Diffuse Muscle Weakness

We're sorry your muscles feel weak.

The word "diffuse" means "widespread" and refers to symptoms that are not localized to just one or a few areas. Instead, it is more or less all over, or at least in many areas. This guide is intended for people who feel weak all over.

This guide will deal with true weakness, meaning reduced power in the muscles. Symptoms of muscle weakness include difficulty rising from a chair, brushing your hair, lifting an object off a high shelf, or dropping things. It might cause drooping of an eyelid or difficulty smiling, depending on which muscles are weak.

People with other symptoms, such as fatigue (tiredness, feeling exhausted), sleepiness, or depression, will often say they feel weak and it can be hard to distinguish some of these from actual muscle weakness. So, if you aren't sure whether this guide is for you, start the guide and see if the symptoms it covers apply to you.

One more point before we move on: some people feel weak due to pain. Weakness and pain can certainly go together, but this guide is not focused on causes of diffuse pain.

Okay, let's get started.

The goal of this guide is to provide information while awaiting evaluation with your doctor, or for additional information after you have seen him or her. Please keep in mind that this guide is not intended to replace a face-to-face evaluation with your doctor.

The diagnoses discussed are among the most common that could explain your symptoms, but the list is not exhaustive and there are many other possibilities. In addition, more than one condition may be present at the same time. For example, a person who feels weak because of poor conditioning could also have a thyroid condition.

First off, it's important to get emergency care if your symptoms sound like a dangerous condition or an immediate threat to your health.

Examples include

- Sudden weakness on one side of your body

- New diffuse weakness with fever or rash

- Sudden inability to move either or both legs

Are you experiencing any of these types of symptoms?

Yes, I have one or more of these symptoms.

No, I don't have these symptoms.

That's good. Okay, now let's find out where you feel weakness.

Is your weakness in the upper arms/shoulders and upper legs/thighs? People with these symptoms usually say it's tough to get out of a chair without using their hands or cannot hold their arms over their heads to brush their hair or reach a high shelf.

Yes, that sounds like me!

No, that's not the problem for me.

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