The most common symptoms of myopathy are weakness and impaired daily functions or activities, as well as muscle pain and tenderness. When a person experiences significant muscle pain and tenderness without weakness, there might be other causes to consider.
There are several general signs and symptoms of myopathy, including
- Symmetric proximal muscle weakness
- Fatigue and malaise
- Motor delay
- Bulbar muscle dystrophy (dysfunction of the swallowing and speech muscles)
- Myoglobinuria (dark-colored urine) and/or fever
- No paresthesia (sensory impairments) although deep tendon reflexes could be diminished or absent in hypokalemic paralysis
- Atrophy and hyporeflexia are late findings (early symptoms usually indicate neuropathic disease)
- Consciousness at normal levels
- Gottron papules (dermatomyositis) are pink-to-violet scaly areas over the knuckles, elbows and knees
The acuity of symptom onset may help diagnose
- Possible toxic etiologies or episodic paralysis (weakness lasting for hours)
- Acute dermatomyositis or rhabdomyolysis (weakness developing over days)
- Polymyositis, steroid myopathy and myopathy due to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism or other hormone imbalances (develops over weeks)
Muscle-related symptoms of myopathy
- Proximal muscle weakness: Trouble rising from chairs, getting out of baths, climbing stairs, shaving or combing.
- Distal muscle weakness: Weak grasp, handwriting difficulties, and walking difficulties (e.g., flapping gait).
What is myopathy?
Any disease that affects muscles required to do voluntary tasks is called myopathy. It can lead to limited movements, exercise tolerance and general health difficulties. Myopathies can be classified into the following types:
- Congenital myopathies: Delayed motor skill development and skeletal and facial abnormalities could be present at birth.
- Muscular dystrophies: A progressive weakness of voluntary muscles that could be present at birth.
- Mitochondrial myopathies: Caused by genetic abnormalities.
- Glycogen storage diseases of muscle: Enzymes and metabolism of glycogen and glucose are affected by genetic mutations.
- Myoglobinuria: Myoglobin is affected by metabolic dysfunction.
- Dermatomyositis: An inflammatory disease of the skin and muscles.
- Myositis ossificans: The presence of bone growth in muscle tissue.
- Familial periodic paralysis: Weakness of the limbs.
- Polymyositis, inclusion body myositis and related myopathies: Skeletal muscle inflammatory diseases.
- Neuromyotonia: A form of muscle stiffness accompanied by twitching and fluttering.
- Stiff-man syndrome: Causes rigidity and irritability.
- Tetany: Prolonged spasms of the limbs.
- Muscle cramps and stiffness
What are the causes of myopathy?
Myopathy can be caused by
- Metabolic disorders
- Endocrine disorders
- Muscle injuries
- Thyroid diseases
- Electrolyte levels
There is no known cause of inflammatory myopathies.
What are the risk factors for myopathy?
Several factors increase the risk of developing myopathy. Myopathy does not affect everyone who has these risk factors. There are a few inherited myopathies, such as muscular dystrophy.
Myopathy is associated with the following risk factors:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Exposure to toxins
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Some medications
- Metabolic disorders
- Endocrine disorders
You should contact your doctor if you have any concerns about your symptoms.
How can myopathy be diagnosed?
Myopathy is diagnosed by identifying its cause. Specialists could be involved.
During your appointment, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, family medical history and personal health history. They may order the following tests:
- After Salmonella Cases Double in a Week, Cantaloupe Recall Expanded
- Soccer 'Heading' Tied to Declines in Brain Function
- Smoking Tobacco Plus Weed Greatly Raises Odds for Emphysema
- COVID Vaccines Curbed Pandemic-Linked Surge in Preemie Births
- Could a 'Brain Coach' Help Folks at Higher Risk for Alzheimer's?
- More Health News »
How is myopathy treated?
Myopathy treatment options vary depending on the condition.
Your doctor may recommend only supportive or symptomatic treatment for some conditions.
The following are other possible treatments:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Advanced skincare
- Orthopedic and assistive devices
- Supportive (airway, breathing and circulation management; hydration and critical care)
Inflammatory myopathies without intervention can result in permanent disability.
Once a diagnosis is established, a treatment plan will be implemented. It may include adjusting dosages of immunosuppressive medications. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as Advil and Motrin may relieve pain. Follow your doctor’s recommendation while using these to avoid side effects and drug interactions.
