Myositis refers to a group of rare diseases that cause muscle inflammation, resulting in muscle fatigue and weakness. At Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Neuroscience Institute, our physicians are expertly trained to diagnose and treat the many forms of myositis, including dermatomyositis and polymyositis. We offer a range of effective therapies, from medication to rehabilitative care, to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Myositis symptoms

Your symptoms will depend on the type of myositis you have. All forms of the condition cause chronic muscle inflammation. Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty getting up from a seated position
  • Problems climbing stairs
  • Discolored (red or purple) rash on the eyelids, elbows, knees, and knuckles
  • Feet and leg swelling
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Trouble lifting arms

Diagnosing myositis

At AHN, one of our neuromuscular experts performs a thorough neurological examination. Your physician will also talk to you about your symptoms as well as your medical and family history.

You have access to the most effective diagnostic tests available. Your physician may order one or more of these tests before providing a precise diagnosis:

  • 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.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This imaging scan produces detailed images of internal organs and structures. Physicians may use this test to look for other causes of your symptoms.
  • Blood tests: Blood tests check for abnormal thyroid hormone levels, liver damage, or other problems.
  • Muscle biopsy: We remove a tiny piece of muscle for further analysis in a laboratory.
  • Lumbar puncture: This test, also called a spinal tap, evaluates the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding your brain and spinal cord. We insert a needle into your lumbar area (small of your back) to remove a fluid sample.

Get expert myositis treatment at AHN

Our neuroscience specialists work with you to tailor treatment to your symptoms and situation. This collaborative approach provides you with a high level of personalized care.

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 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.

Contact us

To schedule an appointment or learn more about AHN neuroscience services, call (412) 359-8850.

If you're an existing patient, you can also call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 in Pittsburgh or request an appointment with AHN neuroscience services.