8 Muscle Weakness Symptoms That You Should Be Aware Of


Muscle weakness can be caused by a wide range of factors, including a lack of exercise, injury to muscle tissue, general aging or even pregnancy. Sometimes, however, it is caused by an underlying condition or disease, such as anemia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome or even a stroke.

Although muscle weakness is a common symptom of neurological, muscular and metabolic disorders, it can also be a side effect of something as common as the flu or the result of an injury. No matter the cause of your weakened muscles, it is important to be assessed for underlying conditions. Consult with a chiropractor to improve your muscle strength as much as possible.

Given that it can be a critical clue in determining your overall health, it is important to be aware of muscle weakness symptoms and whether you are at risk.

Are you trying to determine the cause of your weakness? We’ve put together a list of muscle weakness symptoms to look out for:

1. Decline in general strength

Have you noticed your legs feeling sore after normal activity? Is it harder to lift household items than it once was? A decline in strength can have an obvious cause. Perhaps you are recovering from an injury or have gradually lost strength with age.

If muscle weakness is sudden or dramatic, however, you should speak to your doctor about possible causes, especially if there are other symptoms present.

2. Swelling symptoms

Swelling is a common muscle weakness symptom that you might have experienced. Muscle swelling can be caused by several factors and can be difficult to distinguish from swelling caused by tendons and ligaments. If you are recovering from physical trauma, you may have to wait until your overall swelling goes down to assess the nature of your injury.

If it hurts to contract a specific muscle or muscle group, but movement in your joints is pain-free, chances are good that your swelling is caused by a muscle injury.

3. Muscle tremors or spasms

If you’ve ever worked your muscles to the point of fatigue, whether through a workout or even work around the house, you’ve likely experienced the sensation of muscle tremors. When a muscle is pushed to its limit, it begins to tremble as your body fights to maintain balance.

Sometimes, even a muscle at rest will tremble if it is over-fatigued. If you find your muscles trembling or in spasm after a small amount of work, they are likely weakened.

4. Back pain symptoms

For your muscles to fire properly, the connections between your brain, your nervous system and your muscles must be intact. If there is a disruption in this network for any reason, your muscles will be weakened.

Given that our spines carry much of our body weight, especially when leg, arm or shoulder muscles are weak, it’s possible to experience weakened muscles as back pain.

5. Decreased coordination

If your muscles lose strength quickly, one of the first things you’re bound to notice is a decrease in your coordination or balance. The medical term for a loss of coordination is ataxia; it is most easily noticed when your body movements, normally fluid and seamless, are stagnated and unsteady. While you should ask your doctor to investigate for underlying causes, a loss of coordination in a specific limb could be related to muscle injury.

6. Numbness

Sometimes, a repetitive activity can result in muscle numbness. Think of how your legs and arms can feel after a long bike ride. The odds of tingling and numbness increase if there is added pressure on blood supply—if your body is held in a static position for a long time.

While numbness can indicate a sign of muscle weakness, it should always be investigated further. Be sure to describe the symptoms to your doctor and your physiotherapist.

7. Fatigue and aches

General fatigue and aches can be a sign of muscle weakness. If you’ve worked hard within the last 48 hours and feel the soreness associated with lactic acid, your muscles are likely fatigued to the point that they are weakened. When you exercise, your muscles break down slightly before they heal and grow stronger. In this period of repair, your weakened muscles can feel fatigued and achy.

8. Increasing tendency to fall

One of the most distressing signs of age is related to both balance and muscle weakness. As we get older, our bodies naturally lose muscle mass, which can result in a higher risk of falls. If you have found yourself falling regularly, whether or not there are obstacles in your path, you likely have some degree of muscular deterioration. The good news is that, with regular effort and the aid of a trainer or physiotherapist, you can learn the best ways to rebuild and maintain muscles as you age.

Once you are aware of muscle weakness symptoms and understand the cause, you can work with your health team, including your family doctor and a licensed physiotherapist to help keep your muscles as strong as possible.