What is Myositis?

What are Dermatomyositis and Polymyositis?

Myositis is the collective name for a number of rare disorders. Muscle pain and weakness are the key warning signs and symptoms. This issue typically becomes worse over time.

Additionally, after standing or walking, you may trip frequently, trip repeatedly, and become fatigued. If you see any of these symptoms, you ought to see a doctor right away.

Usually, an immune system problem where the healthy tissues are mistakenly assaulted causes myositis.


There are several different types of myositis, including:

Polymyositis, which affects numerous different muscles, most commonly affects the shoulders, hips, and thigh muscles. Women are more likely to be affected than men, and the normal age range is 30 to 60. Dermatomyositis, which also causes a rash, affects a number of muscles. Children may be affected, and women are more likely to experience it (juvenile dermatomyositis).

Inclusion body myositis causes the muscles in the forearm, the muscles below the knee, and the thigh muscles to weaken (IBM). It could also make swallowing challenging (dysphagia). IBM generally affects those over 50 and is more likely to afflict men.

Types of Myositis

This page discusses the two most common types, polymyositis and dermatomyositis.

Signs and symptoms of polymyositis: Polymyositis affects several muscles, including those in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and thighs.


Signs and symptoms of polymyositis include:

  1. Muscle trembling
  2. Having trouble getting back up after falling, swallowing difficulties, or trouble holding your head up, as well as feeling unpleasant or melancholy.
  3. You could find it difficult to lift objects, get out of a chair, go up and down stairs, or comb your hair. As a result of the muscle weakness, even lifting up a cup of tea may be difficult.


Despite the possibility that the muscle weakness will change from week to week or month to month, if therapy is not sought, it typically gets worse gradually.

Symptoms of Dermatomyositis

They include a distinct rash in addition to those that are similar to those of polymyositis. Before the commencement of the muscle complaints, a red, purple, or dark rash typically appears.

It typically affects the cheekbones, nose, eyelids, and hands of the face (knuckles). Additionally, it can occasionally be seen on the knees, upper chest, back, and elbows.

Along with the rash, you might also experience firm tissue lumps under your skin, which can be itchy or unpleasant.


Finding myositis: A doctor will examine you and talk to you about your symptoms. If your doctor has a suspicion that you may have myositis, you’ll need to have a few tests done to help rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. They include:

  1. Taking a small sample of muscle or skin (biopsy) to be examined for swelling, damage, and other changes can be used to test for myositis.
  2. Blood examinations to check for increased enzyme and antibody levels.
  3. Electromyography (EMG) for MRI pictures is a method in which a small needle-shaped electrode is placed through your skin and into your muscle to capture the electrical signals from the nerve terminals in your muscles.


How should myositis be treated?

Treatment and exercise for the body.

Exercise is a highly effective treatment for all myositis types. Additionally, it might provide you more energy, a reduction in swelling, and the ability to build or recover muscle strength.

Exercise and physiotherapy are extremely important if you have inclusion body myositis (IBM) because they are the only treatments for this condition. IBM cannot be treated with medications.

Consult a GP and a physiotherapist before starting a new exercise programme for myositis. They will work with you to develop a fitness plan that is appropriate for you.

Exercise must be done with the utmost caution if you have severe myositis symptoms, such as intense muscle discomfort and weakness (a “flare up”). Most experts suggest avoiding exercise at this time.

But if your myositis began when you were a child, it’s very important to maintain your muscles and joints moving gently.

You can avoid having tight joints that lock into place by doing this.

Steroids are the most common type of drug used to treat dermatomyositis and polymyositis. They help to rapidly ease muscle pain and reduce edoema.

They can be given as a tablet, an injection, or a drip that is put right into a vein.

Usually, you will receive a high dose at first, then it will be gradually reduced.


High doses of steroids taken over an extended period of time may have harmful side effects like:

  1. A rise in blood pressure and weight
  2. Diabetes and cataracts (cloudy patches in the lens of the eye)
  3. Osteoporosis, or brittle bones (weakened bones)


Anti-rheumatic drugs for illness treatment:

If the swelling in your muscles gets worse, your doctor might advise a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD).

DMARDs, which also help to reduce swelling, such as azathioprine, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, or mycophenolate, depress your immune system.

These drugs take some time to work, but over time they might be able to help you reduce the amount of steroids you use.

This might mitigate the detrimental effects of steroid use.


Immunoglobulin treatment may occasionally be necessary to stop your immune system from attacking your muscles.

Immunoglobulins (healthy antibodies) from donor blood must be injected as a result.

In a hospital, immunoglobulin therapy is often given via drip straight into a vein. It’s possible that you need several treatments.


Biologic therapies:

Rituximab, among other biologic therapies, can help manage the symptoms of myositis. They are typically employed to cure illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic disease.

They primarily work to alleviate edoema and treat severe myositis.



A combination of immunosuppressive and steroid medications, together with carefully supervised activities, are beneficial for the majority of myositis patients.

It is frequently necessary to take immune system suppressants and steroids for several years at very low levels. This could result in an increased risk of infection. Antibiotics can normally be used to manage it if it develops into a problem.


Complications of Myositis

In some circumstances, myositis can have a negative effect on a person’s quality of life and daily activities. These individuals might not respond well to treatment. However, maintaining your exercise regimen typically increases the strength of your muscles.

Severe myositis may make it difficult to breathe and swallow. Speech and language therapy may be advised if you are having difficulty swallowing or it is affecting your ability to communicate.

Cancer and myositis can occasionally coexist, and you may undergo testing to check for cancer.


Aid and assistance:

Myositis UK provides further information and support for people with myositis and their families.


Other disorders represented by the Myositis Association (of America) include polymyositis and dermatomyositis.

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