Functional Limb Weakness
Including Arm and Leg Pain
When you first go to your doctor with the alarming symptoms of arm or leg weakness, you may wonder if it is caused by a stroke or multiple sclerosis.
However, there is another cause for these symptoms, known as ‘functional limb weakness’.
In functional limb weakness the symptoms are due to a problem in the way the nervous system is working but not due to permanent damage to the nervous system. This means that there is the potential to get better.
Functional limb weakness is not a well known condition, even among health professionals. The aim of this factsheet is to help you understand functional limb weakness and how to cope with it better.
All of this information may not apply to you and you should discuss your own situation with your doctor.
There are other ways functional symptoms can affect people such as movement disorder and numbness. This website covers this in the following link http://fndourstory.weebly.com/fnd-symptoms.html.
What is Functional Limb Weakness?
Functional limb weakness is weakness of an arm or leg due to the nervous system not working or functioning properly. It is not caused by damage or disease of the nervous system.
If you have functional limb weakness you may experience symptoms such as:
- problems walking
- ‘heaviness’ down one side
- dropping things
- feeling that a limb just doesn’t feel normal or ‘part of you’
The symptoms can all be disabling and frightening.
A pattern of weakness called ‘global weakness’ in a limb. This means that all the muscles in a limb are affected equally, whereas in a stroke some muscles are weaker than others. This type of weakness can lead to a ‘dragging’ type of walk which is typical of functional limb weakness.
A difference between the amount of power on the bed and when walking. Some people with functional limb weakness have relatively normal leg strength on the bed but weak legs when walking. The reverse can also be true. This is not because they are not trying; the variability of strength is a key feature of the diagnosis.
Collapsing weakness – this is a tendency for an arm or leg to ‘collapse’ when being tested. This may be interpreted by a doctor as ‘not trying’. In fact, people with functional limb weakness typically find that the limb gets weaker the more they try.
'courtesy of www.neurosymptoms.org'