Myopathic changes

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Myopathic changes include patterns of weakness, electromyogram (EMG) findings, or biopsy results that suggest a muscle disorder. The muscle disorder can be inherited, such as muscular dystrophy, or acquired, such as alcoholic myopathy.


The main symptom is weakness.

Other symptoms include cramps and stiffness.

Exams and Tests

Blood tests sometimes show abnormally high muscle enzymes. If a muscle disorder might also affect other family members, genetic testing may be done.

When someone has symptoms and signs of a muscle disorder, an electromyogram, muscle biopsy, or both can confirm whether it is a myopathy. A muscle biopsy examines a tissue sample under a microscope to confirm disease.


Treatment depends on the cause. It usually includes:

  • Bracing
  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Preventing the condition from getting worse
  • Surgery (sometimes)


Chinnery PF. Muscle diseases. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 429.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 2/10/2014
  • Joseph V. Campellone, M.D., Division of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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