Muscle wasting occurs due to disuse of the muscle over a long interval of time or because of malnourishment. The muscle tissue reduces in bulk and length, and there will be loss of size and power as well.
Muscle wasting occurs in two forms: disuse muscle wasting, wherein the muscles get atrophied because of a lack of exercise; and neurogenic atrophy, wherein, the muscle wastes due to disease or trauma.
- Trauma and aging: With age, an individual may get bedridden or disabled to a point where he is totally sedentary. As a result the muscles lose their tone and atrophy sets in. Injury may also lead to muscle wasting as in cases when one gets paralyzed and the muscles waste away due to lack of use.
- Nerve Diseases: Diseases which affect the nerves that control the muscles can cause atrophy. Diseases such as polio and Guillain-Barre syndrome cause the communication between the muscles and the nerves to get impaired; as a result the muscles lose their capacity to work in response to nerve messages and the resulting immobility causes muscle atrophy.
- Motor Neuropathy: Motor neuropathy is a condition in which the motor nerve fibres get damaged. This results in lack of muscle control, weakness, and muscle atrophy.
- Muscular Dystrophy: Muscular dystrophy is occurs when the muscle gradually decline and die.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis lead to muscular atrophy. Arthritis manifests as inflammation and swelling of the joints, making them rigid and painful; thus, movement gets restricted. You tend to become sedentary, and this leads to muscle atrophy and wasting.
Symptoms Of Muscle Wasting And Weakness
Muscle wasting is characterized by:
- Weakness and exhaustion: The muscles lose their tone and shape noticeably.
- Loss of appetite, giddiness on standing up, low level of iron and other blood proteins.
- There will be visible weight loss, reduced definition and loss of muscle strength.
Natural Treatment For Muscle Wasting And Weakness
- Creatine is one of the supplements which is decidedly beneficial in successfully managing muscle atrophy. Creatine is a naturally occurring building block of proteins. It is found in meat and fish, and is also synthesized by our body. Clinical studies have shown that creatine reverses muscle atrophy and weakness and increases muscle mass in those suffering from diseases which cause muscle atrophy.
- Stinging nettle supplements are used in cases of muscle atrophy. Urtica dioica or stinging nettle is a plant from the cold Northern regions of Europe. The stinging nettle may be applied topically or taken orally in the form of teas. It is also available in capsule forms. The herb has an effect on the body’s natural muscle building hormone testosterone. Stinging nettle binds with and decreases the level of a molecule called Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. The Sex Hormone Binding Globulin binds with testosterone, thereby decreasing its level and consequently affecting muscle building.
- Sufficient protein intake is vital to rebuild atrophied muscles. You also need to maintain an adequate calorie intake, in order to put the body in a state called the positive nitrogen balance which favors muscle building. Talk to your health care provider and start protein supplements and powders.
- Physiotherapy plays a pivotal role in building atrophied muscle. Confer with your physical therapist and ask him to fashion an individualized exercise program which will help you regain muscle mass. You need a weight-lifting program specifically designed to deal with arthritis, muscular dystrophy, injury or whatever disorder you may be suffering from that is responsible for the muscle loss.