Exercise Physiology for Myositis

The Myositis Association of Australia (MAA) defines Myositis as a general term used to describe inflammation of the muscles.

There are several categories of Myositis including Dermatomyositis (DM), polymyositis (PM), inclusion-body myositis (IBM), and juvenile forms of myositis. These are all considered inflammatory myopathies where there is swelling and loss of muscle.

Inclusive Body Myositis is rare and a recent Australian study found prevalence was 14.9 per million in the overall population, with a prevalence of 51.3 per million population in people over 50 years of age.

Dermatomyositis and polymyositis are also very rare and the incidence of these has been estimated at 5.5 cases per million people. Recent studies in South Australia found the average incidence for Dermatomyositis was 1.4 per million and Polymyositis was 6.6 per million

Juvenile forms of myositis (JM) are found in children younger than 18. Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is the most common and affects 3,000 to 5,000 children in the United States. Polymyositis in children is very rare.

Differing forms of Myositis can have different effects however the following are common negative physical effects for patients:

  1. Decrease in muscle mass
  2. Decreases in muscle strength
  3. Reduced balance
  4. Affected gait
  5. Decreased quality of life

Prescribed exercise interventions for patients with myositis can improve the following

  1. Muscle mass,
  2. Strength,
  3. Balance
  4. gait
  5. Flexibility
  6. Quality of life.

Aerobic exercise:

Assists Myositis patients by increasing the function of the cardiovascular system as well as the endurance of the muscles. This can improve the patients capacity for physical activity, work and activities of daily living and will also improve measures of fatigue. Aerobic exercise may include walking, swimming or riding stationary bikes/

Strength training:
Well prescribed exercise interventions will increase muscle mass in patients with Myositis. Strength training programs will also improve the challenges of balance and gait. Strength training programs can be individually tailored to the patients needs and can include activities such as free weights.

Balance Training:

Balance training can maintain and improve balance for patients with Myositis whose balance may be affected by loss of muscle mass or pain.

Where do you start?

The type of exercise program that best suits you will depend on the progression of the disease and your current lifestyle. By talking to an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist you will be provided with a customised exercise plan tailored to suit your needs.

Talk to your GP about a referral to an Exercise Physiologist or Physiotherapist contact Enriched Health Care. Rebates Available through Medicare Plus (with GP referral) and Private Health funds.

Why wait? Download your first Exercise Program here!