Physical therapy is commonly prescribed, and rehabilitation helps many manage muscle weakness. Exercises to maintain a range of motion can be beneficial. However, inflamed muscles should not be overexerted. Rehabilitation programs assist people to regain maximum physical and cognitive function.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
What are myopathies? https://www.webmd.com/brain/what-are-myopathies
Top What Are the Symptoms of Myopathy Related Articles
Broken Heart Syndrome Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy QuizWhat is Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy, also called "Broken Heart Syndrome?" What causes it and what happens to a person with this condition? Take this quiz to find out!
Can You Live a Long Life With Autoimmune Disease?You may be concerned that your condition will affect your projected lifespan. Most people can expect to live a long life with an autoimmune disease, though.
Dermatomyositis PictureDermatomyositis. Dermatomyositis is a rare autoimmune disease that is characterized by a distinctive red or purplish rash as well as muscle weakness. It usually shows up where muscles are used to straighten joints like knuckles, elbows, knees, toes or even eyelids. Hard painful lumps can occur, most often in children.
How Can You Tell If You Have Nerve Pain or Muscle Pain?If the pain started after an injury and it's a dull ache, it's likely muscle pain. If your pain seemed to come out of nowhere or it's been ongoing, and it feels like your skin is on fire, you're likely experiencing nerve pain.
Is Dermatographia an Autoimmune Disease?The exact cause of dermatographia is unknown. However, it appears to be an autoimmune disease in nature because autoantibodies to certain skin proteins have been found in some patients. Dermatographia can be linked to the inappropriate release of the chemical histamines.
Is Muscle Twitching Normal After Exercise?Many people find that their muscles twitch after exercise. Learn the signs of muscle twitches, what causes muscle twitches, how doctors diagnose muscle twitches, and what you can do to treat muscle twitches.
Muscle CrampsMuscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have voluntary control, including some organs, are subject to cramp. Since there is such variety in the types of muscle cramps that can occur, many causes and preventative medications are known. Stretching is the most common way to stop or prevent most muscle cramps.
Muscle Cramps (Charley Horse) and Muscle SpasmsWhat are the differences between muscle spasms and cramps? Learn about the causes of muscle spasms and cramps (charley horse) in the calf, leg, and more.
Muscle Pain (Myofascial Pain Syndrome)Muscle pain (myofascial pain syndrome) is muscle pain in the body's soft tissues due to injury or strain. Symptoms include muscle pain with tender points and fatigue. Treatment usually involves physical therapy, massage therapy, or trigger point injection.
Muscle SpasmsMuscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment, prolonged muscle use, and certain diseases of the nervous system may cause muscle spasms. Symptoms and signs of a muscle spasm include an acute onset of pain and a possible bulge seen or felt beneath the skin where the muscle is located. Gently stretching the muscle usually resolves a muscle spasm.
Men's Muscle-BuildingWant bulging biceps and a bigger chest? Our experts demonstrate the right moves to help men build bigger muscles with just two efficient workouts each week.
Pain Management: Why Does My Calf Muscle Hurt?There's a group of muscles on the back of each lower leg that doctors call "calf muscles." They play a key role in helping you walk and run. Learn the things that can make them hurt, from a minor sprain to more serious problems like deep vein thrombosis.
Pain Management: Signs Your Muscle Pain Is Something ElseCould your achy muscles be a sign of more than a tough workout? Learn when a twinge might warrant a visit to the doctor's office.
Polymyositis and DermatomyositisPolymyositis is a disease of the muscle featuring inflammation of the muscle fibers. It results in weakness of the muscles which can be severe and when associated with skin rash, is referred to as dermatomyositis. Although the cause of this disease is unknown, diagnosis includes physical examination of muscle strength, blood tests for muscle enzymes, electrical tests of muscle and nerves, and conformation by a muscle biopsy. Treatment of polymyositis and dermatomyositis includes high doses of cortisone-related medications, immune suppression, and physical therapy.
What Are the Stages of Muscular Dystrophy?Muscular dystrophy causes progressive muscle weakness, and each stage causes different symptoms that will affect your child’s development.
What Autoimmune Diseases Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?Carpal tunnel syndrome can be an isolated episode, or sometimes, it is one of the initial signs of certain autoimmune conditions. Learn some of the autoimmune conditions that can cause CTS.