Anxiety and muscle weakness

Anxiety and muscle weakness

We all know how it feels to wake up in the morning still tired of a prior sleepless night. Your body feels too heavy for your muscles to carry it. When you suffer from anxiety this perceived muscle weakness can steal what little energy you might have left and deprive you of your quality of life. How does anxiety cause muscle weakness?

Anxiety and muscle weaknessDuring a panic attack you might find yourself breathing faster than normal due to your body’s fight or flight response wanting to provide your muscles with more oxygen so that you can either fight or run away from danger. Unfortunately your rapid breathing will also increase the oxygen in your blood which can cause your blood to become more alkaline. When this happens you experience symptoms such as numbness and lightheadedness.

Another unpleasant side effect of anxiety is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Even though it is not a medically accepted term, adrenal fatigue, may cause your adrenal glands to become exhausted with the constant labor of producing stress hormones in response to anxiety. This can lead to a disruption in your body’s hormone balance which in turn can lead to a drop in your blood glucose levels. Feeling constantly weak and tired is a common symptom of hypoglycemia.

It is always important to report new symptoms and side effects to your doctor. Some symptoms of anxiety are the same as the symptoms of more serious illnesses so get medical advice before assuming that you suffer from anxiety.

It is possible to treat the symptoms of anxiety, but the truth is that they will only return or other symptoms will start to surface. The best way to be permanently rid of the symptoms of anxiety is to treat the anxiety even while you are managing its side-effects. Anxiety is a treatable condition that has been overcome by many people just like you. So what treatment methods are available?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy which teaches you better stress coping skills and can help you to view situations and circumstances in a different light. It is believed that cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective as medication and in some cases it has been reported to be even more successful.

Other ways in which you can treat your anxiety is through relaxation exercises such as yoga or meditation. Deep breathing exercises have been proven to trigger your relaxation response, which is the opposite reflex of the stress response, causing anxiety.

There are however ways in which you can relieve your muscle weakness while you are overcoming anxiety. If hyperventilation is the reason for your muscle weakness, try cupping your hands and then breathing into them. This way you will be breathing in carbon dioxide along with oxygen which will restore the pH levels in your blood.

Effective ways of beating hypoglycemia is to consume small, regular meals in order to keep your blood glucose levels even. Avoid foods high in sugar, since these will only lift your glucose levels temporarily.

Anxiety does not have to be a sword hanging over your head for the rest of your life. Help is available and with some time and a little effort anxiety can be permanently cured.

 References:

Nippoldt, Todd B. “Is there such a thing as adrenal fatigue?” Mayo Clinic. 2011. Mayoclinic.com (November 8, 2012) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/adrenal-fatigue/AN01583

Dugdale, David C; Zieve, David. “Respiratory alkalosis” University of Maryland Medical Center. 2009. Umm.edu (November 8, 2012) http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000111sym.htm

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