I Need Some Research Help – Possible New Muscular Symptom

Today was my Reformer for Recovery Pilates class. We started by doing a few gentle squats. When I say a few, I mean three or four. Gentle means a very shallow squat, just as far as is comfortable, and no added weight at all. I did one just fine. Then every single other one had my quadriceps (thigh muscles) burning. We weren’t holding them, we were just dipping down and straightening up. The muscles were only burning when I was in the squat position. I was barely squatting. As soon as I’d stand up, the burning would stop. The burn is EXTREMELY intense, and makes me want to collapse; pushing through the pain is almost impossible.

light squat

This photo shows me squatting (I took it just for this post) about the same I did in class. I may be a little lower than I was in class, actually. And yes, getting this photo burned really badly again, but I am currently on 1/2 a Tramadol and a full metaxalone so it wasn’t as intense. As you can see, these aren’t shouldn’t be very taxing squats.

I know muscles burn when they’ve been overused. We had JUST STARTED! The only thing we’d done before that was a few heel raises to get our feet articulating. I hadn’t done anything before class that would exhaust my quads. I get a similar burn feeling, but no where near as intense, when I stretch my quads (by standing and grabbing one foot behind me to stretch through the quad). I always thought burning when I stretched was just releasing any build up from any exercise (but I thought it was a little odd since I don’t exercise my legs much).

I can’t seem to find anything about this. When I Google various term combinations, I keep getting information about doing squat exercises and the normal burning fatigue from intense exercise. I’ve had the normal burning feeling, and while this is similar it is far more intense and comes on VERY quickly. It also only sticks around while I’m in the position that triggered it. It’ll go away instantly after I stop, unless I’ve pushed through it for too long (but then it’ll go away after a few minutes). I don’t know if this is something I should worry about, or which doctors should know. Does anyone have any ideas?

Attempted search terms:

  • excessive lactic acid build up
  • diseases that cause muscle burning
  • overuse sensation in muscles early onset
  • burning quadriceps after one unweighted squat
  • D.O.M.S
  • burning quadriceps during squat only
  • burning quadriceps during use only

Articles found from terms and looked at:


8 thoughts on “I Need Some Research Help – Possible New Muscular Symptom

  1. Yikes, not a fun thing to find out when you’re in the middle of a class. This has happened to me before, but it’s not positional. It happens with minimal exertion, such as walking short distances, and doesn’t stop at rest once it starts. Blood tests always reveal elevated creatine kinase when it happens, which indicates abnormal muscle degeneration/destruction. In my case, it was linked to polyneuropathy. It can be caused by anemia, B12 deficiency, or a condition called myositis, which is basically just muscle inflammation and can be caused by a number of neuromuscular disorders (autoimmunity by extension), or even hypothyroidism. I don’t want to scare you by listing off a bunch of possible diseases, but I recommend followup with a doctor on this soon because I think the combination of symptoms (especially the non-triggered crying spells) might make getting an MRI to rule out MS a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Do you have those blood tests drawn after you get that feeling going? (Like, a stress test type thing.)
      I’d rather be overly anxious and find out it’s something normal than be blown away by abnormal test results, so thank you!
      I’ve been worrying about MS for a little while now. It’s horrifying, but I definitely agree I should probably get it ruled out.
      Thanks for your suggestions. Do you know what kind of doctor might be able to help?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, I have the tests done when I’m symptomatic. Have you had inflammation markers like c-reactive protein or ESR checked? Those are also more accurate when symptoms are present, so if they’ve been normal in the past, it’s possible they’re elevated now. Nutritional studies will be similar whether or not you’re symptomatic, so if you haven’t had iron/ferritin, folate, and b12 checked recently that might be a good idea. If your ferritin is low, even if iron is normal, you can still experience symptoms of iron deficiency. Keep in mind that the ranges are so broad, you can still be functionally deficient even if you’re on the lower end of normal. I think a referral to a neurologist would be your best place to start. They may be able to help you out with your arm pain, too. 🙂


        • Thank you! I haven’t had any bloodwork done in over a year (well, not comprehensive anyway), so I’ll ask for some and make sure these are included! I’ve never had blood tests done after any sort of exercise or anything like that… If they just send me to a blood draw place I’ll do a few squats while I’m waiting to get flared up.
          The neurologist is definitely my next step! With all these crazy symptoms I definitely think I need a new perspective on things.


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