What are the signs of muscle problems?

Muscle symptoms include muscle aches and pains, weakness, atrophy, twitching, stiffness, spasms, spasticity, cramps, decreased muscle tone, and paralysis.

There are three types of muscles in your body:

  • Voluntary skeletal muscles (muscles attached to bone)
  • Involuntary smooth muscles (such as the muscles of the digestive tract)
  • Involuntary cardiac muscle (your heart muscle, which is also called the myocardium)

Muscles respond to a command from the brain and nervous system or other stimulus, such as a tap from a reflex hammer during a physical examination. Muscles contract when stimulated, and relax after a contraction.

Any type of muscle can produce symptoms when affected by various diseases, disorders and conditions. These include infection, trauma, autoimmune diseases, neurological and muscular disorders, malignancy (cancer), and even some medications. Muscle symptoms can also involve the ligaments, tendons and fascia, which is the soft tissue that connects the muscles, bones and organs.

Muscle symptoms can affect a specific muscle of the body, such as your front thigh muscle (quadriceps), or you may feel muscle aches and pains all over, such as when you have the flu (influenza). Temporary muscle symptoms, such as temporary weakness or pain, can be caused by being sedentary for a period of time or a minor muscle strain, respectively. Muscle symptoms can also accompany serious conditions that can even be life threatening, such as severe dehydration, spinal cord injury, or stroke.

Muscle symptoms can be a sign of a serious disease, disorder or condition, such as muscular dystrophy, an infection of the muscles, or a pinched nerve. Seek prompt medical attention if your muscle symptoms are persistent or causing you concern.

Critical or life-threatening conditions, such as heart attack, seizure, spinal cord injury, stroke, and meningitis, can also cause muscle symptoms. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, muscle weakness or paralysis, inability to move a body part, change in alertness, vomiting, or stiff neck.


What other symptoms might occur with muscle symptoms?

Muscle symptoms may occur with other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Skeletal muscle symptoms that are due to an injury may be accompanied by bruising and swelling of the area. Muscle symptoms that are due to a disorder affecting your whole body, such as an infection, may be... Read more about muscle symptomssymptoms


What causes muscle symptoms?

Hundreds of different diseases, disorders and conditions can cause muscle symptoms, including inflammatory syndromes, neurological diseases, trauma, and infection.

Skeletal muscle symptoms are most often due to injury or trauma, but can also be caused by a more serious disorder, such as fibromyalgia, infection, or drug reactions. Skeletal muscle cramps or spasms are often caused b... Read more about muscle symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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