Leg muscle weakness anxiety and Panic Attacks symptom

Himanshu Dani 9 Replies

Panic attacks and weakness in legs

Many anxiety sufferers complain the leg muscle weakness anxiety symptom. You may have experienced that in anxiety and panic attacks. It’s like you often feel weakness in the legs when you stand still or walk on narrow footpaths, or walk in crowds or crossroads. You feel like energy is being drained from your legs and they are losing power to perform normally. If you want to overcome physical symptoms of anxiety it is very important to understand panic attacks symptoms and their actual interpretation and the true nature of those sensations that are very dreadful for you. 

The sensations you feel are:

  • Weakness and soreness in the calves.
  • You describe this symptom as that their feet muscles feel numb.
  • You say that you feel continuous tingling in the thighs.
  • Panic attack sufferers often complain that the strength of their leg muscles has reduced.
  • It feels like the brain is not controlling the muscles properly.
  • In the end, you also think that you have neurodegenerative diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis ALS, or Parkinson’s Disease (which is of course not true).

Panic attacks and weakness in legs

A sense of tingling in the legs and feet make this feeling even worse. I have known some people who believe their legs are slowly paralyzing. This is of course not true.

The first thing to understand that anxiety actually causes full body weakness because it is a stress response. The occasional giddiness and the muscle weakness anxiety symptom are not related to your nerves. You may feel that your body is losing muscle (motor) control, but that is not the case at all.

When anxiety and panic strike it startles you with high-intensity sensations. My past experience is that whenever I panicked I felt leg muscle weakness with extreme anxiety. It always accompanied panic attacks or general anxiety.

Adrenaline Rush brings shaky legs

The weakness is felt in the entire body but it is somewhat more uncomfortable in the legs because legs and feet are responsible for posture and balance. Many people say it feels like vertigo. But 99% of the times it is not. The reason you feel this weakness is the adrenaline rush that you have during panic attacks. When adrenaline circulates through your muscles electrifies the nerves to produce empowered signals for the muscles to act (Fight or Flight). Muscles are invigorated and electrified to the extent that they get loaded with energy ready to take action. But, the intensity of the fear and the way the sufferer interprets her autonomic arousal technically freezes her. There is lots of energy in the muscles but it only causes muscle tension or shaking. This is the reason your muscles feel fatigued after the panic ends. Therefore even if you are feeling anxious all the time the muscle weakness anxiety symptom or the tiredness you experience is not permanent and it is not at all worrisome. 

Hyperventilation contributes to tremor

Simply stated- hyperventilation is an imbalance between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood and it is caused by fast breathing. In hyperventilation, carbon dioxide levels drop increasing the ratio of oxygen in the blood. We take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide but there is a definite ratio between both that is maintained by the body. When it goes out of balance it creates symptoms like tingling and weakness. The combination of these two makes the sensation really uncomfortable.  It feels like the legs are shaking and they will lose power. 

Most of it is fear – fear of physical sensations

My very own experience says that no doubt it is a physical sensation caused by maybe adrenaline rush and hyperventilation, but it is also because of perceived fear or thoughts about it. When we fear that something is about to happen we experience it! There may not be any specific cause for it. It can be because of the fear or suspicion only. Many of the sensations or symptoms of panic attacks are rooted in the subconscious mind. You are often like- I’m sure that will happen to me!” Therefore you feel the sensations. Fear of fainting and lightheadedness can also contribute to the leg muscle weakness anxiety symptom. The irrational thinking makes things appear real and also we physically feel the sensations even if there is no biological cause behind them. To some extent, same is the thing that affects the symptom of weakness.

Dealing with tiredness and leg muscle weakness anxiety symptom

Here are the ways you can deal with leg muscle weakness you feel:

  • Do some simple exercises when you feel weakness or shaking in the legs. It could be a few sit-ups or walking up the stairs. That will energize your leg muscles and it will help to reduce the sensation of weakness. Don’t overdo it since it can tire your muscles and you will feel more weakness and tiredness.
  • Get leg massage every week. Getting a massage with natural oils like sesame oil can reduce the symptoms of tingling and weakness. The massage releases muscle tension and relaxes them and the oil nourishes muscles so that they perform better.  No matter what oil you use, massage is the main thing that relieves the symptom of muscle fatigue.
  • Break the habit of fast breathing. As discussed earlier you often breathe rapidly during a panic attack.That also causes mini panic attacks. It is a normal response to fear arousal. But this fast and shallow breathing causes hyperventilation and it induces the sensations of tingling, muscle soreness, and fatigue. Breathing from the belly- slowly but deeply during anxiety can help you avoid hyperventilation. 

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  1. mission

    Ⲩou rеally mаke it easy to understand anxiety issues but
    I find this matter to be really somеthing that I think I would never
    սnderstand. It seems too comрlex and very
    Ьroad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the
    hang of it!

  2. Albertina

    I often experience leg muscle weakness because of my anxiety but more precisely I feel weakness in the overall body. The most disturbing thing is the fear that accompanies the weakness. I feel that my legs are losing control and I will fall on the ground because of whole energy drain off my legs. How do I overcome this fear? Thanks.

    1. Himanshu Dani Post author

      Hello Albertina, in my experience practicing cognitive therapy in the self-help from helps reduce the symptoms. Along with that see a good therapist who specializes anxiety treatment. You will benefit from that.

  3. David Morrow

    I often feel leg muscle weakness and that affects me more during the panic attacks. I feel that I will fall down and will not be able to walk again. I feel like fainting. I also get catastrophic thoughts during that time. Everything becomes negative and I cannot focus on anything. Please guide me how can I get over this condition.

    1. Himanshu Dani Post author

      Hello David, I am sorry for what you are going through. I have also passed through the same condition and I want to tell you that there is hope. You need to understand that there is nothing wrong with you. Anxiety is not a disease. It is a disorder. It simply means that something is out of order. And to your surprise, you can bring that into order. Practice CBT self-help and follow the guides that I have written on this blog. TC 😌

  4. Sarah

    This is what exactly I have been feeling during the past 2 years of GAD. But now I have been having panic attacks too. My legs shake and I feel leg muscle weakness during and after panic attacks. But you explained nicely want to hear more from you about this.

  5. Naomi T.

    I am writing to let you know of the notable experience my wife’s child encountered reading your blog. She learned numerous issues, most notably what it’s like to have an amazing helping nature to have a number of people with no trouble learn about anxiety and leg muscle weakness. You actually surpassed my expectations. Thank you for presenting those priceless, trusted, explanatory and in addition unique tips for overcoming muscle weakness.

  6. Aida

    I enjoy reading this site because of each of your article is pretty sensible on this website. My niece delights in carrying out research on anxiety and it’s really important as she feels for me. Most of us neglect this sensation of leg muscle weakness because of anxiety but that is one of the most bothering things in anxiety and panic attacks. Thanks for this guidepost.

  7. John W.

    I wanted to appreciate your effort for writing on leg muscle weakness as an anxiety and panic symptom. This blog has best tips and tricks you are sharing here. It is not common to find such a personalized writing and you clearly know what an anxiety sufferer feels and experiences during the different phases of his anxiety. Thanks for this post and this blog.

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