Overview of Polymyositis

Polymyositis is a medical condition in which skeletal muscles become irritated and swollen. It can affect the whole body, as a result muscle starts to break down and become fragile that will even make the simple movement difficult. Polymyositis belongs to a group of diseases, ‘inflammatory myopathies.


Polymyositis mostly affects people of age 31-60 years old. Teenagers or younger people have very low prevalence. The incidence rate is very rare i.e. 5 cases per million population.  Its incidence is more in negro females than white females.

Signs and Symptoms of Polymyositis

Polymyositis mostly affects the muscles present in the center of the body. It lowers the normal activity of walking and lifting weights. Symptoms include;

  • Joint stiffness and pain
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscles become weak, particularly in the shoulders, hips, upper arms, and abdomen (belly).
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Irregular heartbeat in inflamed heart muscle
  • Pain in the ankles, lower arm, and wrist

Polymyositis may lead to nutrient deficiency and weight loss due to difficulty in swallowing. It creates difficulty in doing regular activities like walking on stairs, getting out of your chair, or lifting your arms.

What is the difference between Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis?

Polymyositis weakens the muscles mostly around the trunk of a body or complete body whereas, in dermatomyositis skin rashes also appear along with muscle weakness.

Types of Polymyositis

Causes of Polymyositis

The exact cause of polymyositis is not known yet.  Previous findings have suggested that it may be caused by autoimmune reactions, certain viruses, allergies, and medicines, yet the definite cause of the disease remains unknown.


Risk Factors of Polymyositis

The risk factors include other auto-immune disorders i.e.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Lupus
  • Sjogren's syndrome



As the exact cause of polymyositis is unknown, so there is no specific prevention. If certain medicines are creating problems in muscle movement, then avoid their use. Make sure to consult your neurologist before stopping certain medicines.



The doctor will ask you about your medical history and examine your muscles physically. After a physical examination, some tests are recommended.

  • Blood testsTo look for abnormal protein production and signs of inflammation in muscles.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It detects the inflammation inside your body through magnetic waves and the image can be seen on the computer.
  • Electro-myelogram (EMG): It detects the abnormal electrical activities of affected muscles.
  • Muscle biopsy: A small piece of muscle is cut to examine under the microscope.

Treatment of Polymyositis | When to Consult a Doctor

The treatment for polymyositis depends on your medical health, age, and severity of the disease. No specific cure is available for polymyositis. However, its symptoms can be managed. Your physician may change your treatment in accordance with your current condition.

Treatments include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medicines: They include steroids and corticosteroids that will lower your symptoms of pain and swelling. They are usually prescribed for 4-6 weeks in low doses. However, in severe cases, their usage may prolong to manage symptoms of polymyositis.  
  • Immunosuppressive medicines: They lower the immune response that will slow down the auto-immune activity against your body.
  • Physical therapy: A doctor may suggest you consult a physical therapist for special exercises that will strengthen your muscles. Physical exercises keep your muscles stretchable and prevent them from shrinking.
  • Heat therapy and rest: Both will relax your muscle stiffness.
  • Braces or other devices: They will assist you in moving muscles and provide support to the weakened muscles.

Disclaimer! You should talk to your doctor about the uses, risks, and side effects of medicines. Please do not use any medicine on your own.

When to consult a healthcare provider?

If you find difficulty in normal muscle movement and it gets worse with time, then you should consult your healthcare provider.

In Pakistan, Polymyositis treatment is available in many well-known hospitals like Aga Khan University Hospital, Mayo Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, Services Hospital, Shifa International Hospital, and Doctors Hospital and Medical Center.  

You can consult with the Rheumatologist, who specializes in polymyositis diagnosis in our list of top doctors. You can easily connect with them anywhere in Pakistan via Healthwire.pk.