Muscle Fatigue: Common Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Most of us experience our muscles feel weaker after doing some strenuous activities or some repeating activities like exercising. Even office-based and home-based workers can also experience that amid long hours of working, either sitting or standing. Such a condition can be defined as muscle fatigue. Finding its causes and treatment is crucial so that our daily activities will not be affected. We all want to excel in our jobs and perform our daily routines with the utmost efficiency. Of course, we can’t achieve that if we are having health issues. That is why we should have a clear understanding of muscle fatigue- its causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What is Muscle Fatigue?
Normally, we may say that we’re having muscle fatigue when we notice that our muscles become weaker and tired. However, medical experts say that there’s more beyond that. Healthline.com has the following definition of muscle fatigue:
“Muscle fatigue is a symptom that decreases your muscles’ ability to perform over time. It can be associated with a state of exhaustion, often following strenuous activity or exercise. When you experience fatigue, the force behind your muscles’ movements decreases, causing you to feel weaker.”
Besides, muscle fatigue can be classified into two components: peripheral or muscular and central or neural. Peripheral muscle fatigue pertains to the motor units, which comprise the processes related to the cellular and mechanical changes in the body’s muscular system. On the other hand, central muscle fatigue is described as the physiological processes that happen within the body’s central nervous system.
In a study conducted and published by NCBI, some factors that may affect fatigue and contraction of muscles include the following:
- Neural contributions
- Metabolic factors
- Blood and oxygen flow
The research also mentioned that fatigue is associated with various health conditions. A part of the article mentions:
“Fatigue is a common non-specific symptom experienced by many people and is associated with many health conditions. Often defined as an overwhelming sense of tiredness, lack of energy and feeling of exhaustion, fatigue relates to the difficulty in performing voluntary tasks. Fatigue accumulation, if not resolved, leads to overwork, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), overtraining syndrome, and even endocrine disorders, immunity dysfunction, organic diseases and a threat to human health.”
Medical experts are continuously doing studies about muscle fatigue and how it can impact our lifestyle and activities.
What Causes Muscle Fatigue?
You might be asking, “What really causes muscle fatigue?”. As previously mentioned, muscle fatigue can be experienced after doing some strenuous activities. However, there can also be some underlying causes to it.
Medical News Today also added that muscle fatigue could make it difficult for people to move naturally. They may also feel a dull aching in their muscles. Aside from that, they may experience constant tiredness and lack of energy when doing daily tasks
Physical activities and ageing are two factors that are considered to cause muscle fatigue. However, there are also medical conditions that we should be aware of since they can contribute to having muscle fatigue:
- weight problems
- inflammatory diseases
- chronic kidney failure
- cerebral palsy
- anaerobic infections
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- thyroid problems
- mineral deficiency
- lack of sleep
A consultation with your doctor can help you better understand what may cause muscle fatigue and if you’re at risk of having it.
What Are The Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of?
According to health professionals, muscle fatigue can occur and affect anywhere on our body. The primary sign, of course, is muscle weakness. Other manifestations or symptoms are localized pain, muscle twitching, soreness, trembling, muscle cramps, difficulty in breathing, and having a weak grip.
However, when muscle fatigue is causing you to start having a hard time doing your daily chores, you should be cautious. In case your symptoms worsen, then it is vital to refer to your doctor for medical attention. Do not take it for granted because it may be a signal of a health condition that requires immediate medical attention.
How Can Muscle Fatigue Affect Your Job Performance?
As we all know, a person will not be able to perform work efficiently while suffering pain or discomfort in the body. An office worker, for example, can experience health problems due to a sedentary lifestyle. Besides, using machines or working manually can also lead to muscle fatigue, which can cause lowered productivity and poor work results. A person’s motivation to excel in a job can be lowered, thus, affecting morale at work.
Ergonomic experts advise workers to work in a comfortable environment. Ensure that your workstation is composed of tools and equipment that will contribute to safe and productive work experience. Using standing desks and other ergonomic accessories are proven to help in preventing musculoskeletal disorders. An anti-fatigue mat, for instance, has been helping working individuals to perform their tasks without worrying about acquiring fatigue on their legs as well as back pain.
How to Treat Muscle Fatigue
If you’ve been experiencing muscle fatigue at home or work, then you should know that there are some ways on how to treat it. Of course, the treatment will be based on the symptoms and causes of muscle fatigue. For instance, if you’re doing some hardcore exercises, your muscles may feel tired and lead to muscle fatigue. However, when you feel muscle fatigue without doing some activities, then this is the time you should consult a doctor. Make sure to honestly give your medical history for a seamless medical consultation.
In most cases, taking a rest will aid in improving muscle fatigue. Keep yourself hydrated and ensure to have a healthy diet. These can help ensure that the body has the proper nutrients to promote the healthy functioning of the muscles.
It is also advisable to do some stretchings before and after strenuous activities. This will let you loosen up some muscles and avoid injuries. In case your muscle fatigue continues to become inflamed and painful, you can try applying hot and cold therapy.
Some cases of muscle fatigue require prompt and specific medical attention. Your physician may prescribe antidepressant or anti-inflammatory medications to ease your muscle fatigue.
Medical News Today also listed some treatments for muscle fatigue, including the following:
- Natural products, such as ginseng and garlic.
- Synthetic products such as Amphetamines, ephedrine, and caffeine
- Nutritional supplements such as multivitamins
We can be at risk of having muscle fatigue, especially if we’re doing some physical activities. It is vital to be well-informed on the common causes, symptoms and possible treatment for muscle fatigue so that we can handle it properly.