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Muscle function loss

Superficial anterior muscles
Deep anterior muscles

Definition

Muscle function loss is when a muscle does not work or move normally. The medical term for complete loss of muscle function is paralysis.

Alternative Names

Paralysis; Paresis; Loss of movement; Motor dysfunction

Considerations

Loss of muscle function may be caused by:

The loss of muscle function after these types of events can be severe. In some cases, muscle strength may not completely return, even with treatment.

Paralysis can be temporary or permanent. It can affect a small area (localized or focal) or be widespread (generalized). It may affect one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral).

If the paralysis affects the lower half of the body and both legs it is called paraplegia. If it affects both arms and legs, it is called quadriplegia. If the paralysis affects the muscles that cause breathing, it is quickly life-threatening.

Causes

Diseases of the muscles that cause muscle-function loss include:

Diseases of the nervous system that cause muscle function loss include:

Home Care

Sudden loss of muscle function is a medical emergency. Get medical help right away.

After you have received medical treatment, your health care provider may recommend some of the following measures:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Muscle paralysis always requires immediate medical attention. If you notice gradual weakening or problems with a muscle, get medical attention as soon as possible.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The doctor will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms, including:

Location:

Symptoms:

Time pattern:

Aggravating and relieving factors:

Tests that may be performed include:

Intravenous feeding or feeding tubes may be required in severe cases. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy may be recommended.

References

Evoli A, Vincent A. Disorders of neuromuscular transmission. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 394.

Selcen D. Muscle diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 393.

Warner WC, Sawyer JR. Neuromuscular disorders. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 35.


Review Date: 2/4/2020
Reviewed By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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