16 rules of stretching: everyone needs to know this!

The causes of muscle weakness are many and there is a wide range of conditions that can cause muscle weakness. These can be both well-known diseases and quite rare conditions. Muscle weakness can be reversible and permanent. However, in most cases, muscle weakness can be treated with exercise, physical therapy, and acupuncture.

Muscle weakness is a fairly common complaint, but the word weakness has a wide range of meanings, including fatigue, decreased muscle strength, and the inability of muscles to work at all. There is an even wider range of possible causes.

The term muscle weakness can be used to describe several different conditions.

Primary or true muscle weakness

This muscle weakness manifests itself as an inability to perform a movement that a person wants to perform using the muscles the first time. There is an objective decrease in muscle strength and strength does not increase regardless of effort. That is, the muscle does not work properly - this is abnormal.

When this type of muscle weakness occurs, the muscles appear to have collapsed and become smaller in volume. This can happen, for example, after a stroke. The same visual picture occurs with muscular dystrophy. Both conditions result in weakened muscles that cannot perform normal activities. And this is a real change in muscle strength.

Reason 7: Improves overall quality of life

Good control of your own body helps you feel more confident. Already during the first training session, you will remove some of the clamps, after which your movements will become more relaxed, and your gait will be smoother and freer. Each time you will control your body better: learn to release tension in your muscles, switch your attention from painful sensations to breathing, and relax as much as possible. In addition, regular stretching improves the overall quality of life: it improves sleep quality and gastrointestinal function, increases energy levels, and makes you more active and calm. This is not to mention the incomparable feeling of pride in yourself when you can put your palms completely on the floor in an inclined position, do the splits, or do a bridge from a standing position.

A person is young and healthy as long as he has a flexible spine - this is exactly what ancient wisdom sounds like. Let us add that the feeling of youth and health cannot be achieved without flexibility of the whole body. So don't underestimate stretching. Only by adding it to your weekly fitness plan, you will be able to achieve maximum progress, regardless of what goal you set for yourself: sports achievements, a beautiful figure or just good health.

Tags: stretching body fitness

Muscle fatigue

Fatigue is sometimes called asthenia. This is the feeling of tiredness or exhaustion that a person feels when muscles are used. The muscles don't really get weaker, they can still do their job, but doing the muscle work requires more effort. This type of muscle weakness is often seen in people with chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorders, depression, and chronic heart, lung, and kidney disease. This may be due to a decrease in the rate at which the muscles can receive the required amount of energy.

Muscle fatigue

In some cases, muscle fatigue is basically increased fatigability - the muscle starts to work, but gets tired quickly and takes longer to restore function. Fatigue is often associated with muscle fatigue, but is most noticeable in rare conditions such as myasthenia gravis and myotonic dystrophy.

The difference between these three types of muscle weakness is often not obvious and a patient may have more than one type of weakness. Also, one type of weakness can alternate with another type of weakness. But with a careful approach to diagnosis, the doctor is able to determine the main type of muscle weakness, since certain diseases are characterized by one or another type of muscle weakness.

Main causes of muscle weakness

Lack of adequate physical activity - inactive (sedentary) lifestyle.

Lack of muscle exercise is one of the most common causes of muscle weakness. If the muscles are not used, the muscle fibers in the muscles are partially replaced by fat. And over time, the muscles weaken: the muscles become less dense and more flabby. And although the muscle fibers do not lose their strength, their number decreases and they do not contract as efficiently. And the person feels that they have become smaller in volume. When trying to perform certain movements, fatigue sets in faster. The condition is reversible with reasonable, regular exercise. But as we age, this condition becomes more pronounced.

Maximum muscle strength and a short recovery period after exercise are observed at the age of 20-30 years. This is why most great athletes achieve great results at this age. However, strengthening muscles through regular exercise can be done at any age. Many successful long-distance runners were over 40 years of age. Muscle tolerance during a prolonged activity such as a marathon remains high longer than during a powerful, short burst of activity such as a sprint.

It is always good when a person has sufficient physical activity at any age. However, recovery from muscle and tendon injuries occurs more slowly with age. No matter what age a person decides to improve their physical fitness, a reasonable training regimen is important. And it is better to coordinate training with a specialist (instructor or exercise therapy doctor).


As you age, muscles lose strength and mass and become weaker. While most people accept this as a natural consequence of age - especially if they are older - it is still uncomfortable to not be able to do things that were possible at a younger age. However, exercise is still beneficial in old age, and safe exercise can increase muscle strength. But the recovery time after injury is much longer in old age, as involutional changes in metabolism occur and bone fragility increases.


