Muscle atrophy or “muscle wasting” occurs when a loss of muscle tissue affects our daily lives and ability to perform simple tasks. Depending on the situation or condition, early detection can help doctors and therapists provide immediate treatment to prevent muscles from deteriorating.
There are two forms of muscle atrophy:
1. “Disuse” – when muscles lose mass due to lack of physical activity.
2. “Neurogenic” – sudden damage to nerves, making muscle movement impossible.
Here are some common causes of muscle atrophy:
1. Lack of exercise. Low activity level due to a sedentary lifestyle or extended bedrest can result in muscle atrophy. Movement and exercise are essential to keep muscles in shape.
2. Not eating enough. Having a diet lacking proper nutrients can affect the overall tone and strength of muscles. A diet rich in protein and Vitamin B12 can help build and repair tissues and improve brain cell function.
3. Limited movement. Broken bones confined in a cast have limited movement. Not being able to use an injured limb, over time, reduces muscle tissue.
4. Excess bedrest. Being confined to a bed because of a certain injury or condition can restrict our ability to move or lift ourselves. For patients required to stay in bed, physical therapists can offer treatment and exercise plans to prevent atrophy.
5. Nerve damage. Nerves act as signals between the brain and the body, making it possible to perform many tasks and activities. Nerve damage caused by a condition or severe injury may prevent a body from moving at all.
Muscle atrophy is usually a consequence of not using muscles enough or not being able to move them at all. The best way to treat muscle atrophy is to seek the services of a professional, licensed physical therapist who can provide proper treatment.
The signs of muscle atrophy don’t always show up immediately. It takes time for muscles to lose mass but skilled medical help can prevent that from occurring.
At the Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centres of Ontario, our team of qualified doctors and therapists can help prevent this condition from worsening and can provide a series of treatments are individualized to each patient. If you suspect you may have weakening muscles or loss of muscle tissue, please contact us at any of our centres here.