What is Muscle Weakness and How Do You Treat it?
What is Muscle Weakness?
Muscle weakness is simply a decrease in strength in one or more groups of muscles. This can be caused by diseases like muscular dystrophy or dermatomyositis, but can also be from neurological disorders, like an autoimmune nerve disorder, or simply caused by inactivity.
In some cases the affected muscles may have:
- Burning sensation
- Pins-and-needles feeling
Generally this isn’t anything to worry about too much, but if it’s a sudden onset of weakness, passing out, or severe abdominal cramps then you should call 911 as it could be something much more serious like a stroke or botulism food poisoning.
The Difference Between Weakness and Fatigue
Now you may be wondering if you have muscle weakness after hearing those symptoms, but most people do not have muscle weakness, instead they are simply fatigued. There is a very distinct difference between the two, fatigue is a lack of energy or a feeling of exhaustion, while weakness is when your muscles feel sore or it feels like it requires more effort to move an arm or leg. Fatigue itself can be caused by many things, like stress or overwork, so if you simply are feeling weak and tired it is very likely that you are simply suffering from fatigue and not weakness. Although, if your muscles hurt or burn along with feeling weak then that is a sign that it is indeed muscle weakness.
How do You Treat it?
Generally there is no cure-all and sometimes you will have to live with it and manage it your whole life. The most common treatment options are going to be physical therapy which will have you do exercises to strengthen and stretch your muscles. It is a bit hard to say what exercise would be the best since muscle weakness can affect almost any muscle in your body, so it would be best to talk with a therapist on that. The best suggestion I have for this is to try out MAT.
What is MAT?
MAT stands for Muscle Activation Therapy and it focuses on assessing and correcting chronic pain in the body. It isn’t always used specifically for pain though, and can be used to improve your range of motion, correct muscular imbalances, etc. To do this, most therapists will have you do exercises to stretch the muscles around the problem area, but this can end up doing more damage than good. This is because your body puts tension in that area to protect your joints and with that tension gone it can then do damage to the joints it was trying to protect. MAT on the other hand realizes this and focuses instead on correcting the problem of the joints which will then let the body naturally remove the tension on it over time. Want to get stronger? Schedule an appointment
How can Strength Training Help Muscle Weakness?
Strength training or resistance training is designed to improve your strength and endurance. Usually when people think about strength training they think about weight-lifting, and while that is an option, there are many more exercises than that, like pull-ups, squats, and planking. Really all these exercises will help prevent muscle imbalances in your body, which can then help prevent muscle weakness. Muscle imbalances are when you use a specific set of muscle groups often so that muscle group is super strong, but the muscle groups nearby have been neglected and are weak. This can lead to strained muscles or a torn ligament, which is really nasty. Strength training makes sure that you exercise all your muscles so that muscular imbalance doesn’t happen. So while it may seem like a good idea to work on only the muscles you are experiencing weakness in, it would benefit you more to train all your muscles.