Are you having a hard time getting out of bed? Does your body feel heavy? Or is it just your head? If you’re suffering from these, then you’re not alone. Feeling heavy can be due to simple fatigue. But, again, if your body feels heavy and tingly, it may be an indicator of a severe illness. So, which is it for you? Read on to find out.
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What is this Heavy Feeling in Your Body?
We’ve all been there before when we can’t seem to get out of bed and be productive. Our body sometimes feels heavy, and getting up seems to be the hardest thing to do. This heavy feeling in the body is termed ‘asthenia.’ One of the first things we hear from asthenia patients is ‘my body feels heavy when I lay down.
Asthenia means weakness, loss of energy, or strength. When you don’t have enough energy, then your body can feel heavy. Asthenia can affect mental or physical health or both. There are several causes, though sometimes, it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.
Types of Asthenia
The weakness or sudden feeling of heaviness in body is of two types.
It can be generalized. Asthenia can be generalized; that is, it’ll affect the entire body. So, your whole body feels heavy and sluggish.
Asthenia can also be specific; that is, it’ll affect particular parts of the body. In this case, only distinct parts, like hands, legs, chest, or head, may feel heavy and weak. If someone says my chest feels heavy after waking up, it can be a type of asthenia.
Now, let’s look into generalized and specific asthenia.
What Causes Your Entire Body to Feel Heavy and Weak?
There can be several reasons why you feel weak in general. It can be anything from simple fatigue to potentially life-threatening conditions. So, if you’re suffering from weakness for a long time, it’s best to get yourself checked out. Below are some of the reasons why you might be feeling heavy:
1. Lack of Sleep
This is the most common cause of weakness and asthenia. But, on the other hand, you may always be active. And in this ever-expanding world of social media, cutting on sleep might seem like a good idea.
But let me tell you, it’s certainly not. Sleep is the only time your brain truly gets to rest up. It helps reorganize your nerve cells and detoxify the brain. So, if you’re not sleeping well for the recommended time, it can manifest as heaviness in your body. And you will continue complaining, ‘my body feels heavy and sluggish when I wake up.
2. Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety and stress are quite common causes of fatigue. These occur due to changes in various chemicals in the brain. Your brain needs the appropriate balance of numerous chemicals to function normally.
In case of stress and anxiety, the balance is lost. Your brain produces excessive levels of stress hormones which can make you feel drained. If this is the case with you, sleep won’t solve the problem; you will continue feeling the left side of body feels weak and heavy.
So, it’s best to get yourself checked out. The earlier you receive care, the better it is for you. If you are already on treatment, you should visit your doctor.
This condition can make you feel tired, and your body feels heavy and dizzy all the time. Anemia more commonly affects women of reproductive age more. But men and postmenopausal women can suffer from it as well.
Anemia is a disorder that occurs due to abnormalities in red blood cells. Every single cell of your body more or less needs oxygen to survive. The red blood cells perform that job. They carry oxygen from the lung to every single cell.
In anemia, this function is hampered. Anemia can occur in different ways. However, the most common type of anemia is due to iron deficiency. Red blood cells need hemoglobin to carry oxygen. And iron is one of the essential components of hemoglobin.
Thus, the cells of your body don’t receive enough oxygen. That can make you feel completely drained. And you will feel either right or left side of body feels heavy. Moreover, feeling heavy on chest is also a sign of anemia.
Thyroid disorders, particularly hypothyroidism, can make your body feel heavy. The thyroid is the butterfly-shaped gland located in your throat. It produced the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. These hormones boost energy usage in the cells of your body.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your body produces less thyroid hormone for any reason. Less of these hormones means your body can’t utilize energy effectively. So, it makes you feel tired and exhausted all day. Sometimes you will feel that your tired body feels heavy after waking up, or your abdomen feels heavy. Don’t wait to consult with a doctor immediately.
If you have diabetes, then the weakness you feel might be caused by it. Diabetes occurs when your body can’t produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that makes glucose enter your body’s cells.
Without insulin, your cells don’t get enough glucose. Besides, insulin also helps cells break down fat and protein.
