What Is a Muscle Disorder?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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A muscle disorder is any condition that adversely affects the normal functioning of a muscle or group of muscles in the body. The severity and long-term implications of a muscle disorder can range from very minor to very severe, and in some cases, the disorder may be combined with another medical condition that can raise the severity of the overall health issue. Such disorders of the muscles can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor daily health habits, neurological issues resulting from nerve damage, overuse, degenerative diseases, and even aging.

In most cases, the primary symptom of a muscle disorder is pain. Tenderness or soreness may also be symptoms, as well as limited mobility and a feeling of weakness. If numbness occurs, the muscle disorder may be serious and will require immediate medical attention. Some disorders can be treated fairly easily, while others may be degenerative or very damaging to the human body, requiring more intensive treatment on a long-term scale. Only a doctor can properly diagnose a muscle disorder and recommend the best course of treatment, and in many cases, the earlier the disorder is diagnosed, the better the chances are that it can be treated effectively.


One type of muscle disorder is known as dystonia. This is one of the more difficult muscle disorders to treat, since no cure exists and the condition can be quite painful. Dystonia occurs when muscles contract for sustained periods of time, often leading the sufferer to end up in odd positions that can be quite uncomfortable or painful. In some cases, dystonia is associated with other conditions such as hypoglycemia, while in other cases, the cause of the condition is not understood. Dystonia can be hereditary, though many people with no family history of the condition can suffer from it as well.

Atrophy of the muscles can be considered a disorder depending on the cause. This occurs when the muscles begin to waste away, and one of the most common causes of the condition is disuse of the muscle. When muscles are not used regularly, they become smaller and weaker, eventually atrophying. Muscular atrophy can be caused by other conditions, however, such as nerve damage or other conditions that cause the nerve to stop sending normal signals to the muscle tissue. Individuals who become paralyzed will notice muscle atrophy occurring over the course of years, as will bedridden individuals.


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