In most cases, the term muscular weakness is used to describe a muscle that isn’t able to provide the force expected from it. This can occur for a number of reasons including muscle wastage and an inhibited nerve. There are also muscle diseases that can cause weakness. Some people suffer from perceived muscle weakness where the muscle isn’t physically weak but the person feels that he or she needs to provide excessive effort in order to achieve a normal force. An example of a condition that can cause this problem is chronic fatigue syndrome.
Muscles are used to support the skeleton and provide force for everyday actions such as pushing, walking and holding objects. When muscular weakness occurs, it can either have a direct effect on the ability of a person to perform certain actions or it can affect a person’s posture and kinetic chain. The latter problem can cause additional problems such as overuse injuries due to excess stress being placed on muscles that aren’t made to cope with this.
There are several different types of muscular weakness — neural, peripheral and central. Neural weakness occurs when a high level of force is required from a muscle, which can cause neural fatigue in untrained individuals. When a muscle is put under a large amount of stress, the nerve signal may begin to diminish, which causes it to stop working at peak performance. This type of muscle weakness is the least common and isn’t painful.
Central muscular weakness occurs when the drive provided to the body’s muscles decreases. This, in turn, reduces the force available to the muscles of the body. Central weakness affects all the muscles in the body at the same time and is thought to be a safety mechanism that becomes active when high intensity exercise is being used.
Peripheral muscular weakness occurs when the body can’t supply a specific muscle with the energy it needs. When a muscle contracts, it needs an increased amount of energy and a peripheral muscle weakness prevents this. In some cases this may also be called metabolic fatigue.
There are diseases that can cause muscle weakness. For example, muscular dystrophy is a condition that causes the muscles to become weak over time. This particular disease is a hereditary condition that can cause a variety of other symptoms including difficulty with learning and mood swings. Inflammatory myopathy can also result in the body’s muscles becoming weak.