Loss of muscle tissue leads to muscle atrophy, also known as muscle wasting. Muscle atrophy, also known as disuse atrophy, is a common condition that can be caused by a lifestyle that involves little to no physical activity and a significant amount of sitting. Other common causes of disuse atrophy are medical conditions that make it hard to move, like rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation, or osteoarthritis, which is a disease that makes bones thinner and weaker, and injuries, like broken bones and burns. Muscle loss often happens slowly but steadily as people age. Read further to learn about muscle atrophy symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Muscle Atrophy Symptoms

Here are some of the most common symptoms of muscle atrophy:

  • One of the arms or legs may look shorter than the other.
  • A loss of strength in one or more limbs that makes it difficult or impossible to carry out certain physical activities (depending on the muscles that are affected).
  • Falls are more likely to occur when a person has difficulty maintaining their balance, which can make it difficult to stand up from a seated position, walk, or climb stairs.
  • loss of control over one's muscles
  • Symptoms of numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
  • Loss of mobility that occurs gradually
  • gradual increase in difficulties walking and speaking.
  • Increasing sensations of numbness and weakness in the legs.

Causes of Muscle Atrophy

Here are the main causes of muscle atrophy:

1. Neurological Disease

Muscle Atrophy
Muscle Atrophy

If you have a neurological disorder such as neuropathy, cerebral palsy, a stroke, or spinal cord disease, you may experience facial, arm, or leg muscular weakness. Lack of stimulation and activity may lead to muscle thinning when they are not used. This weakening may also result in a loss of muscle strength beyond that caused by the neurological disorder.

2. Malnutrition

Muscle Atrophy Causes
Muscle Atrophy Causes

Because nutrients and proteins are essential for the correct development and function of muscles, severe malnutrition, as well as a deficiency of these nutrients and proteins, can be a factor in the progression of muscle atrophy. This lack of appropriate nourishment may develop as a result of serious illnesses, and it may also be related to powerful medications, such as certain treatments used to treat cancer.

3. Age


The process of ageing is associated with significant changes in body composition, which leads to a gradual loss of muscle mass and strength over time. Sarcopenia is the medical term for the loss of muscular mass. A decrease in muscle mass can lead to a reduction in mobility as well as an increase in weakness; both of these factors can enhance the likelihood that you will experience a fall and suffer a fracture. People who have sarcopenia have an elevated risk of suffering from a low-trauma fracture as a result of a fall. These fractures can include a broken hip, collarbone, leg, arm, or wrist. 

Muscle Atrophy Treatment

The goal of the treatment is to decrease the symptoms of the condition and make the person feel better. How to treat muscle loss will depend on how bad it is. Some common muscle atrophy treatments are mentioned below- 

1. Functional Electrical Stimulation

Muscle Atrophy Treatment
Muscle Atrophy Treatment

FES is an innovative muscle atrophy treatment. It includes the application of electrical impulses to the muscles that are afflicted in order to induce muscular contraction. During functional electrical stimulation (FES), a qualified technician will apply electrodes to the limb that has atrophied. Electrical stimulation is provided by the electrodes in the form of a current that causes movement in the affected limb.

2. Resistance Exercise 

Muscle Atrophy Treatment
Muscle Atrophy Treatment

This type of exercise has been demonstrated to be highly beneficial for reducing muscle atrophy, raising protein production, and increasing muscle mass and strength. This sort of exercise is highly helpful for increasing muscle mass in the elderly. However, other health concerns should be considered prior to prescribing such activities. Resistance exercise occurs when the muscle is forced to exert force against an immovable object, weight, or liquid.

3. Nutrition

When it comes to the repair and growth of muscles, nutrition is an extremely important factor. You can improve the healing of your muscles by consuming certain meals and beverages, such as whey protein, fatty fish, and cherry juice, in addition to the foods and liquids you already consume.

4. Compression Therapy

Compression stockings and garments can minimize muscular discomfort and increase muscle recovery. These benefits are a direct result of the pressure they apply. There is a vast selection of compression stockings available for you to choose from in order to find the right level of support for your legs.

5. Thermal Therapy

The treatment involves applying heat to the skin's surface, which relieves discomfort, boosts circulation, and expedites the healing process.

6. Foam Rolling

It means rolling your muscles out with a piece of hard foam to relieve tired and sore muscles.

7. Focused Ultrasound Therapy

The body is targeted with beams of ultrasonic radiation using this method, which can target specific spots. Atrophied muscle tissue can be stimulated to contract as a result of the beams. This innovative technology is currently in the process of being developed and has not yet moved on to the phase of clinical testing.


Atrophy of the muscles is a disorder that occurs when muscles start to waste away owing to a lack of use. Having surgery that leaves you immovable, having a neurological condition Such as a stroke, or simply becoming older, are all potential causes of this condition. Atrophy of the muscles can appear in a number of ways, including discomfort, edema, and weakness, in addition to the obvious loss of muscular mass. It is possible that you do not require medical attention if you suspect that you have muscle atrophy but do not believe that the problem is caused by an underlying medical condition. Exercise, on the other hand, has the potential to revert the process of muscle atrophy. However, if you are aware that you have a medical issue or have reason to think that you may have one, you should consult a physician who can determine the treatment plan that will be most effective for you.

Also Read: Muscle Cramps: Causes & Treatment