Infections and diseases are among the most common causes of temporary muscle fatigue. This occurs due to inflammatory processes in the muscles. And sometimes, even if the infectious disease has regressed, the restoration of muscle strength can take a long period of time. Sometimes this can cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Any illness with fever and muscle inflammation can be a trigger for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, some diseases are more likely to cause this syndrome. These include influenza, Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, Lyme disease and hepatitis C. Other less common causes are tuberculosis, malaria, syphilis, polio and dengue fever.


During and immediately after pregnancy, high levels of steroids in the blood, combined with iron deficiency, can cause feelings of muscle fatigue. This is a completely normal muscle reaction to pregnancy; however, certain exercises can and should be done, but significant physical activity should be excluded. In addition, pregnant women often experience lower back pain due to impaired biomechanics.

Chronic diseases

Many chronic diseases cause muscle weakness. In some cases, this is due to a reduction in the flow of blood and nutrients to the muscles.

Peripheral vascular disease is caused by narrowing of the arteries, usually due to cholesterol deposits, and is triggered by poor diet and smoking. The blood supply to the muscles decreases, and this becomes especially noticeable during exercise, when the blood flow cannot cope with the needs of the muscles. Pain is often more characteristic of peripheral vascular disease than muscle weakness.

Diabetes is a disease that can lead to muscle weakness and loss of fitness. High blood sugar puts muscles at a disadvantage and their functioning is impaired. In addition, as diabetes progresses, a disorder occurs in the structure of the peripheral nerves (polyneuropathy), which in turn impairs the normal innervation of the muscles and leads to muscle weakness. In addition to nerves, diabetes causes damage to the arteries, which also leads to poor blood supply to the muscles and weakness. Heart disease, especially heart failure, can lead to impaired blood supply to muscles due to a decrease in myocardial contractility and actively working muscles do not receive enough blood (oxygen and nutrients) at the peak of exercise and this can lead to rapid muscle fatigue.

Chronic lung diseases , such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), reduce the body's ability to use oxygen. Muscles require a rapid supply of oxygen from the blood, especially during physical activity. Decreased oxygen consumption leads to muscle fatigue. Over time, chronic lung disease can lead to muscle wasting, although this mostly occurs in advanced cases when oxygen levels in the blood begin to drop.

Chronic kidney disease can lead to an imbalance of minerals and salts in the body, and may also affect the levels of calcium and vitamin D. Kidney disease also causes the accumulation of toxic substances (toxins) in the blood, since impaired excretory function of the kidneys reduces their excretion from the body. These changes can lead to both true muscle weakness and muscle fatigue.

Anemia is a lack of red blood cells. There are many causes of anemia, including poor diet, blood loss, pregnancy, genetic diseases, infections and cancer. This reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the muscles so that the muscles can contract fully. Anemia often develops quite slowly, so that by the time of diagnosis, muscle weakness and shortness of breath are already noted.

Diseases of the central nervous system

Anxiety: General fatigue can be caused by anxiety. This is due to increased activity of the adrenaline system in the body.

Depression: General fatigue can also be caused by depression.

Anxiety and depression are conditions that tend to cause feelings of tiredness and "fatigue" rather than actual weakness.

Chronic pain - the overall effect on energy levels can lead to muscle weakness. Like anxiety, chronic pain stimulates the body to produce chemicals (hormones) that respond to pain and injury. These chemicals cause you to feel tired or tired. With chronic pain, muscle weakness may also occur because the muscles cannot be used due to pain and discomfort.

Muscle damage due to injury

There are many factors that lead to direct muscle damage. The most obvious are wounds or injuries such as sports injuries, sprains and sprains. Doing exercises without warming up and stretching your muscles is a common cause of muscle damage. With any muscle injury, bleeding occurs from the damaged muscle fibers within the muscle, followed by swelling and inflammation. This makes the muscles less strong and also painful when performing movements. The main symptom is local pain, but later weakness may appear.


Many medications can cause muscle weakness and muscle damage as a result of a side effect or allergic reaction. It usually starts as fatigue. But the damage can progress if the medications are not stopped. The most common medications that cause these effects are statins, some antibiotics (including ciprofloxacin and penicillin), and anti-inflammatory painkillers (such as naproxen and diclofenac).

Long-term use of oral steroids also causes muscle weakness and wasting. This is an expected side effect of steroids with long-term use and is why doctors try to shorten the duration of steroid use. Less commonly used medications that can cause muscle weakness and muscle damage include:

  • Certain heart medications (eg, amiodarone).
  • Chemotherapy drugs.
  • Anti-HIV drugs.
  • Interferons.
  • Medicines used to treat an overactive thyroid gland.

Other substances.

Long-term alcohol use can lead to weakness in the shoulder and thigh muscles.

Smoking can indirectly weaken muscles. Smoking causes narrowing of the arteries, which leads to peripheral vascular disease.

Cocaine abuse causes noticeable muscle weakness, just like other drugs.

