Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How is polymyalgia rheumatica treated?"
Can exercises help? Posture? Pills?
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disease characterized by pain in multiple areas. The joints/muscles that are effected most often are the shoulder joints and the hip joints. Although the exact cause is unknown, the pain that comes from PMR is caused by inflammation in these areas. PMR effects mostly patients over the age of 60, with the average age being 70. Thus, it is a disease that is quite rare in young people. PMR is diagnosed through with a qualified physician listening to the pattern of symptoms. A blood test for the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) or C-reactive protein (CRP) level which should both be elevated. In some cases, PMR can be associated with another disease called temporal arteritis. Temporal arteritis is another inflammatory disease which cause blindness in one eye. The treatment for PMR is prednisone, a steroid anti-inflammatory. Prednisone works so well for PMR that when a person does not get near complete relief from their symptoms with the medication, the diagnosis of PMR is likely wrong. While exercise is never discouraged, and would likely not hurt, it would not be the only therapy needed for PMR. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. This doctor can review your workup so far and recommend treatment. Good luck.
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