Polymyositis

What Is Polymyositis

Polymyositis is an uncommon inflammatory disease that causes muscles to become, inflamed, irritated, or weak on either side of the body.  This disease commonly affects adults in their 30s, 40s, or 50s, and statistics show that is more common in African-Americans than Caucasians, and women develop it more frequently than men.  Polymyositis can make it difficult to execute simple physical movements, and it may take various treatment options to improve strength and muscle function. 

Signs Of Polymyositis

Muscle weakness is the most common symptom of Polymyositis and it typically affects the muscles that are closest to the trunk of the body, including the shoulders, hips, thighs, upper arms, and neck.  The weakness can worsen if the condition is ignored.  Other possible symptoms can include: 

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tenderness or pain (in muscles)
  • Inflammation of the heart muscles or lung tissues
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Difficulty catching your breath
  • Joint pain
What Causes Polymyositis

The exact cause of Polymyositis is not currently known, but data suggests that it typically happens in people aged 31-60.  For some reason, the body's immune system turns against its own muscles and tissues in some autoimmune process.  The inflammatory cells of the immune system begin attacking muscle fibers, which leads to weakened muscles.  Possible risk factors can include:

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

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • If you have Polymyositis, it is wise to make the most of physical and occupational therapy, especially since these are recommended by physicians.  Each physical therapist will develop personalized therapy that caters to your specific situation.  Before engaging with the physical therapist, however, make sure that he or she is familiar with the conditions, especially since it is rare.  If there are specific moves that cause pain, speak up so that the therapist can help you approach the motion differently or develop new motions that also improve the condition. 
  • While it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is necessary for people with Polymyositis.  The body needs to engage in physical activity because resting too much or being on bed rest can worsen the condition.  Even though it may induce fatigue or weakness, exercises that are done correctly can improve muscle strength, endurance, and reduce inflammation.  Talk to a physical therapist or trainer about resistance training and isotonic muscle training, which consists of repetitive movements that are done at 70% of your maximum repetition limit.  Check with your primary care specialist before engaging in any physical activity.
  • Maintaining a healthy sleep cycle can have a significant impact on physical health.  People with Polymyositis should focus on improving sleep because lack of sleep can induce muscle weakness or pain.  One way to improve sleep is by avoiding media stimulation before bed.  This means that you should avoid screens, including TV, laptop, phone, and games, about two hours before you go to sleep.
  • In addition to getting a lot of sleep, it is also beneficial to reduce stress levels.  Some great options for managing stress include yoga, massage therapy, meditation, breathing exercises, hypnotherapy, Tai chi, and qi gong. 
  • It can be beneficial to follow a Polymyositis-friendly diet.  Many nutritionists and physicians that specialize in orthopedic conditions have suggested the importance of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, legumes, and whole grains.  These foods contain diverse antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain associated with the condition.  If you experience difficulty swallowing, which is a symptom of the condition, you can make smoothies and juices as meal replacements.
  • Heat therapy has a wide range of benefits, and it focuses on heating the muscles in specific ways.  Physical therapists will often suggest heat therapy after engaging in physical therapy sessions because the heat helps to reduce pain, relax muscles, and it can help improve blood flow.  Heat therapy can include taking warm baths, sitting in whirlpools, using dry heating pads, or temperature-controlled paraffin baths, all of which have benefited other immune-mediated inflammatory conditions.
Things you should eat
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil
  • Quinoa
  • Wild Rice
  • Citrus Fruits (grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Wheat germ
  • Flaxseed
  • Kidney beans
  • Walnuts
  • Lentils
  • Pecans
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries)


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