Polymyositis: Symptom, Treatment


Polymyositis (PM), or called as idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, is an inflammatory muscle disease causing weakness and pain, which usually occurs in the endomysial layer of skeletal muscle. It is a type of dermatomyositis.


The etiology of PM remains unclear so far. It may involve genetic, environmental and immunologic factors.


The early symptoms of PM include slowly progressing muscle weakness that may cause difficulty in walking, standing, and lifting objects.

Other symptoms include:

  • Difficulty of breathing;
  • Difficulty of swallowing (dysphagia);
  • Joint pain and/or swelling;
  • Fever;
  • Weight loss;
  • Fatigue;
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon.


Possible complications of polymyositis include:

  • Difficulty swallowing

It finally may cause weight loss and malnutrition.

  • Aspiration pneumonia

Difficulty in swallowing may also cause you to breathe food or liquids into your lungs (aspiration), which can lead to pneumonia.

  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath or, in severe cases, respiratory failure.

There also are some disorders that are not complications but associated with PM, such as:

  • Raynaud’s phenomenon;
  • Other connective tissue diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and Sjogren’s syndrome;
  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Lung disease;
  • Cancer.


Usually, it is difficult to diagnose PM because it is not so common, and it develops slowly. It often takes a lot of time to make a precise diagnosis.

First and foremost, the doctor will ask some questions about medical history and family history to exclude other conditions.

Helpful diagnosis methods involve:

  • EMG (electromyography): to check and to see if the patterns of electrical impulses in the muscles are normal or not;
  • Muscle biopsy: to show whether the muscle tissue is inflamed;
  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging): to help your doctor find a good spot for biopsy.
  • Certain blood tests: for signs of muscle damage.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for PM; treatments can only manage and relief the symptoms, as well as improve your muscle strength and function.

  • In most cases, medication, such as immunosuppressant drugs, is often used as the most common treatment.
  • An over-the-counter analgesic, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen will be used to control pain.
  • Physical therapy will help to maintain and improve the strength and flexibility of muscle.
  • Speech therapy will help to improve difficulty in swallowing.
  • Dietetic assessment will aid in how to prepare easy-to-eat, nutritious foods.
  • Managing weight helps prevent overtaxing weakened muscles.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) will help to block the damaging antibodies attacking muscles affected by polymyositis;
  • Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are also recommended since they are effective in alleviating symptoms and deep healing.

Keywords: polymyositis; idiopathic inflammatory myopathy; PM.

Related Posts:

What is Polymyositis?

What are the Treatments for Dermatomyositis?

What is the Life Expectancy of Person with Dermatomyositis?

What are the Differences between Dermatomyositis and Lupus?

Can Dermatomyositis Cause Cancer?

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.