Overview of Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue is a common symptom of many musculoskeletal conditions. It is often associated with spasms, pulled muscles and chronic back pain.

When it feels as though you are unable to move your body in ways that you would normally be able to move, such as lifting heavy objects, walking up the stairs or doing your exercise routine, you may be suffering from muscle fatigue. It often manifests as a dull, burning sensation in the muscles and a feeling of exhaustion or weakness.

While muscle fatigue may simply be caused by overworking, a lack of exercise or poor diet, it may also be a symptom of serious spinal conditions like herniated discs, spinal stenosis or sciatica. You should consult with a doctor if you feel that your muscle fatigue is hindering your day-to-day life.

Causes of Muscle Fatigue

Muscle fatigue has many different potential causes. These range from minor to life threatening. Some causes of muscle fatigue include:

  • Overworking
  • Dehydration
  • Poor posture, especially while sitting for long periods
  • Poor sleep positions
  • Degenerative spinal conditions such as osteoarthritis, sciatica and stenosis
  • Old age can make muscle fatigue more common

Symptoms of Muscle Fatigue

If left untreated, muscle fatigue can have a number of negative consequences for your body. Some of these can be quite serious. Consequences and symptoms of muscle fatigue include:

  • Decreased Spinal Curvature – Your back muscles naturally curve your spine so that you can stand up straight. Fatigue in your back muscles can cause your spine's curvature to decrease, leading to chronic back pain, further fatigue and a decline in overall health.
  • Muscular Atrophy – If your muscle fatigue leads to spasms and underuse of your muscles, they may eventually break down, leading to further back problems and other health issues.
  • Debased Posture – Fatigued back muscles may lead to gradual slouching and poor posture. Over the years, the natural position of your spine may shift, changing how you look, walk and hold yourself.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Muscle Fatigue

If you have muscle fatigue, the first thing to do is to rest. Then, do some gentle back exercises and make sure you're getting plenty of water and healthy food.

Go for a walk, stretch and don't over-stress. If you do this for a few days and the fatigue doesn't go away, consider asking your doctor for advice and an examination. With your doctor's help, you can discover the underlying reason for your muscle fatigue. It may not have anything to do with your back, or it may be an early symptom of degenerative spinal disease.

Once you know why you’re experiencing muscle fatigue, there are several ways to go about treating it. In addition to rest and mild exercise, you can also use ice and heat therapy, undergo physical or massage therapy, or opt for alternative therapies like acupuncture. If the underlying conditions are serious enough, you may even need surgery to get your back muscles healthy again.

Only a qualified diagnosis can tell what is causing your fatigue and what will heal it. Contact your doctor today for an appointment.

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