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Can You Name That Medical Term Ending in algia?

There are many medical terms that end in -algia. Can you name the correct medical term in this scenario?

Blackboard with question about medical terminology and algia

Which of these medical terms refers to muscle pain including a dull aching sensation in the muscle?

A. Cephalgia
B. Myalgia
C. Neuralgia
D. Arthralgia


B. Myalgia

Myalgia is tenderness or pain in the muscles; my/o means muscle; -algia means pain and suffering. 

Pain is the body’s normal reaction when something goes wrong. Most muscle pains are caused by tension, stress, overuse and minor injuries. This type of pain usually only affects a few muscles and is considered localized, according to Mayo Clinic. If pain occurs throughout the entire body, which is referred to as systemic, it is often caused by an infection, illness, or a side-effect of medication.  

Common causes of muscle pain include:

  • Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Claudication
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Dystonia
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Influenza (flu) and other viral illness (influenza-like illness)
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease
  • Medications, especially the cholesterol medications known as statins
  • Muscle cramp
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Polymyositis (inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness)
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Sprains

According to Medical Terminology for Health Professions, 8th Edition, another suffix used to mean pain is -dynia (as in gastrodynia for pain in the stomach; gastr/o means stomach). The suffix -dynia is not used as often as -algia. Therefore, you will usually see gastralgia rather than gastrodynia to mean pain in the stomach.

A, C, and D are incorrect.

Cephalgia is pain in the head or headache; cephal/o means head. (A)

Neuralgia is pain in a nerve; neur/o means nerve. (C)

Arthralgia is pain in a joint or joints; arthr/o means joint. (D)

name that medical term ending in algia

Interested in a quicker and easier way to learn medical terms? Check out my Medical Terminology Quick Reference Guide – a cheat sheet of sorts. The terms are broken down by common word roots, prefixes, suffixes, and combining vowels, and examples are included. The body systems and their parts are also provided.

To get the free Reference Guide, just complete the form below. 


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