What is it?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain, stiffness and inflammation in the muscles around the joints. Polymyalgia rheumatica typically affects people over age 65. It rarely develops in those under age 50.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is muscle stiffness in the morning that lasts longer than 45 minutes. Pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders are the most common symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica. The pain and stiffness may gradually spread to other areas, such as the shoulders, hips, and thighs. These symptoms usually affect both sides of the body. It may also cause other symptoms, including:

  • Extreme tiredness, fatigue and malaise.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Sudden, unintentional weight loss.
  • Depression.
  • A low-grade fever.
  • A limited range of motion.

The symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica develop quickly, usually over several days. In some cases, the symptoms may appear overnight. They tend to be worse in the morning and gradually improve throughout the day. For some people, being inactive and remaining in one position for a long period of time can make symptoms worse. The pain and stiffness may eventually become so severe that people have difficulty performing everyday activities, such as standing up from the couch, getting dressed, or getting into a car. Sometimes, the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica can even make it difficult to fall asleep.

What to expect?

If you are treated for polymyalgia rheumatica you should seek immediate medical help if:

  • You have vision problems.
  • You get a headache.
  • You get a fever.

  • Daily calcium and vitamin D supplement.

  • Physical therapy to help improve your strength and increase your range of motion.

  • Eating a healthy diet and limiting your salt intake can help prevent high blood pressure.

  • Regular exercise can help strengthen your bones and muscles

Think you might have Polymyalgia rheumatica?

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Think you might have Polymyalgia rheumatica?