My Arms Feel Heavy and Weak, What Could Be the Cause?

Heaviness in the arms can be an unnerving and scary feeling.

You might not realize that there is something wrong at first. Perhaps you simply felt tired or fatigued. Yet the feeling doesn’t seem to be going away.

Luckily, there are treatments for this problem.

You might not have cause to worry at all, or you might want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Find out the true meaning to your symptoms…


Causes and Treatments

1. General Fatigue

One of the most common causes of a heavy sensation in the arms is general fatigue.(1) This type of fatigue is very common in modern day times.

As a society, we generally sleep too little, eat too much and exercise only intermittently.

How do you know if you have general fatigue?

Most people with fatigue issues don’t sleep at least eight hours a day and don’t take enough down-time. This type of fatigue lasts for a few days to a few weeks.

The cure:

Luckily, general fatigue symptoms should go away on their own. Try to get a good night’s sleep for at least one week. Up your intake of electrolytes, exercise for 20 minutes a day and cut back on alcohol.


2. Workout Fatigue

Sometimes it’s easy to overdo your workouts. Many people get workout fatigue if they’ve changed their workout routines or have forgotten to properly stretch before and after their training session.(2)

How do you know if you have workout fatigue?

If you’ve increased your daily or weekly workouts recently or changed up your regimen, your heavy arms might be the result.

The cure:

Make sure you give yourself one day of rest between workouts. Drink plenty of fluids, and make sure you stretch before and after your workout. Your fatigue should go away on its own.


3. Infections

Some infections can cause arm heaviness and weakness.(3) Respiratory infections and urinary tract infections often cause other issues throughout the body. If your body is trying to kill an infection, it might not be able to send the proper nutrients to other parts of your body.

How do you know if you have an infection?

The only way to know for sure if you have an infection is to visit your doctor.

The cure:

Your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics to kill off any infections. Most symptoms disappear within a week of starting antibiotics.


4. Low Mineral Levels

Low levels of vital minerals could also be the cause of your heavy arms.(4,5) Your body needs both potassium and sodium to function properly.

How do you know if your electrolytes are low?

You may feel dizzy or fatigued. Many people experience low mineral levels after a difficult workout or after staying in the sun too long. You might experience these symptoms if you drank too much the night before. You often lose potassium and sodium when your body becomes dehydrated.

The cure:

Drink plenty of fluids!

Your body will need to replenish minerals faster than you can absorb them through water, so try drinking Pedialyte or a sports drink.(check price on Amazon) If your symptoms haven’t disappeared in a day, call your doctor.


5. Hypothyroidism

If your thyroid cannot function at a normal level, you could have hypothyroidism. Some people with this condition also experience sudden weakness in arms.

How do you know if you have hypothyroidism?

You may have this condition if you’ve recently found that you’ve gained large amounts of weight.

Many people also experience constipation and dry skin with this condition.

The cure:

Your doctor will do a blood test to see if you have hypothyroidism. He or she will then prescribe hormones to help regulate your thyroid.


6. Hyperthyroidism

If you find that you have a difficult time keeping weight on your frame, you might have hyperthyroidism. This condition is similar to hypothyroidism. Yet, instead of experiencing a sluggish metabolism, your metabolism might move hyper fast.

This can also cause heaviness in the arms.

How do you know if you have hyperthyroidism?

Most people with this condition have similar symptoms to those who have hypothyroidism. The biggest difference is that you generally have problems keeping weight on, or you lose weight at a rapid and unhealthy rate.

The cure:

Similar to hypothyroidism, your doctor will do a blood test before prescribing hormones to help your thyroid work at a healthy rate.


7. Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the causes of heavy feeling in arms. People with MS often lose the ability to move or operate certain body parts. MS is a degenerative disease.

This means that you might have some initial numbness with the onset of MS; the longer it progresses, the worse the symptoms get.

How do you know if you have MS?

No one knows what causes MS. Some people think that genetics or environment may play a huge factor in this disease. Feelings of numbness, weakness, problems seeing, vertigo or discomfort in your bladder can all be symptoms.

The cure:

MS is an incurable disease right now; however, it can be managed.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. Your doctor may put you on medications and change your diet to manage your symptoms.


8. Guillain-Barre Syndrome

The chances of having Guillain-Barre are very rare. This disease is similar to MS in that it causes paralysis in the arms and legs.

How do you know if you have Guillain-Barre?

The best way to find out if you have this disease is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Many people with this condition experience the numbness in their legs first. The numbness travels upward and can affect speech patterns and movement in the face.

The cure:

Like MS, there is no cure for Guillain-Barre. Yet this condition is completely treatable. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medications that can help you manage this condition.

Patients with Guillain-Barre lead very normal lives and rarely experience uncomfortable side effects.


9. Peripheral Neuropathy

Peripheral Neuropathy is a disease of the peripheral nervous system. People with this disease often have a difficult time feeling pain. While this might seem like a blessing, your nervous system feels pain for a reason.

Many people with this disease have a difficult time reacting to burns or stings. They cannot protect themselves from harmful outside influences.

How do you know if you have Peripheral Neuropathy?

Most people with this disease have experienced some type of trauma. Infections, injuries and illnesses can all cause this type of trauma in the body. Many people experience a feeling of weakness, numbness or heaviness in the arms and legs.

The cure:

This disease can be scary, but it’s completely treatable. Depending on the cause of your Peripheral Neuropathy, your doctor might prescribe different medications.

Anticonvulsants, blood pressure medications and cancer drugs are all used to treat this disease.


10. Heart Attack

According to the Harvard Medical School of Harvard University, 35 percent of women who are experiencing a heart attack might feel a heaviness in their arms.(6)

How do you know if you’re having a heart attack?

The symptoms of a heart attack can be very subtle at first. These can include anxiety, insomnia, heart palpitations, fatigue and heaviness in arms and legs.

Women who experience these symptoms often start to see them up to a month before the heart attack.

The cure:

Talk to your doctor right away if your family has a history of heart disease. Though you might feel embarrassed or as though you’re overreacting, don’t worry: You’re not! It’s better to be safe than sorry.



The heaviness of your arms can be uncomfortable, but you don’t have to live with it forever.

The cure could be a quick fix.

Contact your doctor to see if your symptoms are indications of something more serious.

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