Skip to main content

How to Treat Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy is a condition when muscle tissue shrinks. Generally, this condition can occur because the muscle has not been moved for too long, for example due to a nerve disorder that causes paralysis. The occurrence of muscle atrophy can cause changes in body shape, for example one area of the body becomes more concave due to shrinking muscles or an area of the body that looks asymmetrical, such as one leg or arm looks smaller than the other leg or arm. Then how to treat muscle atrophy? To treat muscle atrophy, it is necessary to know in advance the type of muscle atrophy and the causes of muscle atrophy.

How to Treat Muscle Atrophy

Type of Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy based on the cause can be grouped into 3 types, namely:

1. Physiological muscle atrophy

Generally, this type of physiological muscle atrophy is experienced by people with low levels of physical activity. For example, people who sit or lie too long and rarely exercise. Because of the lack of physical activity, the muscles of the body are rarely used. This is what can make muscle tissue shrink and experience muscle atrophy.

People undergoing long-term hospitalization, for example due to paralysis or coma, can also experience physiological muscle atrophy.

2. Neurogenic muscle atrophy

Neurogenic muscle atrophy can be caused due to injury or interference with the nerves that move the muscles. When there is damage to the nerves of the muscles, the muscles cannot move because they do not get stimulation from the nerves. This is what makes muscle tissue shrink, causing muscle atrophy.

The occurrence of neurogenic muscle atrophy can be triggered by several types of diseases, including the following:

  • Spinal cord injury.
  • Strokes.
  • Motor neuron disease.
  • Neuropathy.
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Polio.
  • Cerebral palsy.

3. Pathological muscle atrophy

Pathological muscle atrophy can be caused by certain medical conditions or certain diseases that make the body unable to form muscle tissue. The causes of pathological muscle atrophy include the following:


Malnutrition can make the body become deficient in calories and protein, so that the body cannot produce muscle tissue. This is what makes muscle mass decrease drastically, triggering muscle atrophy.

Muscle contractures

Muscle contractures can occur when muscle tissue is replaced by stiff scar tissue. This can make the muscles difficult to move or even immovable, so that eventually muscle atrophy can occur. Usually muscle contractures can result from extensive burns, injury, or long-term paralysis.

Autoimmune disorder

Muscle damage due to autoimmune diseases can cause the size of muscle tissue to shrink. As for the types of autoimmune diseases that can cause muscle atrophy, some of them are rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune myositis.


In patients with advanced stage cancer can also suffer from muscle atrophy. Conditions like this are called cachexia. Besides due to the impact of cancer, cancer treatment such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy can also cause side effects in the form of reduction in muscle tissue or muscle atrophy.

Cushing's syndrome

In Cushing's syndrome, the level of glucocorticoid hormones in the body increases. As a result of the increase in these hormones, fat tissue accumulates, while muscle tissue shrinks so that over time muscle atrophy can occur. Cushing's syndrome often occurs in people who take corticosteroid medicine in the long term.

Symptoms of Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy in each person can cause different symptoms, depending on the cause and severity of the muscle atrophy suffered. However, usually people who experience muscle atrophy will feel some of the following symptoms:

  • One or several parts of the body become weakened.
  • One of the limbs is like a hand or foot, appearing smaller than the other.
  • It's hard to do activities, such as sitting, walking, grasping something, or swallowing.

How to Treat Muscle Atrophy

If you experience muscle atrophy, especially if you are already experiencing some of the symptoms above, you should immediately come to the doctor for a check-up so you can get the right treatment. There are several treatments that doctors can do to treat muscle atrophy, including:

1. Physical Activity

How to treat muscle atrophy naturally is recommended for people with muscle atrophy who can still move. For example by doing more physical activity or doing regular exercise. The goal is that muscle tissue that has decreased in mass and becomes weakened due to lack of movement can recover. By exercising regularly, muscle tissue will be able to re-form so that muscle atrophy can be overcome.

2. Special diet

The body needs protein and calories to increase muscle mass. Therefore, people with muscle atrophy are advised to go on a special diet high in protein so that the body's muscle tissue increases. This special diet is also recommended for people with muscle atrophy due to malnutrition.

3. Physiotherapy

How to cure muscle atrophy can be by undergoing physical rehabilitation or physiotherapy. The goal is to restore lost muscle mass due to muscle atrophy. Physiotherapy is usually performed to treat severe muscle atrophy or those caused by certain diseases, such as paralysis, stroke, cancer, and neurological disorders.

4. Medicines and surgery

Treatment of muscle atrophy can also be done by administering medicines, for example medicines to treat autoimmune disorders, cancer, or nerve disorders that cause muscles to shrink. In certain cases to treat muscle atrophy, doctors may also be able to perform surgery, especially if it is caused by muscle contractures.

That's how to treat muscle atrophy, if you suffer from muscle atrophy, then immediately check with your doctor so you can find out the cause and get the right treatment.

Comment Policy: Please write your comments according to the topic of this page post. Comments containing links will not be accessed until they are approved.
Open Comments
Close Comments