Volunteer opportunity: Organizing Phoenix Rising articles
This section contains all the articles that have been published by Phoenix Rising over the years. As you will see if you browse here, some of the articles are outdated--either the research has been superseded or retracted or the article features an event or campaign that is now in...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

The Muscle Fatigue Vs Muscle Weakness Poll

Discussion in 'Skeleton, Skin, Muscles, Hair, Teeth, and Nails' started by Cort, Jan 20, 2011.


After physical activity with regards to my muscles I typically experience

  1. Muscle fatigue - associated with pain or burning sensations, etc.

    24 vote(s)
  2. Muscle weakness - not associated with pain or other unpleasant associations

    7 vote(s)
  1. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I am wondering if there is a split between people who experience muscle 'fatigue' vs muscle 'weakness'. Here is my understanding of the difference between the two:

    • Muscle fatigue - associated with pain, burning sensation, muscle cramping or other bothersome symptoms. With muscle fatigue you can generally move the muscle if you have to - you just really don't want to.
    • Muscle weakness - in some disorders is often not associated with pain or other symptoms - there is simply an inability to move the muscle.

    Which do you experience after activity?

    The poll will look at a variety of different muscle states.
  2. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member


    I get both or elements of both. Sometimes I get one and not the other. If I get both there is usually a time lag between them. For example

    1. Walk too far, then your defintion of muscle weakness sets in. I become unable to stand or walk. Weak, slow.

    2. Then that night the burning, cramping and pain start. Reaching a peak 24-48 hours after the walk. Weakness remains.

    (also followed by sore throat, glands etc but that is another story...)

  3. Tammie

    Tammie Senior Member

    Woodridge, IL
    I get both, too.....usually it seems that the muscle fatigue comes first and if I keep trying to push it, then my muscles simply refuse to work at all
  4. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

    WA, USA
    I'm not sure why you define weakness as full paralysis? However if we want to go with your definition but soften the weakness a bit to mean not only a total inability to move the muscle but also sluggishness of response, things feeling much heavier than they should (without any burning, aching, cramping, etc.), a leg dragging, altered gait without associated discomfort, stuff like that, then I get both. Softened weakness during a crash and as a signal that I should stop walking.

    Activity can also bring on a burning pressure (swelling-type inside-out pressure) sensation (which could theoretically be associated with pH change) and other burning and other pains.
  5. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Hibernating

    South Australia
    Does anyone get the 'itchy muscle' feeling after prolonged activity? (relative to our regular activity levels)
  6. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Interesting....weakness first then the burning and pain.....and then the immune response! You have the hat trick!
  7. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    Is that a real itchy feeling like you want to scratch your muscles? Nerve associated pain can encompass many things - burning feelings, numbness, cold, tingling and itchiness - I guess it depends on how your nerves are tweaked....I think its all nerve pain....

    Researchers do find increased pain sensitivity after exercise. It may be too far back to remember this but exercise usually accomplishes just the opposite - reduced pain sensitivity. I think I have symptoms of mild allodynia - skin pain to normal sensations if I exercise too much.
  8. Cort

    Cort Phoenix Rising Founder

    I definitely feel less coordinated after I exercise too much. My body feels kind of rigid and blocky and I kind of stomp around. years ago I was asked why I stomp so much! I wasn't even aware I was doing it.

    I can see the different grades. Do you get any fluey feelings?
  9. Live And Let Die

    Live And Let Die Senior Member

    Las Vegas
    I have muscle fatigue almost all the time in one form or the other. I too feel less coordinated after I exercise. Yep, rigid and blocky. I'm also "heavy footed".

    At the times when I have crashed hard, my body has felt hollow which would fall under muscle weakness. I don't remember any pain during those times but then again I was a complete zombie. Zombies don't remember things very well.
  10. WillowJ

    WillowJ คภภเє ɠรค๓թєl

    WA, USA
    I have the kind of weakness where you tell your arm to move and it's not so much that it's discoordinated, but it's just not very responsive, moving slower and maybe not the first time you asked, and you know it's a problem in the nerve or muscle tissue in the limb (as opposed to when you notice that the cerebellum just temporarily forgot how to walk and you have to take over from your cerebrum and inform each leg to step or even individual muscle groups, or when there's a difficulty with spacial orientation, both of which can contribute to discoordination, and both of which can be exacerbated with activity... I have both of these, too, but I didn't think they fit under "muscle weakness" as they appear to originate in the brain).

