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Chronic Muscle Inflammation: Causes and Solutions for Morningside Heights Residents

Do you hurt when you wake up in the morning or have trouble completing your daily activities without pain or discomfort? 

You could have a condition known as chronic muscle inflammation. As a top-rated physical therapy practice in Morningside Heights, Park North Therapy employs skilled and professional physical therapists who can help you address the causes of your condition and equip you with healing solutions.

What Is Chronic Muscle Inflammation?

Also known as myositis, long-term muscle inflammation is a relatively rare condition that results in the following symptoms:

  • Prolonged aching muscles, especially in the shoulders, hips, and thighs
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Developing thick skin on your hands
  • A rash over the affected area
  • Lasting fatigue even after a good night's rest
  • Possible runny nose
  • Potential fever
  • Possible cough and sore throat
  • Potential nausea and diarrhea

Diagnosing Myositis With Physical Therapy

Your physical therapist can work with your other healthcare providers to diagnose myositis in several ways. They can help determine your chronic myositis reasons using the following tests:

  • Blood tests: When a blood test detects high levels of certain enzymes, it can indicate widespread inflammation. It can also detect viral infections that can cause myositis.
  • MRI scan: When myositis causes changes in muscle mass, an MRI scan can often detect the affected areas.
  • EMG: By sending a small electrical current through your muscles, a doctor can measure their response and determine which tissue has damage or weakness.
  • Muscle biopsy: This accurate test for myositis involves a small incision that removes and tests a small muscle sample.

Most Common Causes of Myositis 

The following common persistent muscle inflammation factors cause the vast majority of myositis cases.

Inflammatory Conditions

Several different medical conditions arise from inflammation, which can cause muscle aches in the rest of your body. The most common medical long-term muscle inflammation triggers include:

  • Dermatomyositis: This inflammation affects your skin and results in an itchy or painful rash and muscle weakness. It most often affects your face, eyelids, knuckles, knees, elbows, back, and chest.
  • Polymyositis: This form of myositis affects both sides of the body and may result from an autoimmune disorder.
  • Inclusion body myositis: You'll receive a diagnosis for this condition if you have abnormal structures in your muscle tissue.
  • Lupus: This autoimmune disease can affect various parts of your body, including your kidneys, central nervous system, heart, and lungs.
  • Scleroderma: This condition arises from an excess of collagen that leads to hardened or tightened skin and connective tissue.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This common disease makes moving your joints painful and can also affect your muscles.


A viral infection can cause chronic muscle inflammation, such as the common cold or HIV. Though less common, bacteria, fungi, or parasites can also act as prolonged muscle inflammation factors.  

Medications and Drugs

If you take certain medications or drugs, you have an increased risk of myositis. The most common perpetual muscle inflammation caused by substance use includes:

  • Alpha-interferon: Though produced naturally in your body, doctors use synthetic versions of this protein to help fight various cancers and hepatitis.
  • Alcohol: Prolonged alcohol abuse can cause widespread inflammation throughout your body and is one of the most common substances to cause myositis.
  • Cocaine: A schedule II drug in the U.S., this highly addictive central nervous stimulant can cause widespread damage to your body.
  • Colchicine: This prescription drug can treat diseases like gout, heart problems, and familial Mediterranean fever. 
  • Hydroxychloroquine: Also known as Plaquenil, this drug treats various forms of lupus, malaria, and arthritis. 
  • Statins: Most commonly prescribed as a treatment for high cholesterol, statins sometimes work by reducing inflammation in the arterial walls.

Though medication rarely causes severe myositis, you may not develop symptoms until you've used the drugs for years.


Sustaining an injury is one of the most common perpetual muscle inflammation causes. While any injury that produces inflammation can cause myositis, over-exercising remains a major cause. Thankfully, most cases of myositis that arise from extreme exercise resolve with rest and physical therapy.


Characterized by a rapid and dangerous breakdown of muscle tissue, usually from an injury, rhabdomyolysis often results in muscle trauma that produces long-term pain. Thankfully, doctors can treat this condition if you catch it early.

Treating Muscle Inflammation with Physical Therapy in Morningside Heights

Depending on the cause and severity of your myositis, a physical therapist can either cure the condition or help you significantly manage the chronic pain. They can also work with other health professionals to enhance the effectiveness of medications or surgical interventions you may undergo for the condition. However, in many cases, early intervention from a physical therapist can help you avoid surgery.

Aerobic Exercises

Aerobic exercises, such as swimming or bicycling, increase your heart rate and improve your blood flow. This helps your circulatory system deliver more oxygen to your muscles and can reduce inflammation. When you discuss these options with your physical therapist, they'll suggest solutions that won't put undue stress on the muscle that hurts most.

Strength and Mobility

Strengthening your muscles and reducing the stiffness in your joints not only helps your muscles heal faster by reducing inflammation, but it can also strengthen them against future injury or flare-ups. These exercises focus on stretches to increase flexibility and strengthen your core through body-weight exercises like sit-ups, yoga, and planks.

By working with a physical therapist, you can ensure that these exercises are tailored to your specific needs and safely executed. Your treatment plan will likely include modifications based on your symptoms and disease progression, helping you to maintain or even improve your range of motion and strength without overstraining your muscles.

Physical therapy may also incorporate other techniques such as manual therapy or active release technique, which includes massage and manipulation of muscles and joints to reduce pain and improve function.

Warm-Up and Cool Downs

Your physical therapist will work with you to develop pre- and post-workout routines that protect your muscles from further injury. Your physical therapist will customize the cool-down and warm-up routine based on your specific challenges.

When exercising with myositis, remember to push yourself only within reason and rest your body once you finish. Consult your physical therapist to determine how much exercise you can handle.

Park North Therapy Provides Effective Treatment for Muscle Inflammation

When you need help managing chronic muscle inflammation, Park North Physical Therapy provides compassionate and effective treatment. From helping you improve athletic performance to managing long-term pain, you'll feel encouraged that you can overcome any obstacle. Book an appointment today by calling 212-222-6525.