als and muscles

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New member
Sep 5, 2006
can you build muscle if you have als?
I do not think so. What if you take muscle building supplements (creatine, glutamine, amino acids, etc) How about HGH, Andro, or Anabolic steroids?
from my understanding, any use of muscles depeletes their capacity, and so building muscle by weight lifting or otherwise exercising would not work. i don't know that the supplements and roids would work if they weren't in used in combination with exercise, but i may stand corrected.
Hello new members

From eveything I've read and from my own exp. light exercise is the best route to go, don't overtax what you have left. I find if I exercise at least some everyday I feel much better.Walking is good also if your still able to. It helps mentally also to do some exercise [at least for me]. I don't think you can build muscle with als. Barry
It is my understanding that once you get ALS your muscle will not develop because the message is not getting to them to tell them to rebuild. I have noticed that my right hand is weaker than my left now so I would think that I have used and abused it more and it's now worse than the other.
Is that why Brentt's DR told him not to exercise? Because you don't want to tax what muscles you have left? Before we thought I might have this disease, they found a pinched nerve in my neck and I was sent to PT. But after 5 weeks of PT, I was getting weak and the therapist told me he didn't want to continue and he asked me to get a second opinion. After that experience, I began to suspect that strong exercise is not always good.

Everyone says to stretch, as it helps stiff muscles. I haven't experienced any stiffness yet except if I am on the computer too long my hand cramps up and I have to open my fingers with the other hand. So let me ask everybody: when does the stiffness set in? Is it after you loose most of the muscles in a limb? After the fasciculations go away? (Do they go away?)
Hi Cindy
I used to train with weights .I trained for strength to play semi pro football. I used natural supplements to build muscle .Protein, creatine and amino acids .You can only gain 5 pounds of muscle a year naturally .After the diagnosed I tried to gain back strength even though I was told not to .It didn't take long for me to find out how wrong I was . I realized that I was losing strength rapidly in the left arm instead of gaining it back .The rest of my body gained strength but my arm just wouldn't get stronger .That was over a 3 month period .In the gym 6 days a week . My routines were always rigerouse and stopping the training was very difficult for me .The only thing I can do is stretch to keep my muscles from cramping .It also helps to keep ligaments loose so they don't get seized up in the joints .Now I can't use my arms or my legs . The flaciculations continue but ALS affects everybody differently .I think when you stop using your appendages they begin to get tight and that's when it becomes good to stretch . It won't hurt to begin stretching now .I could talk for hours about the muscle thing and what works to comfort me . I will help any way I can .Brentt.
For those muscles affected by ALS - I don't think there is any point trying to do strength training.

However, for other muscles unaffected by ALS - you can still build muscle. My legs are so far unaffected. I still commute to work a few days a week - it's 47km (30 miles) round trip. I recently switched to a recumbent bike which uses a different muscle group than a regular bike. Initially I was a lot slower but now my commute time is down 20-30 minutes and my average speed is up 5-10kms/hr. So I've definately build muscle in my legs.
thank you all. in oct of 05 i when to the mayo clinic in az. and was told that i have als.they said i needed to go back home and find a doc that i had 3to 5 years. thank you very much. in feb 0f 06 i fell and broke my hip(not because of als). i lost a lot of muscle. went yo a pt for 6 weeks. what muscle i lost i got back. i ask them at the clinic if i could of had a stroke? and they said no did they run any test no. they had to put a name on it so they gave has been a year and not one thing has change. if an thing i am better.any way thank you . all of you have been a grate help. god bless. barbtavern
Don't buy the 3 to 5 years thing .It's not the same with everyone. You can survive if you can get the right types of support .Lungs and food supplementation are the 2 big things that can both be helpful to outliving this blasted disease. My lungs started to get weak and I could not sleep lying on my side or my back. I was put on a bipap at night to help me breath.It was like a breath of fresh air.I have been using it for 10 months now and my lungs have not decreased in capacity since then.If you gather more information you'll see that there are things that help prolong life and make it comfortable at that . Try the loaner closets in your local ALS support communities for your needs .I got lucky and found a chair in one day .I have heard of plenty of others getting things that they needed. Also check out medicare if you don't have it and need insurance and money ALS is immediate coverage .So if you need to get medical things like a feeding tube or a bipap they cover it .Having insurance is so crucial. MDA will also help .
Did you experience excessive sorness after workouts as you were losing strength?
After the diagnosed I tried to gain back strength even though I was told not to .It didn't take long for me to find out how wrong I was . I realized that I was losing strength rapidly in the left arm instead of gaining it back

My neuro (and PT) told me that we build muscle by stressing the muscle, temporarily weakening it. In normal circumstances, the muscle rebounds stronger than before. But with ALS, when you stress and weaken a muscle, it remains in the weakened state. There is no rebound. So, instead of building muscle you are tearing it down, and hastening the body's deterioration.

Any muscles that are unaffected by ALS can still be strengthened by exercise, but you have to be careful, because sometimes the ALS process is going on in areas you are unaware of.
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