When should I seek help?
Scott recommends seeing a doctor if you have sudden-onset weakness, fatigue or pain and can’t identify the reason. “You really need to consult with a physician if you’re doing fine one minute and then all of a sudden you’re not,” she said.
She described that as “insidious onset.” That means you start feeling unwell even though you didn’t perform any physical activity that might have made you sore or tired.
Even if you can identify a cause, you still might need to see a doctor if you aren’t getting better.
“If you have muscle weakness or fatigue that persists for more than two weeks, it can be something else going on in your system,” Scott said.
Another red flag is if healthy changes don’t bring relief.
What will my doctor look for?
Scott said a number of conditions can be to blame:
- An injury to the muscle, joint or bone
- High blood pressure
- Guillain-Barre Syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Vitamin deficiencies
Scott said problems can also arise from your lifestyle, like being too sedentary. “
You’ll have some muscles that become weak because they aren’t being tasked like they should be,” she explained. “It isn’t enough just to walk – you need to isolate other muscles to strengthen them.”
Ironically, “Muscles tend to be a lazy part of the body. If we don’t work them, they atrophy.”
Unhealthy work environments can also be to blame. Scott said people who sit at a desk all day or do repetitive motions are at risk.
“Our bodies aren’t designed to accommodate that,” she said.
How can therapy help?
Therapy can help patients overcome or alleviate those conditions.
Scott said therapists evaluate the areas where patients feel weakness or pain.
They use various techniques to make improvements:
- Therapeutic exercises to improve flexibility and strength in affected areas
- Education on proper posture
- Non-pharmaceutical pain relief like soft tissue therapy and dry needling
Patients who complete therapy at the Center for Rehabilitative Medicine can transition to its Post-Rehab Wellness Program.
The innovative program combines therapy and personal training.
Kenneth Robinson, certified personal trainer, teaches the right way to exercise so patients can continue to get stronger without the risk of re-injury.
“The minute you stop doing things to get stronger, you go back to being weaker,” Scott warned.
“Once you’re able to do something, you want to maintain it.”