I notice I'm having trouble standing up straight without using my hands to push against my thighs to get up. This doesn't seem normal. Is it?
Muscle weakness can cause this to happen. The person uses his or her hands to "climb up the legs" when going from a sitting-to-standing position.
Doctors suspect muscular dystrophy when this happens in young children. In such cases this activity is called Gower's sign.
It's seen most often when the child is getting up off the floor.
When Gower's sign occurs in adults doctors look for other telltale signs. Are you having any trouble walking on a straight line? Any recent skin rashes?
The most common condition that can cause Gower's sign in adults is simply deconditioning. Guillain Barré syndrome or dermatomyositis are more serious possibilities. If you think this is happening because you've become too inactive, try an exercise program of walking or biking and see if it makes a difference.
If there are other symptoms you haven't mentioned, see a physician for an examination to rule out other problems. Take steps to find out now what the problem is and restore full strength. This will help avoid future problems or complications.
Gary L. K. Shum, BSc, et al. Effect of Low Back Pain on the Kinematics and Joint Coordination of the Lumbar Spine and Hip During Sit-to-Stand and Stand-to-Sit. In Spine. September 1, 2005. Vol. 30. No. 17. Pp. 1998-2004.