Symptoms of muscle atrophy include one limb being substantially smaller than the other, having a marked weakness in one limb, and being unable to move in a regular manner. If unable to move normally, it is important to call a doctor immediately as it may be a symptom of an underlying condition that requires medical treatment, says Healthline.
Causes of muscle atrophy include the deterioration of muscles due to inactivity, aging, burns, injuries and alcohol-induced myopathy. Patients who are bedridden or unable to move are subject to muscle atrophy. Additional causes include malnutrition, damage to the spinal cord, a stroke and long-term use of corticosteroids, according to Healthline.
Diseases that cause muscles to waste away are also sometimes responsible for muscle atrophy, adds Healthline. Examples of these diseases are dermatomyositis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Lou Gehrig’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Additional conditions associated with muscle atrophy include muscular dystrophy, neuropathy and osteoarthritis.
Common treatments for muscle atrophy include exercise, physical or ultrasound therapy, surgery and healthy diet changes. Water exercises are good for patients who have difficulty moving, according to Healthline. Physical therapists may assist in teaching patients the correct way to exercise and also help with the movements themselves when a patient has difficulty.