1. Tessitore

    Tessitore New Member

    Feb 12, 2018
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    Recovering From Muscle Atrophy

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Tessitore, Feb 20, 2018.

    Anyone know how long it'd take for someone to regain the muscle they lost after being stuck in a hospital bed for a prolonged period of time (i.e. long enough to lose pretty much all of it)? My attempts at research so far has yielded answers that are unclear and sometimes contradictory.
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

    Jan 1, 2011
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    Manchester UK
    I went at it from a different angle thinking astronauts and their reintroduction to gravity from a long stay in space might contain some useable data.

    Maybe, but the more I read, the more I realised how difficult it would be to wheedle out anything useful. V. interesting nevertheless
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Why would you be stuck in Hospital that long?
    At bare bones min. I would say probably a year
    at least (depending on how well their body regens.
    damaged tissue). Between physio and rebuilding
    the tissue with mass amounts of proteins to
    help regrow new musculature, it takes time
    as the body has pretty much consumed the tissue
    in a sense.

    So your atrophy would be grueling to repair. Though
    if you took into account that they have artificial muscles,
    you could in theory have those surgically installed to
    supplement the existing ones. Cuts your time down to
    a matter of a guesstimate of 2-3 months with phyiso
    and other therapy.
    (Based on a theory from the movie Anatomie 2) though
    you would have to take longer to recoup from surgery
    that replaced/supplement the existing muscles. :)
  4. -oz

    -oz Active Member

    Jan 20, 2011
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    Quite frankly, it depends on how much the muscles are used, how old the patient is, and if they have a diet and lifestyle that will promote muscle growth. Physical therapy is the best/safest option to grow muscles back safely, but through research and my own experience (cast/unusable muscles for months at a time), it really only takes about 3 weeks to be back to "normal", once they are able to stand (and it will probably take some physical therapy just to stand...bone/vascular will atrophy as well if the hospitalization is long enough).

    I should define "normal". Will the patient be able to run? No. Jog? Probably after a few weeks of walking by themselves. The problem when trying to walk isn't the muscle at this point, it's the neuromuscular coordination: hip flexors, hamstrings, etc. making the muscles/limbs/joints do what they need. You need to get the brain used to moving legs/limbs and balancing again. Walking and basic resistance exercise are going to help with this, but the overall key is SLOW AND STEADY. If the patient goes too fast too quickly, they will hurt themselves and set themselves back. Once your body remembers how to talk with your muscles, you can be off to the races and really start to build up muscle again.

    So how long to regain all the muscle they lost? Depends on how much muscle they had to begin with. To get back to functional, I'd say a month or two. To get back some actual muscle mass? Add another month or two. Four to six months total if they had actual muscle mass before their hospitalization and weren't a toothpick computer nerd like me. Hopefully this helps. Good luck!
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

    Sep 17, 2017
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    Don't forget the other aspects...stamina, for one. When you're stuck in bed that long, walking the smallest distance will leave you winded.
    Cave Troll likes this.
  6. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

    Oct 2, 2015
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    Back in the early 90s my left arm was in a cast from my knuckles to my armpit for six months. To this day there’s a visible diference between the musculature of the left and right arms.(insurance only covered so many OT sessions). I suppose a big part of it would be how much effort was put into it.
    Shenanigator likes this.
  7. Mink

    Mink Contributor Contributor

    Dec 21, 2017
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    It depends on the person and why they were bedridden. It also depends greatly on how much physical therapy the person is willing to undertake. If it's a broken bone then it can be a matter of weeks, but if it's due to paralysis or a debilitating disease that requires life support while also preventing movement then it can be months. For myself, I was nearly four when I was paralyzed from the chin down. I did lose muscle mass because I wasn't able to use anything for weeks and then I was paralyzed for an additional few months after that. Even then I regained muscle mass and the ability to walk within a year. I still have partial paralysis in my legs, but my muscle mass is right where it's supposed to be.

    I went to physical therapy several times a week to include swimming. My parents also implemented physical therapy techniques during the day and made me drag myself across a room to get where I was going. It sounds cruel, but it helped me greatly.

    In short: it varies.

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