    I feel my feet are very heavy, but I don't necessarily stomp, and I get a funny gait, jerky. Sometimes exaggerated, sometimes I just shuffle.

    Yes, I get fluey problems with any combination of increase in: sore throat, muscle aches, sicky feeling, inflamed sensation, chills, a damp cough.

    I also get this thing where my left leg prefers to drag and the foot turns out. I can make it walk semi-properly, if I concentrate on it (and I will do that if anyone is around, even my family, as I guess it's distressing to them), but for me it's just less work to let it drag, and if I'm alone, I do. I have no idea what pathology would produce this.
  11. hixxy

    hixxy Senior Member

    I'm just running through old polls I never answered. I get both, so can't really answer accurately.
  12. Liz-Melbourne


    This describes what happens to me so well! I've often tried to explain it to people, and I have no idea how to put it. You explained it so well.
    WillowJ likes this.
  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

    Sth Australia
    I cant fill in the poll as I get both too.. like the above post except the muscle pain can come in immediately when being used (rather then delayed.. but sometimes I get two lots.. an immediate pain which may be there for a while... then pain again the next day (post exertionally).

    but it can happen too where Im not just weak but the areas which were used will be tremoring and spasming too.. and completely unable to coordinate anymore. (eg say Ive been using my hand... the spasms will leave me unable to write at all so not necessarily weakness or pain may stop me (thou do at times)..but often rather inability due to spasms and lack of loosing control over that body area I was using.

    There was nothing in that poll to cater for those who get more of these neuro symptoms .. I would of choosen that over the other two things mentioned.. but truthfull it is all three but the neuro issues cause probably what is worst issue for me.
  14. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

    I get both - any chance of modifying the poll for this?

    For me, muscle weakness means things like not being able to stand upright due to legs going to jelly, or trying to pick up the kettle and being unable to lift it.
  15. mellster

    mellster Marco

    San Francisco
    Since FM/CFS onset I feel very much rigid and stiff and blocky, no exercise and too much exercise exascerbate it, best is continuous gentle exercise and stretching. I think some is muscoskeletal and some is just from the constant gut inflammation.But that rigid and blocky feeling is very typical for FM - and while I experience some muscle pain/soreness I have never experienced any weakness.
  16. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

    Both at the same time or different times. A lot of weakness. Usually I won't push myself because of the weakness. If I push, I get the fatigue as you defined it.

    I wouldn't call some of it fatigue. It is soreness and effects from going out of my energy envelope. Healthy people would have painful sore muscles too if they went outside their envelope. Our envelopes happen to be small.
  17. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

    Both at different times. I also get muscle not responding properly, I go to grab something and drop. This happens a lot.
    1) Drop things = I am overdoing.
    2) Burning, fatigue = Heading to a crash.
    3) Not responding, paralyzed = In a crash.

  18. August59

    August59 Daughters High School Graduation

    Upstate SC, USA
    I get both, but where the weakness shows up on me most of the time is such as climbing stairs it feels as if all the muscles that tie into my joints, particularly the knee are not going to finish the movement of taking that step up the stairs. Another way of looking at it is the lower third of my quadriceps and the upper third of the frontal muscles of the calf (which are little) pull and burn very badly. Another situation is to get into a car that sits real low. When I get about half way down these same muscles will virtually give out and I pretty much just fall into the car. This not all ligament related as I have been in that situation before. It is muscle and ligament combined and I would say it is "fatigue" and "weakness" related. I know this is not a definitive answer, but it is a condition that really bothers me and involves both definitions. I also have a lot of muscle cramping during strong contraction. If I open a pickle jar and it takes a significant effort I will have to physically unwrap my fingers from around the lid with my other hand. A twisting motion with effort will cramp my entire side opposite from the side I'm twisting toward. I have same problem with hamstrings as they will just about take no resistance whatsoever and I have stretched them very consistently, but they will not improve.
  19. hurtingallthetimet

    hurtingallthetimet Senior Member

    i get both also...and alot of soreness ...it hurts to reach, bend..etc...etc... like most and then after it feels like the muscles are brusied...

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page