What is Myopathy?
Myopathy is a medical condition affecting the various muscles of the body. In this condition, the muscle fibers do not function properly which may lead to weakness, stiffness, and/or easy fatigability. Some persons suffering from this medical disorder have extreme muscle weakness that they are unable to do basic day-to-day activities. Some individuals also feel normal most of the time but when doing extra effort they may easily get fatigued.
There are many different types and classes of muscle disorders or myopathies. Some are neuromuscular in nature, which involves brain function, while others are musculoskeletal in nature, meaning the disorder is caused by problems in the bones and muscles. Simple conditions such as muscle cramping, spasms, and stiffness may also be called myopathies.
Muscular dystrophies are congenital types of myopathies. This progressive condition is characterized by an abnormal cycle of muscle degeneration and regeneration. Most people with muscular dystrophies experience progression of muscle weakness with eventual death that is usually secondary to weakness in the respiratory muscles. Other congenital types of myopathy include myotonia, inflammatory myopathies, metabolic myopathies, nemaline myopathy, centronuclear myopathy, and lipid storage disorder among others. Non-congenital or acquired myopathy types include dermatomyositis, which also features skin rashes along with the muscle weakness. Other acquired types include polymyositis, myositis ossificans, and rhabdomyolysis among others.
Treatment for myopathy depends on the type and severity of the muscular disorder. Some patients are just given certain drugs to control symptoms such as cramping. Others require intensive physical therapy to help alleviate muscle stiffness and improve muscle strength. For moderate to severe cases, orthotic devices like braces may be necessary for stability and improved mobility. Other people also experience benefits from non-traditional forms of medicine such as therapeutic massages, acupressure techniques and acupuncture. If all other treatment options fail, surgery may be required for some patients.