Weakness of the arms or legs is an indicator of a problem with the nervous system. The problem could be a case of functional weakness, or it could indicate an underlying issue, such as nerve damage or illness. Weakness may appear suddenly or develop gradually depending on its cause. An assessment of limb weakness is necessary to evaluate symptoms and make an accurate diagnosis.

Did you know?

There are certain signs and symptoms that, when accompanying limb weakness, require immediate emergency attention. If you are experiencing any type of muscle weakness accompanied by breathing difficulty or a sudden inability to perform basic tasks, such as chewing, talking, or walking – visit your nearest emergency room. You should also get emergency services if you are suddenly unable to raise your head from a lying down position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get an evaluation if I am experiencing the symptoms of limb weakness?

If you suffer from weakness that affects one or more of your arms or legs, see a doctor or therapist for an evaluation as soon as possible. Although limb weakness is not always a serious condition, the only way of knowing for sure is by undergoing an evaluation.

What should I expect during a limb weakness evaluation?

During a limb weakness evaluation, you will be asked about the type of weakness you are experiencing. For example, are you feeling sensations of heaviness and fatigue in your muscles? Or perhaps you are having difficulty performing certain motor functions or placing weight on an affected limb. Your doctor will also want to know when the onset of your weakness was and if it has worsened over time. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a family history of limb weakness or if you have other symptoms associated with it. Based on your answers, your doctor may recommend various tests, such as a physical exam that evaluates the function of affected limbs when put into certain actions. Laboratory tests may be used to check for conditions like anemia. Your doctor may also suggest electrodiagnostic testing to analyze the function of your nerves and muscles in motion and at rest.

What types of treatments are available to me after being evaluated?

There are many types of treatments available to patients with limb weakness though they vary based on diagnosis. For example, if you are suffering from functional limb weakness, the condition may go away or improve on its own without intervention. Other causes, such as fibromyalgia and neuromuscular diseases, require more extensive treatments.
Muscle and joint pain are very common among American adults, with approximately 100 million people suffering from chronic pain of some kind in the U.S. Musculoskeletal pain can occur as the result of many causes, the most common of which are injuries, birth deformities, and underlying illnesses like arthritis. Pain occurs when some component of the musculoskeletal system, such as the joints or muscles, becomes inflamed or damaged. But before doctors can treat symptoms, they must first identify the source of pain. Many patients undergo a musculoskeletal pain assessment exam to determine which course of treatment best fits their needs.

Did you know…

that musculoskeletal pain can affect any area of the body? There are muscles, joints, and connective tissues throughout the neck, torso, and extremities. Any injury or degenerative disease can cause chronic discomfort. Some of the most common types of musculoskeletal pain include that of the neck, lower back, upper back, shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, wrists and arms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a musculoskeletal pain assessment or treatment?

You should see your doctor or therapist for a musculoskeletal pain assessment if you suffer from any type of chronic and undiagnosed pain. An exam can accurately detect the presence of scar tissues, joint degeneration, fractures, torn ligaments, and other complications responsible for pain. Based on the results of your assessment, your doctor or therapist can develop a treatment plan designed to alleviate symptoms and facilitate healing when possible.

What should I expect during musculoskeletal pain assessment and treatment?

Musculoskeletal pain assessments usually being with a brief medical history and interview about chronic symptoms. Your doctor or therapist will proceed with a physical examination and additional tests based on the location, intensity and frequency of your pain. For example, if a fracture is suspected, an x-ray may be necessary. If the pain seems to stem from musculoskeletal tissues, MRI imaging may be required to make an accurate diagnosis. Treatment is always customized according to each patient’s needs. Often, musculoskeletal treatments involve a combination of therapies, like physical therapy, joint injections, and pain medications.

Is there anything I can do to help facilitate treatment?

Yes. Be honest with your doctor or therapist about your medical history and any injuries you may have sustained. Do not wait for the pain to worsen before getting help, as early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a better outcome. Finally, follow your doctor or therapists instructions for care, which vary from patient to patient. This may include getting more rest, avoiding strenuous activities, or even engaging in moderate stretching and exercise.
Prolotherapy – formerly known as sclerotherapy – is a treatment used to facilitate the healing and regeneration of tissue in various parts of the body, such as damaged joints. Injections of mild irritants – usually sugar and water – are administered into the joint. As irritation occurs, the body recognizes it as an injury. Over time, new tissue growth occurs within the joint as a part of the body’s natural healing reaction. Doctors and therapists often recommend prolotherapy to people with injuries or chronically painful conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia. Prolotherapy is also useful for the treatment of TMJ disorders, herniated discs, whiplash and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Did you know…

that the concepts of healing behind prolotherapy date back to the Roman time period? Injured gladiators were treated with hot needles inserted into affected joints. Today’s modern version of prolotherapy began in the 1950’s when a general surgeon began using sugar-water injections to treat damaged joints and hernias. Today, sugar solutions are still the most common type of prolotherapy injection, though modern injections also contain lidocaine to improve patient comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I a candidate for prolotherapy?

You may be a candidate for prolotherapy if you have chronic muscle or joint pain. New studies on its efficacy are still being carried out, but many patients report significant improvements in symptoms after just a few injections. Talk with your doctor about prolotherapy and whether it’s right for you. Prolotherapy is not recommended if you are taking anti-coagulants, have a local abscess, or are suffering from an acute infection like cellulitis.

What should I expect during prolotherapy?

Prolotherapy injections are administered while patients are awake and sometimes sedated. The injections contain a mild irritant that is injected directly into the joint. Your doctor may use the x-ray technology to guide the injection into the targeted area – especially when injections are being administered to areas of the spine. Most injections take only minutes to complete, with patients going home the same day.

How often will I need prolotherapy injections?

Though every patient is different, most undergo prolotherapy injections every few weeks for a period of several months. Some patients experience a reduction in pain by as much as 50 percent after just 3 injections. If you are experiencing rapid results, your doctor may recommend fewer injections. If your progress is slower, prolotherapy may be combined with other treatments, such as physical therapy.
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