So, your cells can’t get enough nutrients without insulin. This is what happens in diabetes. If your diabetes isn’t under control, then the heavy feeling can be due to this. You will frequently feel dizzy, and body feels heavy. Additionally, the feeling of heavy weight on the chest will be more prominent than before.
Depression can perpetuate fatigue as well. There is an imbalance of some chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help the cells to communicate with each other.
In depression, these chemicals are produced too little or too much. This imbalance is what may cause depression. These changes in the brain can also make you feel tired.
7. Inflammatory Diseases
Diseases that cause chronic inflammation can leave you feeling drained. Inflammation is a protective mechanism of the body. The swelling, fever, pain, redness that you feel after an injury is inflammation. However, if the inflammation goes on for long, it’s harmful to the body.
The most common infection causes inflammation. These include viral infection, bacterial infection, parasitic infection, etc.
An allergic reaction causes excess inflammation as well. For example, one of the most common allergy-mediated diseases is allergic rhinitis. Thus, this may be the culprit causing you to feel heavy.
There are several chronic inflammatory conditions as well. These diseases occur gradually. So, you may suffer from them without even knowing. Again, such diseases have a gradual evolution of signs and symptoms. Examples include celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, gluten intolerance, other food intolerance, etc.
If these unknowingly infect you, your body feels heavy and tingly as well. However, you’ll most likely have other symptoms in addition to fatigue.
8. Viral Fever
Glandular is a viral disease. It causes various signs and symptoms, including fever, sore throat, etc. Since it is a viral fever, it clears up within a few weeks. However, the heavy feeling can persist.
COVID-19 infection causes severe fatigue as well. Many people have minimal signs or symptoms when infected by COVID-19. But long-lasting extreme fatigue is quite common after remission.
So, if you’ve recently suffered from a COVID-19 infection, the heavy feeling might be due to that. Even you may get a sense that your body feels heavy after covid shot.
9. Muscle Disorders
Diseases affecting the muscles, in general, can cause heavy feelings. These include Myasthenia gravis, myopathy, myositis, muscular dystrophy, etc. In addition, the muscles gradually get weaker. So, the entire body might feel heavy in the initial stages.
10. Other Chronic Diseases
Several other more severe diseases can cause fatigue as well. For example, cancer can be responsible. Cancer cells require more energy. So, it’ll cause fatigue.
Heart conditions like heart failure can cause a heavy feeling as well. This is because the heart can’t pump an adequate amount of blood to the rest of the body. So, the muscle cells, nerve cells don’t receive the necessary nutrients. This can be the cause why your body feels heavy and tired.
Diseases affecting the lung can also cause asthenia. For example, lung fibrosis, pneumoconiosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, etc., can damage the lungs. So, enough oxygen may not get into the blood and hence the brain. So, it will result in a heavy feeling body and tired mind.
The heaviness that you feel might not be in your entire body. It can be localized to parts of your body as well. So, let’s take a look at why these happen.
Feeling Heaviness in the Head
Sometimes, only your head feels heavy. So, it might be challenging to hold up your head in those times. The common reasons are:
Many of us have bad posture without even knowing. This can contribute to problems in the spine. That may lead to feeling heavy in the head.
Moreover, the bad posture can also initiate heavy feelings in the right side of abdomen. This feeling heavy in the lower abdomen during early pregnancy means you need to talk to your gynecologist asap.
Sinusitis is the inflammation of the air spaces in the skull. These usually contain air. However, in sinusitis, these may be filled up with fluid. This will give you a sense of ‘my head feels heavy and my body feels weak.’ Interestingly, you will also start complaining, ‘ body feels heavy when I wake up.
I have talked with many patients who asked me why does my body feel heavy in the morning. I always recommend them to check the sinus first.
This is a condition causing a severe headache. Throbbing headaches, neck stiffness, vertigo, etc., are common symptoms. In addition, a heavy feeling in the head often accompanies this disorder.
The vestibular system is responsible for maintaining balance and posture. It is located in the inner ear inside your skull. Any abnormalities can cause vertigo and a sense of heaviness in the head.
Other than these, heaviness can be caused by allergic rhinitis, brain tumor, encephalitis, concussion, etc.
