Myositis (Muscle Inflammation)...Check the Meds!

Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

I am a rheumatologist—an internal medicine specialist who is trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat diseases that involve the muscles and joints. Because rheumatologists have a keen interest in undiagnosed conditions, I see a number of patients every week who are seeking a first diagnosis.

It is commonplace for doctors to refer patients to a rheumatologist for the evaluation of painful muscles. There are many diseases that are associated with inflammation of muscles. Furthermore, many conditions may appear to involve muscles but may actually be a result of disease of the tendons, joints, or bones.

By way of illustration, I want to call viewers' attention to a patient that I just saw in the office this week. I feel that this patient is very representative of a muscle condition that is under appreciated nowadays. I also know that patients and doctors should have a heightened awareness of this condition since it is easily managed when discovered early. When discovered late, it can lead to serious injury—not only to the muscles but also potentially to the kidneys and heart.

Mr. Jones is a 75-year-old man who was referred by a cardiologist because of pains and stiffness in the muscles of his arms, shoulders, thighs, and buttocks. He has been taking Lipitor (atorvastatin) for six months to control elevated cholesterol levels in his blood. Mr. Jones reported muscle aching for the past eight weeks. He was also weak in the locations of pain. Blood testing for the muscle enzyme, CPK, was mildly elevated.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014

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