Myopathies are neuromuscular disorders caused by problems in the muscle fibers. Myopathies such as muscular dystrophy can be inherited (passed down through your family’s genes). Other types of myopathy, such as myositis, can show up later in life due to an autoimmune disease, a condition where your immune system attacks healthy tissue.
At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Neuroscience Institute, our team of experts includes physicians with extra training in diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders such as myopathy. Our deep experience with these rare conditions helps us offer a precise diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan, tailored to your circumstances.
Your symptoms will depend on the type of myopathy you experience. Common symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Breathing problems
- Difficulty swallowing or speaking
At AHN, you have access to the latest diagnostic tests and testing facilities. After a thorough neurological examination, your physician may order one or more of these tests to provide a precise diagnosis:
- Electrodiagnostics: We apply small electrical impulses along your arm, leg, or face to measure the muscle reaction.
- Electromyogram (EMG): This test measures the electrical activity of muscles.
- Nerve conduction studies: A nerve conduction velocity test measures the nerves’ ability to send electrical signals. We often perform it along with an EMG to help determine whether symptoms are related to your nerves or muscles.
- Blood tests: Blood tests that show high levels of the enzyme creatine kinase may indicate muscle disease.
- Genetic tests: These tests look for certain genetic mutations that can cause inherited myopathies.
- Muscle biopsy: We remove a tiny piece of muscle for further analysis in a laboratory.
Get expert myopathy treatment at Allegheny Health Network
Our specialists work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses your symptoms. We use a range of medications and rehabilitative therapies, including:
- Medication: Your physician will help determine which medications would most benefit you. Corticosteroids or other immunosuppressants work to reduce the body’s immune response, decreasing inflammation and improving certain symptoms.
- Physical therapy: Certain exercises or activities may strengthen muscles and help you complete daily activities more easily. Our knowledgeable, caring physical therapists customize a physical therapy plan for your needs.
- Occupational therapy: Our specially trained occupational therapists can help you relearn how to complete daily activities that have become difficult, enhancing your independence at home or work.
- Speech therapy: Dedicated speech therapists help you address symptoms that make it difficult to talk or swallow.
- Orthopaedic devices: Devices such as braces support you in everyday movements and help prevent injuries.