Sleep disorders

Problems that disrupt or reduce sleep duration lead to muscle fatigue, muscle fatigue. These disorders may include: insomnia, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, restless leg syndrome, shift work, and having young children who do not sleep at night.

Other causes of muscle weakness

Chronic fatigue syndrome

This condition is sometimes associated with certain viral infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus and influenza, but the genesis of this condition is not fully understood. The muscles are not sore, but they get tired very quickly. Patients often feel that greater effort is required to perform muscle activities that they previously performed easily.

In chronic fatigue syndrome, muscles do not collapse and may have normal strength when tested. This is reassuring as it means that the chances of recovery and full restoration of function are very high. CFS also causes psychological fatigue when performing intellectual activities, for example, prolonged reading and communication also become tiring. Patients may often show signs of depression and sleep disturbances.


This disease resembles chronic fatigue syndrome in its symptoms. However, with fibromyalgia, the muscles become painful to palpation and fatigue very quickly. Fibromyalgia muscles do not shrink and remain strong during formal muscle testing. Patients tend to complain more about pain than fatigue or weakness.

Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism)

In this condition, a lack of thyroid hormones leads to general fatigue. And if hypothyroidism is not treated, muscle degeneration and malnutrition may develop over time. Such changes can be serious and in some cases irreversible. Hypothyroidism is a common disease, but, as a rule, with timely treatment, muscle problems can be avoided.

Lack of fluid in the body (dehydration) and electrolyte imbalance.

Problems with the normal balance of salts in the body, including as a result of dehydration, can cause muscle fatigue. Muscle problems can only be very serious in extreme cases, such as dehydration during a marathon. Muscles perform less well when there is an imbalance of electrolytes in the blood.

Diseases accompanied by muscle inflammation

Inflammatory muscle diseases tend to develop in older people and include polymyalgia, polymyositis and dermatomyositis. Some of these conditions are well treated by taking steroids (which must be taken for many months before there is a therapeutic effect). Unfortunately, steroids themselves can cause muscle loss and weakness if taken for a long time.

Systemic inflammatory diseases such as SLE and rheumatoid arthritis are often the cause of muscle weakness. In a small percentage of cases, rheumatoid arthritis, muscle weakness and fatigue may be the only symptoms of the disease for a significant time.

Oncological diseases

Cancer and other cancers can cause direct muscle damage, but having cancer in any part of the body can also cause general muscle fatigue. In advanced stages of cancer, loss of body weight also leads to true muscle weakness. Muscle weakness is usually not the first sign of cancer and occurs more often in the later stages of cancer.

Neurological conditions leading to muscle damage.

Diseases affecting the nerves usually lead to true muscle weakness. This happens because if the nerve of a muscle fiber stops working fully, the muscle fiber cannot contract and, as a result of lack of movement, the muscle atrophies. Neurological diseases: Muscle weakness can be caused by cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke and cerebral hemorrhages or spinal cord injuries. Muscles that become partially or completely paralyzed lose normal strength and eventually atrophy. In some cases, the changes in the muscles are significant and recovery is very slow or function cannot be restored.

Spinal disorders: When nerves are damaged (compressed at the exit of the spine by a herniation, protrusion, or osteophyte), muscle weakness can occur. When a nerve is compressed, conduction and motor disturbances occur in the zone of innervation of the root, and muscle weakness develops only in the muscles innervated by certain nerves that have undergone compression

Other nervous diseases:

Multiple sclerosis is caused by damage to nerves in the brain and spinal cord and can lead to sudden paralysis. In multiple sclerosis, partial restoration of function is possible with adequate treatment.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is an acute autoimmune inflammatory polyradiculoneuropathy, manifested by flaccid paresis, sensory disturbances, autonomic disorders, caused by a viral infection

Parkinson's disease: is a progressive disease of the central nervous system, both the motor sphere and the intellectual and emotional sphere. It mainly affects people over the age of 60 and in addition to muscle weakness, patients with Parkinson's disease experience tremors and muscle stiffness. They often have difficulty starting and stopping movements, and are often depressed.

Rare causes of muscle weakness

Genetic diseases affecting muscles

Muscular dystrophies are hereditary diseases that affect the muscles and are quite rare. The best known such disease is Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This disease occurs in children and causes a gradual loss of muscle strength.

Some rare muscular dystrophies may begin in adulthood, including Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome and Facioscapulohumeral dystrophy syndrome. They also cause a gradual loss of muscle strength and often these conditions can lead to disability and wheelchair use.

Sarcoidosis is a rare disease that causes clumps of cells (granulomas) to form in the skin, lungs, and soft tissues, including muscles. The condition may resolve on its own after a few years.

