Myalgia and myositis, two conditions involving the muscles, can be found together in some patients. They are generally viewed as symptoms of an underlying medical problem. Myalgia is muscle pain, while myositis is inflammation of the muscles. It is possible for muscles to be painful without being inflamed, and to be inflamed without pain, but commonly both symptoms are observed together, especially in the case of patients with chronic medical problems.
People can develop muscle pain for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from localized injuries to the muscle to genetic conditions involving the connective tissue. Muscle pain can be challenging to treat in some cases. Treatment options can include rest, heat, or ice, and medications to address the pain. The pain may also be associated with stiffness and weakness in the muscle, depending on the cause. Sometimes, the cause is evident, as in patients who have recently sustained injuries or who stress their muscles with heavy exercise or repetitive physical labor.
Inflammation of the muscles can also be associated with a range of conditions, including viral infections, metabolic disorders, and adverse reactions to vaccines. Myalgia and myositis are often linked, as the inflammation can cause a muscle to be swollen and painful. In some cases, the muscle is weak without necessarily being painful and myositis will occur without myalgia.
When a patient presents with both of these conditions, the doctor will interview the patient and conduct a thorough physical examination to learn more about the situation. Medical testing may be recommended to collect information about the patient's general level of physical fitness and the condition of the muscles. These symptoms can be elusive and sometimes frustrating. A patient with intermittent myalgia and myositis may be especially challenging to treat, as it can be difficult to connect the symptoms with specific underlying causes.
Treatments for myalgia and myositis vary, depending on the cause. Sometimes rest will allow the muscles to recover from an injury and resolve the problem. Other patients may require medication or treatments like electrical nerve stimulation to interrupt the pain signals being sent by the muscles. Alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture can also be beneficial in some patients. It is possible for the pain and inflammation associated with these muscle conditions to progress to a point where the patient is unable to work, care for family members, and perform other tasks, either temporarily or for life.