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How to Reverse Atrophy

By Vaughnlea Leonard ; Updated July 27, 2017

Atrophy is a term that generally refers to muscular or tissue degeneration. It can be the result of either chronic or congenital disease or disorder. Injury is also another common reason people suffer from this debilitating ailment, which can occur throughout various areas in the body. To reverse atrophy is difficult, but not impossible in all cases.

Reverse Atrophy

Avoid contracture. Many patients suffer from this permanent deformity, as the body will often find other ways to compensate for muscles that do not work. Normal tissue, which generally bends and moves very easily, gets replaced with non-pliable material essentially locking joints and ligaments into place. If this happens, it will be virtually impossible to reverse atrophy without surgery.

Consult a physician or specialist. There are varying types of atrophy. Only a trained medical professional can discern what treatment avenue is best or even possible. Pre-existing conditions may also adversely affect a patient's ability to reverse atrophy, as well. Someone with cerebral palsy may have difficulty with gross mobility in ways a relatively healthy patient may not, for example.

Get exercise. The main way to reverse atrophy is to make your muscles move. Body-strength has a lot to do with muscle size, and muscle size is important to reverse atrophy. Movement causes tissue cells to build, which causes increased overall body efficiency. Remember, the heart is muscle, so when its efficiency is increased, a person can get more oxygen. Increased oxygen will also cause tissues to build as well.

Use splints or braces. People who suffer from atrophy often endure a great deal of pain. Splints and braces can help diffuse this pain, prevent further injury and support muscles weakened by disease. Leg braces can help patients resume daily activity, which may increase confidence. Patients who feel like they are getting "better," often do rather quickly.

Plan for failure. Understand that atrophy is not something that is going to go away easily. It is a "long-haul" for some people. The mental anguish that patients experience can be as debilitating as the disease itself. If you do not have a family support system, there are various community services and programs that can help.


Talk with a physical therapist.


Organs are controlled by various muscles. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience breathing or heart irregularity.

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