Although there is no cure for polymyositis as of 2015, many patients see improved muscle function and strength with treatment, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients tend to have difficulty reaching overhead, climbing stairs and standing up form a seated position.
Polymyositis typically affects middle-aged adults, Mayo Clinic states. This uncommon inflammatory disease that causes muscle weakness on both sides of the body. It affects more women than men and more blacks than whites. Symptoms tend to get gradually worse over weeks or months.
Patients with polymyositis begin to experience muscle weakness near and in the trunk of the body, according to the Myositis Association. The weakness is common in the neck, shoulders, hips and back. Some report weakness in the hands and fingers as well. Patients sometimes report muscle pain, as well as difficulty breathing and swallowing.
Treatment for polymyositis often includes medication, therapy or a combination of both, Mayo Clinic reports. Medications prescribed often include corticosteroids, such as prednisone. Patients may also take a medication that counters corticosteroids' side effects. Sometimes doctors prescribe a drug used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis called rituximab.
Patients also frequently receive physical therapy to help improve muscle strength, Mayo Clinic states. Patients who have difficulty swallowing because of polymyositis may receive speech therapy and help from a dietitian to learn how to prepare food that is easier to swallow.