Heavy Feeling in The Limbs
You may feel heaviness in your limbs without affecting the rest of the body. You’ll feel as if you’re dragging around weights. The legs are more commonly affected than the arm. Some causes are:
This condition affects the legs. The veins in the legs get swollen. So, it’s difficult for blood to flow in the legs. This can cause a sense of heaviness.
Too much exercising can tear too many muscle fibers. So, you’ll effectively lose working muscle temporarily. This will cause a sense of weakness or heaviness in the arms or legs.
Peripheral Arterial Disease
The arteries in your legs or arms can be blocked up due to various reasons. This is a peripheral arterial disease. Thus, blood can’t flow properly and take nutrients to the muscles. So, it’ll cause heaviness.
These disorders may affect the limbs and cause heavy feelings. In addition, in these disorders, the muscles gradually get weak. So, in the initial stages, it may cause heaviness in the limbs.
Some woman complains that their lower body feels heavy during the period. Additionally, women senses their body feels heavy before period. Drinking fluids and taking rest can be the best remedy for that uneasiness.
Other reasons for the lower abdomen feeling heavy include restless leg syndrome, neuropathy, muscle disorders, nervousness, obesity, edema, cardiac failure, etc.
Prevention and Remedies
If your body feels heavy and weak, the first thing to do is to see a doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. They can get you tested and rule out any severe disease.
You can try out some of the following remedies to feel better:
1. Proper Sleep and Rest
Experts suggest eight to nine hours of sleep every day. However, if your schedule is very tight, you might bring it down to seven, but no less than that. That heavy feeling in your body might go away just like that.
2. Managing Stress and Anxiety
You have to manage your stress or anxiety. Seeking professional help will go a long way in helping with these conditions. Along with the heavy feeling, you’ll notice your lifestyle improving if you control these.
3. Exercise and Staying Active
Staying active and regularly exercising can do a lot for your body. For example, proper exercise will improve your cardiovascular health. It’s also an effective way of preventing other long-term conditions like obesity, heart, lung disease, metabolic disorders, etc.
Early morning exercise will keep the feeling of the chest feels heavy in the morning in the bay.
4. Eating Healthy
Cleaning up your diet will help a lot as well. You should avoid unhealthy foods like refined carbs, excessive cholesterol, fats, and oils.
Instead, try eating healthy foods containing vitamins, fibers, essential fatty acids, good cholesterol, and nutrients. These can nourish your body correctly. Your organs will also be functioning to their maximum capacity. So, the heaviness will improve.
5. Managing Diabetes or Other Conditions
Heaviness in your body can be the indicator of several conditions, including diabetes. However, proper management, like controlling your blood glucose levels, can make the heaviness go away.
Other therapies are also effective to some degree. These include meditative practice, ayurvedic practice, acupuncture, yoga, detoxification therapy, etc.
If your body feels heavy and numb, it is pretty common. However, there is a slight chance of severe underlying disease. So, it’s best to see your doctor. With proper help and lifestyle changes, the heaviness in your body will go away in no time!
I have rounded up a few queries that people ask when their body feels heavy and exhausted. Don’t surprise if some of these queries is also buzzing your mind too.
Why Do I Feel Heaviness in My Body?
You can feel heaviness in your body if you are fatigued or have anxiety, stress, lack of sleep, anemia, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, etc. All of these can make your body feels so heavy and tired in the morning that sometimes waking up can become a big issue.
Why Does My Body Feel Heavy and Weak?
Your body can feel weak and heavy if you have a condition called asthenia. It can be caused by anemia, lack of sleep, thyroid disorder, inflammatory condition, stress, anxiety, etc. It can also make you feeling heavy in chest while breathing.
How Do I Get Rid of the Heaviness in My Body?
You can get rid of heaviness in your body by sleep, healthy diet, exercise, stress management, meditation, and above all, professional help. All of these will relieve you from the sudden feeling of heaviness in body in no time.
What Causes Limbs to Feel Heavy?
Peripheral arterial disease, muscular dystrophy, obesity, varicose vein, over-exercising, lack of rest, etc., cause your limbs to feel heavy. Along with a heavy feeling all over body, your legs and hands will become weak to support you on anything.