Amyloidosis is also a rare disease in which abnormal protein (amyloid) accumulates (deposits) throughout the body, including in the muscles and kidneys.

Other rare causes: Direct muscle damage can occur in rare inherited metabolic diseases. Examples include: glycogen storage diseases and, even more rarely, mitochondrial diseases, which occur when the energy systems inside muscle cells don't work properly.

Myotonic dystrophy is a rare genetic muscle disorder that causes muscles to fatigue quickly. Myotonic dystrophy is passed on from generation to generation, and, as a rule, with each subsequent generation the manifestations of the disease become more pronounced.

Motor neurone disease is a progressive nerve disorder that affects all parts of the body. Most forms of motor neuron disease begin in the distal extremities, gradually affecting all muscles of the body. The disease progresses over months or years and patients rapidly develop severe muscle weakness and muscle wasting.

Motor neurone disease most often affects men over 50, but there have been many notable exceptions to this rule, including renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking. There are many different forms of motor neuron disease, but no successful treatment has yet been developed.

Myasthenia gravis: is a rare muscle disease in which the muscles quickly fatigue and require a long time to restore contractile function. The impairment of muscle function can be so severe that patients cannot even keep their eyelids open and speech becomes slurred.

Poisons – Poisonous substances also often cause muscle weakness and paralysis due to their effects on the nerves. Examples are phosphates and botulinum toxin. If exposed to phosphates, weakness and paralysis may be permanent.

Addison's disease

Addison's disease is a rare disease characterized by hypoactive adrenal glands, which leads to a lack of steroids in the blood and an imbalance of blood electrolytes. The disease usually develops gradually. Patients may notice changes in skin color (tanning) due to skin pigmentation. There may be weight loss. Muscle fatigue can be mild and is often an early symptom. The disease is often difficult to diagnose and special examinations are required to diagnose this disease. Other rare hormonal causes of muscle weakness include acromegaly (overproduction of growth hormone), an underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism), and severe vitamin D deficiency.

Diagnosis of muscle weakness and treatment

If you have muscle weakness, you should consult a doctor, who will primarily be interested in answers to the following questions:

  • How did muscle weakness appear and when?
  • Is there a dynamic of muscle weakness, both increasing and decreasing?
  • Is there a change in general health, weight loss, or have you recently traveled abroad?
  • What medications is the patient taking and has anyone in the patient’s family had muscle problems?

The doctor will also need to examine the patient to determine which muscles are affected by weakness and whether the patient has true or suspected muscle weakness. The doctor will check to see if there are signs that the muscles feel softer to the touch (which may be a sign of inflammation) or if the muscles tire too quickly.

The doctor should then perform a nerve conduction test to determine if there is any abnormality in the conduction of the nerves into the muscles. In addition, the doctor may need to test the central nervous system, including balance and coordination, and may order laboratory tests to determine changes in hormone levels, electrolytes, and other parameters.

If this does not allow determining the cause of muscle weakness, then other diagnostic methods may be prescribed:

  • Neurophysiological studies (ENMG, EMG).
  • Muscle biopsy to determine the presence of morphological changes in the muscles
  • Tissue scanning using CT (MSCT) or MRI in areas of the body that may affect muscle strength and function.

The combination of medical history data, symptoms, objective examination data and the results of laboratory and instrumental research methods allows, in most cases, to find out the true cause of muscle weakness and determine the necessary treatment tactics. Depending on the genesis of muscle weakness (infectious, traumatic, neurological, metabolic drug, etc.), treatment should be pathogenetic. Treatment can be either conservative or surgical.

Hormonal disorders

The function of hormones is to stimulate, set in motion; our appetite, energy levels, and even social achievements depend on them. Did you know that testosterone is responsible not only for a person’s libido, but also affects their sense of humor and career ambitions. People who have elevated levels of this hormone are capable of intense, long-term exercise, have strong willpower and the ability to complete tasks. What about serotonin? Even by the biodynamics of the body one can determine its level; if the shoulders are lowered and looking forward, then this screams about extremely low serotonin values. Cortisol is just as important in the waltz of hormones, and stress has been proven to interfere with the development of flexibility, as if it is freezing your muscles. As they say, “all diseases come from nerves”? As they say, “all diseases come from nerves”? Therefore, not only for the sake of splits, but also for the sake of health, it is worth putting your hormonal levels in order; the good news is that you can control some of them yourself. The stress hormone cortisol can be corrected by breathing practices, sleep patterns and reducing caffeine doses, and serotonin can be increased by massage, increasing vitamin B and regular exposure to the sun, giving up sugar and adding magnesium to the diet.

For women, it is important to build a training plan in accordance with the menstrual cycle: in its first phase, you can and should stretch, but in the third and fifth this is fraught with injuries, but in the second and fourth it is easier to achieve impressive results.

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