Do you know those days where you just feel like your muscles are sore, achy, or just plain tired? Have you noticed that you can’t make your body work the way it usually does?
From time to time, most of us experience some form of muscle fatigue. Whether we recognize it or not, it can be a regular part of life. But sometimes muscle fatigue can be a symptom of a larger problem.
If you’re curious about what muscle fatigue looks like or what could be causing it, you came to the right place. If you’re looking for easy, effective treatment options, we’ve got those, too.
Let’s cover everything you need to know about common muscle fatigue.
What Is It?
What exactly is muscle fatigue?
The basic clinical definition of muscle fatigue is the reduced ability to produce force in the muscles. It’s typically caused by overuse of the muscles, but there are a few different causes for it.
Muscle fatigue is a common complaint from people of all ages and all backgrounds.
It can present with different symptoms, depending on the cause. This is what makes it so important to know what your muscle fatigue looks like and what causes it.
First, let’s go over just what muscle fatigue can look like.
There are a few different ways in which fatigue of the muscles can manifest. Here’s what to look out for.
One symptom of muscle fatigue is cramping.
Cramping can manifest as a painful muscle spasm. Most people describe this pain as a sort of seizing of the muscle, causing decreased mobility and temporary paralysis.
Cramping usually feels like a tight, throbbing pain.
Cramps can happen all over and inside the body such as menstrual cramps or stomach cramps. Muscle fatigue, however, only causes cramping in your external muscles.
Pain and Soreness
If you’re feeling very sore in a muscle, it could be caused by muscle fatigue.
Referred to as myalgia, muscle aches can happen anywhere muscle tissue is (which is pretty much everywhere).
Different from the acute tightness associated with muscle cramping, muscle pain and soreness is more of a dull, constant ache.
This soreness can even be experienced in a large area of the body, affecting more than just one muscle or muscle group.
When you think of the word “fatigue,” you probably think of weakness.
It’s true, one of the biggest side effects of muscle fatigue is muscle weakness.
This can be all over the body or in places like your arms and legs. When it happens in your arms, it can result in weaker grip strength or difficulty carrying and holding things. When it happens to your legs, it can become difficult to walk.
Trembling or Twitching
One of the more obvious and disruptive symptoms of muscle fatigue is an involuntary twitching or trembling.
Trembling usually looks like a constant shake in your muscles, varying in severity from mild to severe. You can tell if you’re trembling if you try to hold out your hand still and it seems to shake.
Muscle twitching or fasciculation is a bit different than trembling. It appears as small, involuntary contractions in the affected muscle that you can’t control.
If you experience muscle twitching, pay attention to where it is and how long it goes on. It usually isn’t cause for concern and goes away quickly on its own. Occasionally, muscle twitching lasts for a longer time and needs medical attention.
Now that we know what muscle fatigue looks like, let’s take a look at what the root of the issue may be.
One of the most common reasons you may be experiencing muscle fatigue is overexertion during exercise.
When you work out, you cause tiny tears in your muscle tissue. This eventually builds them up as they heal stronger in the long run, but it can cause some serious fatigue in the interim.
This form of muscle fatigue can easily be avoided by stretching before and after a workout and making sure not to overexert yourself. It can be tempting to push yourself to the limit when you’re getting a good workout in, but it can, unfortunately, do more harm than good if you overdo it.
A good way to quickly recover from exercise is to use percussion massager therapy.
Anxiety or Depression
Though we consider these two more of a mental health issue, they can take a serious toll on our physical health as well.
If you suffer from anxiety, it can cause muscle tension from all of the stress you carry in your body. And that muscle tension then leads to muscle fatigue.
When you’re depressed, you can feel down and low on energy. Depression can exhaust you both mentally and physically. This exhaustion often manifests itself in your body as muscle fatigue and weakness.
Another cause of muscle fatigue? Just plain old fatigue.
A bit more serious than just tiredness, fatigue feels like a complete lack of energy in the body. It makes it hard to get out of bed and, of course, hard to use your muscles.
The root cause of fatigue can be anything from depression, like we mentioned before, to the flu, to repeatedly not getting enough sleep.
If you’re constantly feeling fatigued, there’s likely something else going on, go check in with your doctor.
Another cause of both muscle fatigue and general fatigue is anemia.
Anemia is a low blood cell count that leads to lower oxygen in the body. It’s very common and is caused by many other conditions like endometriosis, low iron intake, and hypothyroidism.
Due to the lack of oxygen and lower red blood cells, your muscles don’t get what they need to function properly.
So what can you do about muscle fatigue? Luckily, there are a few actions you can take to strengthen your muscles and get them working correctly.
The first and most important step to take to stabilize your muscles is to get a better diet. Make sure that you have enough iron and protein as well as vitamin B-12.
These can improve muscle health and function, fighting off weak and tired muscles.
Drinking Enough Water
Dehydration can cause and exacerbate muscle fatigue, and it’s the easiest thing to do to improve your muscle health.
Keep a large water bottle that tracks your water intake. Even if you think you drink enough water, chances are, you’re not.
Localized Massage Therapy
A quick and easy way to get your muscles back to working is to use localized massage therapy.
You could go to a massage therapist for this, but that takes time and money.
If you want muscle fatigue relief fast, you should invest in a massage therapy gun. These unique devices work deep into the muscle tissue, improving circulation.
This promotes faster muscle healing and makes it the fastest option for healthier muscles as soon as possible.
Muscle Fatigue Can Be Easy to Treat
Muscle fatigue can be annoying and inconvenient to deal with.
Luckily, you have a few options for treatment. It’s easy to manage muscle fatigue if you take a few precautionary steps.