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Inflammatory Myopathy

What is Inflammatory Myopathy?

Inflammatory myopathies are a group of rare chronic conditions that cause muscle pain, weakness, and inflammation. Most inflammatory myopathies are considered autoimmune conditions, meaning the body is responding as if there is an infection, but ends up attacking its own healthy tissues. They are typically chronic conditions that must be managed over the patient’s life.

What Causes Inflammatory Myopathy?

The cause is unknown, but doctors suspect it is an autoimmune disorders triggered by an infection, virus, toxin, or another environmental element.

What are the Symptoms of Inflammatory Myopathy?

People with inflammatory myopathy may get weak and tired from daily tasks, including walking, climbing stairs, and getting dressed. Muscles may swell, hurt, or feel tender, especially around the hips, thighs, and shoulders. A patient might lose weight or have night sweats. Certain types of myositis include skin rashes.

How is Inflammatory Myopathy Diagnosed?

Multiple tests are typically needed to confirm a myopathy diagnosis, including a complete physical exam, blood tests, an electromyography, and a muscle biopsy. Blood tests may be used to check for creatine kinase levels, as well as antibodies that attack the cell’s nucleus. An electromyography, or EMG, inserts a tiny needle electrode into the muscle to record electrical messages from nerve endings. Myopathy may cause an unusual activity pattern. A muscle biopsy, done by examining a small sample of muscle under a microscope, can also detect inflammation. An MRI scan may detect damaged areas of muscle.

How is Inflammatory Myopathy Treated?

The first treatment option is a high dose of an oral steroid, such as prednisone, which typically reduces inflammation quickly. Your doctor will discuss potential side effects with you, as well as medicine you should take with the steroids to offset potential bone loss. Other options may include IV gamma globulin and exercises prescribed in physical therapy.

What you can expect at UTHealth Neurosciences

UTHealth Neurosciences brings together a multidisciplinary team of board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, researchers, and pain management specialists to help provide relief for even the most complex problems. Your team will share insights, leading to better treatment decisions and outcomes. You will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

We first investigate nonsurgical treatment options, including medical management, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and watchful waiting. When surgery is needed, our neurosurgeons routinely employ innovative minimally invasive techniques. Throughout the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

Contact Us

At UTHealth Houston Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8000, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.