What is Myopathy?

Myopathy is a disease of the muscle that results in weakness, stiffness or lack of coordination. Myopathies are commonly classified according to their specific signs and symptoms which include myotonia, muscle pain, cramps, weakness and fatigue, movement disorders (such as dystonia), exercise intolerance or even paralysis.

The disease can be caused by a variety of different factors and conditions including genetic mutations, metabolic disorders, infections or exposure to toxins. Myopathies can be extremely disabling and painful and often require specialized care and assistance for those suffering from them.


Myopathy is a broad term that covers a large range of diseases, disorders and syndromes.

Symptoms may include:

  • Muscle pain and cramps
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Lack of coordination and dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions)
  • Slow limb movement
  • Weakness, trembling and cramping and fatigue with exercise or activity
  • Stiffness and/or lack of coordination
  • Aching or burning pain that occurs in the muscles
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Involuntary movements


The diagnosis of myopathy is often made through a combination of medical history, physical exam and lab testing. No single diagnostic test or tool can confirm Myopathy.

The following tests and exams may help identify Myopathy:

  • Blood Tests: These may be ordered to detect an enzyme called creatine kinase.
  • Electromyography (EMG). Electromyography measures electrical activity within muscles.
  • Genetic testing. This may be recommended to verify a particular mutation in a given gene.
  • Muscle biopsy


Treatment for myopathy will depend on the specific type of condition or disease. Acute conditions such as muscle twitching or cramping may be treated by stabilizing the patients electrolyte balance, increasing hydration, and/or reducing inflammation immobilization. Anti-inflammatory medicines may also be prescribed.

Myopathy treatment depends on the specific illness or condition that’s causing it.

Treatments may include a combination of:

  • Medication
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy