Myositis is Diagnosed and Treated at Mercy Medical Center

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At The Neurology Center at Mercy, neurologists offer expertise in the treatment of myositis, a condition that causes inflammation or swelling of the muscles.  

About the Condition

Myositis is any condition that causes inflammation or swelling of the muscles. It can be caused by an injury, infection or an autoimmune disorder, in which the body attacks its own tissues. Myositis is classified by conditions. They include:

Inflammatory Conditions – caused by inflammation in the muscles. Many are a result of autoimmune conditions.

Severe cases of myositis include:

  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polymyositis
  • Inclusion body myositis

These conditions cause severe myositis and require long-term treatment with medications such as Prednisone, Azathioprine and Methotrexate.  

Milder cases of inflammatory conditions:

Infection Conditions– viral infections are the greatest source of myositis. Although they hardly ever cause myositis, bacteria, fungi or other organism can cause it as well. Both viruses and bacteria (such as the common cold, the flu virus and HIV) may attack the muscle tissue directly or introduce substances that  harm the muscle fibers.  Myositis caused by a viral infection does not have a particular treatment plan. Bacterial myositis is treated with antibiotics.

Drugs – a variety of medications and drugs can cause temporary muscle damage. It may present immediately or months after taking a drug. Myositis can also occur due to interaction of two different drugs. Severe myositis is rare with drugs. Drugs causing myositis include:

  • Alcohol
  • Alpha-interferon
  • Cocaine
  • Colchicine
  • Plaquenil
  • Statins

Treatment options include discontinuing the medication.

Injury – Strenuous workout can cause muscle pain, swelling and weakness for days or hours after an intense workout. When Inflammation contributes to the symptoms, it causes myositis. Symptoms go away with rest and recovery.

Rhabdomyolysis – occurs when the muscle breaks down rapidly. Symptoms include muscle pain, weakness, swelling and dark brown or red color urine. Treatment options for rhabdomyoysis involve hospitalization with intravenous fluids in large quantities.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

The most common symptom of myositis is weakness. Other symptoms that may occur include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Rash
  • Thickening of the skin on the hands

To diagnose myositis the doctor will review symptoms and may order the following tests:

  • Blood tests
  • EMG
  • MRI
  • Muscle biopsy
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

The treatment options for myositis are typically based on the specific cause.