult a doctor immediately.

Video: Peripheral neuropathy: Burning and numbness in hands, legs and feet (February 2020).

Leave Your Comment