Muscle Weakness - What Causes It?
Dr. Vikas Sharma
85% (10 ratings)
MBBS, MD - Medicine, DM - Neurology
15 years experience
After a tough workout session or a strenuous day at the office, your muscles may feel floppy and exhausted until you have given them a chance to rest. However, persistent muscle weakness with no apparent cause or explanation can be a sign of an underlying medical problem.
What causes muscle weakness?
Voluntary muscle contractions and movement are generated when the brain sends a signal through your spinal cord and nerves to the particular muscle. If there are any hindrances in the connections between them, it can result in muscle weakness. However hard you try, the muscle is such cases becomes abnormal.
Here are some common causes of muscle weakness:
- Lack of Use: One of the most common causes of muscle weakness, lack of muscle fitness may occur as a result of a sedentary lifestyle. If the muscles are not used, then the fibers are partially replaced with fat.
- Ageing: As we age, our muscles tend to get weaker and lose strength. Muscles become bulky and recovery times during injury are greater. However, with physical activity, it is still possible to increase the muscle power. So stay active and instil strength in your muscles.
- Infections: Infections and inflammation can cause temporary muscle fatigue. Even though recovery is quick, if the infection is severe the weakness can last for some time. Without proper care, it can lead to permanent damage.
- Pregnancy: During and just after pregnancy, high levels of steroid in the blood and low levels of iron can cause muscle tiredness. Lower back pain is common during pregnancy and all your muscles may feel floppy.
- Chronic Diseases: With conditions of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and anemia, it can lead to muscle weakness by thwarting the essential blood or nutrient supply to the muscles. Also, chronic pain related ailments cause weakness.
- Injuries: Injury or trauma such as sporting injuries, pulls and sprains can deter the muscles. Along with localized pain, it can also lead to muscle weakness if not taken care of properly.
- Sleep Disorders: With disturbed or reduced sleep there is a general sense of tiredness that leads to fatigue in the muscles. Insomnia, anxiety, depression and other mental disorders also affect the muscles a great deal.
- Conditions affecting Nerves: Conditions like Myasthenia gravis or motor neuron disease affects the nerves and thereby fail to relay signals to the muscles, leading to weakness.
- Genetic disorder affecting muscles: There are also certain inherited diseases which can affect the muscles like muscular dystrophy.
- Spine-related disorders: Conditions like slip disc and other disorders affect the muscles served by the irritated or compressed nerves of the spinal cord.
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