The muscles in our body perform various functions like maintaining posture by steady contraction, making movements of the skeleton and generating body heat by cell metabolism. Muscular system diseases include muscle pain, weakness in the muscles and paralysis. It could be caused by various conditions like hormonal disorder, auto-immune problem, genetic factor, infections, cancer or misuse of the muscle.
Muscular System Diseases
1. Muscular Dystrophy
In this genetic disease, a group of muscle diseases cause the damage of muscle fiber. There is no specific cure for it and the symptoms include weakness, immobility and imbalance. The common diseases under this category are Duchenne, Myotonia, Becker, Limb Girdle and Oculopharyngeal.
2. Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a very common congenital disorder that affects the posture, balance and motor functions. Muscle tone is lost during pregnancy or during child birth. Physical tasks become difficult because of this disorder.
3. Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva
In this muscular system disease, soft tissue hardens and becomes bone-like permanently. Bone grows between joints and movements get permanently restricted. There is no effective cure available. Only pain management can be done through medication.
In this condition, there is inflammatory myopathy affecting skin and muscle. It is an autoimmune disease harming the connective tissue and weakening the muscles. There is no cure for this condition, but the progression can be controlled by taking corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs.
5. Compartment Syndrome
The blood vessels, muscles and nerves get compressed in a closed area, which ends up in cutting off the oxygen supply. The result is tissue death which can even lead to paralysis. Immediate treatment is the surgery known as fasciotomy. The pressure on muscles will be released after the surgery.
6. Myasthenia Gravis
In this autoimmune disease, there is muscle weakness and fatigue which are caused by breakdown of the neuromuscular junction. Therefore, the brain does not have control over these muscles. It can cause drooping eyelids, difficulty in breathing or swallowing and loss of facial muscle control. Treatment could be done with medication or surgery.
7. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
This is a very serious neurodegenerative disease and is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The neurons get destroyed and thus there is loss of control on voluntary muscles. Initial symptoms include difficulty in breathing, speaking and swallowing. Paralysis is also an advanced stage symptom.
8. Mitochondrial Myopathies
The mitochondria are the powerhouse of cells. But in this condition, the mitochondria get damaged. It results in weakness of muscles, deafness, blindness, arrhythmia and heart failure. Sometimes it can cause seizures, dementia, vomiting and droopy eyelids. Nausea, headache and difficulty in breathing are some other symptoms.
This particular muscular system disease has rapid destruction of the skeletal muscle. The muscle fibers break down into myoglobin which gets excreted in urine. Muscle weakness, pain and stiffness are seen. Treatment is possible when it is detected in early stages by means of IV fluids, dialysis or hemofiltration.
Polymyositis is degenerative and inflammatory in nature. It affects the systemic connective tissue causing weakness and muscle atrophy.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic and debilitating muscle disorder. It causes pain, fatigue, tenderness and stiffness of muscles. It is considered a genetic disorder and affects more women than men.
In this condition, the muscles relax slowly after stimulation or contraction. It causes problem when grip is released and when you get up from sitting or sleeping position. Treatment includes medication, physiotherapy and anticonvulsants.
13. Myofascial Pain Syndrome
This is a chronic pain disorder of the muscles. It causes aching and burning sensation on trigger points which are sensitive spots of muscles. It can cause joint stiffness, knot in the muscles and sleeplessness due to pain. This can be managed by corticosteroids, injections of botulinum, massage and physiotherapy.
14. Rotator Cuff Tear
The shoulder muscles help in rotating the shoulder as well as move the hand in front and back. The structural strength for this joint is due to the tendons of these muscles. Rigorous, fast or hard movements, like that in baseball and tennis, can cause a tear in the tendon which causes pain and reduced mobility. Torn tendon can be repaired by surgery.
15. Muscle Cramps
Cramps in muscles can occur suddenly and involuntarily, in one or more muscles. It can happen late night or after exercising and can be caused due to a variety of reasons, lasting for seconds to minutes. Overusing a muscle or pinching nerve can cause a cramp. Gentle massage helps temporarily. To reduce spasms and cramps, steroids or medicines can be prescribed.
16. Sprains and Strains
Twist or pull in the muscles or tendons which can either be sudden or over a period of time may cause sprains and strains. Back and hamstring muscles are commonly affected. This is one of the muscular system diseases that cause pain, swelling and difficulty in movement. Rest and ice compress are advised. It’s important to keep the area immobile and take medicine for the pain.
Talipes is also known as flat feet in which the muscles supporting the arch weaken and cause flattening of the arch due to the downward pressure. There are 2 types of flat feet: rigid and flexible. Flexible one is not painful and does not have symptoms. It can be treated by wearing corrective footwear, exercise and massage.
When a tendon gets inflamed or irritated, it results in tendonitis and the inflammation can occur in any tendon of the body. However, it is seen more commonly in wrists, elbows, shoulders and heels. It causes pain, mild swelling, tenderness and can be treated with pain relievers, rest and ice compress.