Muscle and Skeletal Symptoms with Hepatitis C

Many people who have been diagnosed with hepatitis C also experience muscle and skeletal problems. In fact, according to our 2018 Hepatitis C In America survey, over 50% of hepatitis C patients shared that they've also experienced muscle and skeletal issues, which can include joint pain, arthritis, muscle soreness, bone density loss, and others. Additionally, muscle and skeletal problems can affect both cured and non-cured patients, meaning those who have been treated and cured, and those who are still awaiting treatment.

To learn more about muscle & skeletal issues and hepatitis C, we asked our advocates to share their own experiences with these symptoms. Check-out their responses below, or comment below to share your own experiences!

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From Connie

"I do a bone density test once a year and everything has been fine. I have experienced some joint and muscles pain, but have managed it with hot baths, some muscle therapy, and taking over-the-counter meds for pain when necessary."

From Daryl

"I have had to deal with some arthritis-like pain in my joints. It was worse before treatment. I used analgesics (pain meds) to help with the inflammation and it helped some, but once I was cured and recovered from treatment, I felt much better. Activity always helped me too. I am a believer in the "keep moving" approach!

From Kim

"I experienced severe joint, muscle, and bone pain. Even after curing my hep C, I still fight this issue daily. Weather plays a key role as well in the severity of the pain for that particular day; Colder seasons kill me. I have found however a key to instant relief of my muscle and joint pain: Toss a large blanket into the dryer on high heat* for 15 minutes. Remove and wrap yourself in it.

I noticed my muscle mass decreasing as my liver disease went from stage 1 to stage 4. In pictures of myself it is noticeable in the shoulder area. The shoulders became bonier and the upper arms had no more definition to them. I have started working out in a gym with light weights and walking/running on treadmill. I am not seeing muscle toning (after a year), but I am getting more stamina and movability. I truly have seen a difference in my pain levels and stamina just by doing a minimum of 30 minutes in the gym 3 times a week. Start slow, but then begin to challenge yourself."

From Sue

"My earliest symptom, before I even knew I had hepatitis C, was muscle pain. I first noticed it when I was backing my car out of the driveway and lifting my arm on the top of the driver’s seat so I could look over my shoulder; That movement produced fairly severe pain. At first, I thought I pulled a muscle, but it never went away.

After diagnosis and many failed treatments, I developed very severe joint pain. I noticed it first in my shoulders, but that was quickly followed by pain in my feet and fingers (especially upon wakening), also wrist pain, and pain in my elbows. My primary care physician sent me to a rheumatologist, who told me she saw a lot of this in hep C patients."

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