We all lose muscle mass as we grow older, even when we exercise. But when you have a chronic illness like multiple sclerosis this muscle atrophy can occur even when you do manage to work those muscles and exercise regularly.
Atrophy or wastage of muscle tone
The process of atrophy can be a natural evolutionary process as weaker less viable lifeforms die out. This is true, also of cells, particularly muscle cells. Where lack of use, or lack of exercise causes the atrophy, or wastage of muscle tone.
The cost of Sedentary Lifestyle
The loss of muscle tone and muscle wastage is known as atrophy. People who get insufficient exercise will lose muscle tone, and over this time the muscle will waste, resulting in the loss of muscle tissue. Damage to the motor nerves can lead to immobility, and diseases like muscular dystrophy, myotonia cengenita, and myotonic dystropy which affect the muscles directly will produce the same outcome.
Neurological conditions that affect the motor nerves may include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) poliomyelitis (polio), Guillain-Barre syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.
Scientists have found two genes whose function appears to be to accelerate the breakdown of unused muscle tissue. This, according to Louis M. Kunkel, a geneticist at the Children’s Hospital of Boston, may yield insights into treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal musculat atrophy, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
I find that exercise can be difficult as the limbs feel tired and weak to begin with. Using the muscles involves using the motor control nerves, the performance of which degrade with use making the limbs feel even more tired and weak. Little and often seems to be the way to go.
Common Causes of Muscle Atrophy
- cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
- spinal cord injury
- peripheral nerve injury
- prolonged immobilty
- rheumatoid arthritis
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Guillain-Barre syndrome
- muscular dystrophy
- myotonia congenita
- myotonic dystrophy
Exercise is the obvious choice for muscle building though MS is likely to make this difficult if not impossible.
Application of moist heat, and whirlpool baths are recommended.
It has been observed, by the author, that sometimes exercise alone is insufficient to reverse the inevitable muscle atrophy of MS. After several months on the Wahls Protocol good progress was being made. Far greater mobility and energy levels were experienced. However, despite this and even with regular exercise with daily workout with weights (3 kg dumbbells) muscle tone in one arm was NOT being restored.
Arm curls and straight arm lifts were performed. The right arm responded well with noticeable increase in the size and power of the biceps and triceps. But the left arm was, and still is, showing little improvement. This despite increasing the left arm repetitions to twice that of the right arm. The left side of his body ha always been more affected by the MS and this seems to have some relevance.