When patients come to my Neuromuscular Therapy center near Boston with undiagnosed muscle pain and weakness, I always think about what causes there might be other than the two most recognized by medical professions: underuse (or deconditioning) and disease process. In light of the news story on ABC June 5, 2009 about muscle weakness caused by drinking excessive amounts of cola http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=7768170, here are some other reasons to consider that are less recognized by our conventional medical community.
Nerve entrapment: When nerves run through tight muscles or pass by a taut band caused by a Trigger Point, nerve signal transmission can be significantly reduced causing muscle weakness.
Trigger Point referral: Pain and weakness are symptoms of Trigger Points.
Muscle energy crisis: Lack of ATP or energy molecules used for fuel caused by hypertonic or ischemic conditions in the muscle where blood flow is limited will cause muscle weakness.
Muscle tension: Muscles in constant contraction can’t lengthen and therefor use only a small portion of the available muscle for power.
Nourishment: There are nutrients that are essential for neuromuscular functioning. Insufficient amounts of these nutrients can cause muscle weakness. Here is a good link: http://1stholistic.com/nutrition/hol_nutr-def-symptoms.htm
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance: I’m always touting the necessity of getting enough water to prevent and to heal muscle problems. Here are two of many reliable sources of information on this subject: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms and http://www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual_ha/sec3/ch18/ch18d.html
Muscle imbalance: When one muscle is chronically tight, the opposing muscle will be weak.
Overuse fatigue: This is common in sports, but do you think of yourself as an athlete when you are on the computer too many hours a day or have muscle tension from being stressed? Your muscles can get tired and weak from too much activity without sufficient rest and refueling.