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Myalgia and Myositis

Myalgia and Myositis

Myalgia refers to muscle pain, whereas myositis refers to inflammation of muscles. This write-up provides information on these medical conditions.
Smita Pandit
Muscle pain and muscle inflammation are medically referred to as myalgia and myositis respectively. One could be affected by pain and inflammation of muscles simultaneously, however, these conditions could occur independently as well.
Contributing Factors
More often than not, trauma or repeated stress to the muscles is the major cause of muscle pain and inflammation. Though injuries are often responsible for localized pain and inflammation, systemic muscle pain is often caused by infections, diseases, or the use of certain drugs. The causes of myalgia and myositis might include:
  • Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or lupus
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Malaria
  • Influenza
  • Rocky mountain spotted fever
  • Muscle abscess
  • Trichinosis
  • Lyme disease
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Prolonged use of drugs such as ACE inhibitors or statins
  • Substance abuse or withdrawal
The symptoms will depend on the location of the muscle or group of muscles affected. Inflamed muscles are characterized by pain, muscle spasms, muscle fatigue, and stiffness. Individuals affected by fibromyalgia generally experience tingling sensation, pain, chronic fatigue, and disturbed sleep, whereas polymyalgia rheumatica gives rise to pain and stiffness in multiple joints and muscles. The symptoms of myositis will vary, depending on the location of inflammation. While dermatomyositis might cause skin rashes, symptoms such as muscle weakness, inflammation, and difficulty in swallowing might be experienced by people affected by polymyositis.
Treatment
Since systemic disorders, autoimmune diseases, and viral infections could be responsible for causing these conditions, the first step is to identify the underlying cause. Repeated stress to the muscles could be a contributing factor, which is why, the affected individuals must take ample rest. However, one must stay active and perform light exercises. Physiotherapy might also prove beneficial.
The treatment usually involves the use of painkillers, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants (if the underlying cause is an autoimmune disease), muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Doctors might also chalk out a symptomatic treatment plan, depending on the muscle or group of muscles affected by these conditions. The application of heating pads, massage therapy, or acupuncture might also prove beneficial. Making some changes to your diet will also help. If the underlying cause is the use of a particular drug, the symptoms would resolve after the discontinuation of that drug.
Since muscle pain and inflammation could be caused by a wide range of reasons, medical assistance must be sought by those who have been experiencing these symptoms.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.