Muscle weakness is something that everyone faces at some point, be it short-term or long-term. For example, when you are not feeling well, need some rest, or do a challenging workout. Your muscles often get exhausted and need some rest to be recovered. However, sometimes you might develop persistent muscle weakness without an apparent cause. This might be an indication of an underlying serious health condition that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Sometimes, your muscles might not contract normally and can become weak when your nervous system or muscular system, or their in-between connections undergo any injury or get affected by any kind of disease.

Muscle weakness can be caused due to various health conditions.

Many health-related issues are usually the root cause of muscle weakness. For example, certain neuromuscular disorders like multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophies, etc, some autoimmune diseases like Guillain-Barre syndrome, Grave’s disease, etc, electrolyte imbalance, and thyroid conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are often accompanied by the symptoms like muscle weakness and pain. Some other conditions that are associated with muscle weakness include pregnancy, depression, aging, polymyositis, hypotonia, neuralgia, stroke, and chronic fatigue syndrome

In addition, muscle pain and weakness can also result from various complications caused by viral or bacterial infections. These complications include polio, rheumatic fever, West Nile virus infection, Botulism, etc. Certain drugs, when used for long periods, may also make your muscles weak. Furthermore, prolonged consumption of alcohol can also be related to muscle weakness.

How to diagnose the underlying cause of muscle weakness?

weakness muscle

When you experience unexplained muscle weakness, it is important to consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible. The healthcare expert often asks various questions regarding muscle weakness, such as how long you have been facing this issue, and what are the exact locations in your body where you feel pain and weakness. You will be asked about various symptoms, plus the medical history of your family. Your doctor may also check your muscle tone, reflexes, and senses.

Furthermore, the diagnoses of muscle weakness and pain may require one or more tests. Such as MRI or CT Scans are performed to examine the interior structure of the body, Electromyography, which is used to examine the nerve activity in the muscles, and blood tests, to look for symptoms of infections or other diseases.

Estrogen hormone imposes a dramatic effect on your muscle function.

Estrogen has been known to be directly related to the function and health of your bones. However, it has also been seen that estrogen hormone and the functions and structure of your musculoskeletal tissues are also directly related. The musculoskeletal tissues include muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Estrogen plays a major role in improving muscle mass and strength and also elevates the content of collagen in the connective tissues. This hormone decreases the stiffness in the muscles, thus improving the performance rate of the muscles. However, higher levels of estrogen hormone may decrease the performance and strength of the muscles, making the individual prone to ligament injury.

What are the treatment options for muscle weakness?

Once the cause of your muscle weakness has been identified, appropriate treatment is required. 

Your healthcare provider may suggest physical therapy in which you have to perform various exercises such as progressive resistive exercise to strengthen muscles that became weak due to lack of use. Your physical therapist may also recommend stretching, yoga, and other range of motion exercises that help in preventing muscle stiffness.

Apart from exercises to strengthen muscles and prevent muscle stiffness, there are certain medications that act as muscular pain relaxants. These OTC pain relievers include acetaminophen and ibuprofen, etc.

Furthermore, one of the most important approaches to preventing muscle weakness and gaining muscle strength is an intake of a proper diet. You can definitely try changing your diet to improve electrolyte balance. Moreover, your healthcare provider may recommend supplements, such as magnesium oxide, calcium, or potassium oxide. In worst cases, surgery might be required to treat conditions hyperthyroidism or herniated disc.

There are various symptoms associated with muscle weakness, and their negligence would only make the situation worse. These symptoms include sudden difficulty in breathing, sudden loss of consciousness, sudden difficulty in forming expressions, sudden loss of senses or feelings, sudden difficulty in speaking, and sudden trouble in understanding. 

Muscle weakness and pain can be an indication of a very serious underlying health issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.