What is polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)?
PMR is an inflammatory condition that causes severe pain and stiffness in the muscles of your neck, back, shoulders, and hips.
Doctors don’t know what causes PMR
It usually occurs in people over 55, particularly women
Your neck, back, shoulders, and hips feel stiff and painful
To diagnose PMR, doctors do blood tests
Doctors treat it with corticosteroid pills
What causes PMR?
Doctors don't know what causes PMR. People have inflammation in their joints and the tissues around the joints, such as the tendons (tendinitis Tendinitis Tendons are tough pieces of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones. Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. Tenosynovitis is similar. In tenosynovitis, the tendon inflammation also involves... read more ) and bursa (bursitis Bursitis A bursa is a small sac filled with fluid. You have many bursae (the plural of bursa). Bursae cushion your muscles, tendons, and ligaments around joints and keep them from rubbing against each... read more ).
What are the symptoms of PMR?
Symptoms can happen suddenly or develop slowly. They usually include:
Aching pain and stiffness in your neck, shoulders, back, and hips
Severe stiffness when you wake up in the morning
Stiffness after you've been sitting still for a while
The pain and stiffness may keep you from doing your normal daily activities.
You may feel sick all over, lose your appetite, and be tired and depressed.
What are the complications of PMR?
A lot of people who have a blood vessel disease called giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis is chronic inflammation of large and medium arteries of the head, neck, and upper body. Typically affected are the temporal arteries, which run through the temples and provide... read more also have PMR. And some people with PMR develop giant cell arteritis. In giant cell arteritis, your immune system attacks the lining of your blood vessels. It can affect the blood vessels in your eye and cause blindness if not treated.
Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis, including:
Jaw pain during chewing
Vision loss or blurring in one eye, or double vision
How can doctors tell if I have PMR?
Doctors diagnose PMR based on your:
How do doctors treat PMR?
Doctors treat PMR with:
Medicines to block your immune system
Most people with PMR feel much better very quickly when treated with corticosteroids. If you get better quickly, doctors are quite sure that you have PMR.
You usually need to take medicine for at least a year. Then the dose can be slowly lowered. PMR can come back again.
People who take corticosteroids for a long time can develop:
Thinning of their bones—doctors may prescribe calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss