Skip to main content

Managing myositis

Get personal support for chronic muscle inflammation.

What is myositis?

Myositis means muscle inflammation. When myositis is chronic, it’s called idiopathic inflammatory myopathy. Idiopathic means the cause of the disease isn’t known. Myopathy refers to diseases that affect muscle tissue. Examples of myositis include:

  • Dermatomyositis
  • Polymyositis
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis
  • Juvenile polymyositis

Myositis is a rare disease. Each year, only one in 100,000 people is affected. The disease typically starts when people are in their 50s, but children can also be affected. Polymyositis can affect people in their 20s and 30s.

Myositis is most common in women and African-Americans. The disease’s cause is unknown, but may be related to infection or an autoimmune disorder. There are many symptoms of myositis including muscle weakness, falls, tripping, trouble climbing stairs and fatigue after simple activities.

Treatment for myositis

Treatment for myositis usually starts with prednisone. Prednisone can reduce inflammation. It lowers muscle enzyme levels within a few weeks. With treatment, muscle strength can be restored within a few months. Medicines that can be used instead of prednisone include:

  • Methotrexate
  • Azathioprine
  • Hydroxychloroquine

Treatments that don’t involve medicine include:

  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Heat
  • Rest
  • Using a cane, walker or other assistive device
  • Avoiding exposure to the sun (for dermatomyositis only)

Support from a HealthPartners nurse

If you or a loved one are living with a condition, we can help you learn how to:

  • Manage your symptoms
  • Prevent complications
  • Stay out of the hospital

Eligible members can receive free telephone help from nurses at HealthPartners. These calls are voluntary and confidential.

Or call us at 952-883-5469 or 800-871-9243. We’re here Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Helpful resources

HealthPartners provides these links as a convenience and for informational purposes. We are not responsible for the content on these sites. Listing them here doesn’t constitute an endorsement. If you have medical or health concerns, talk to your health care professional for advice.

Back to top