What you should know about Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

We are covering some big topics this May. With those big topics, come some BIG names. Polymyalgia Rheumatica (pol-e-my-AL-juh rue-MAT-ih-kuh) is this month’s topic. PMR is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness in mainly the shoulders, but can cause aches in your neck, hips, thighs, buttocks, and upper arms as well.

Quick Facts:

  • PMR is fairly common, affecting 50 out of every 100,000 people
  • Almost exclusive to the 70-80 age group
  • Most common in Caucasians whose ancestors were from Scandinavia or Northern Europe
  • Happens in “Flares”- You can be perfectly healthy, then have trouble getting out of bed
  • Most commonly treated with oral corticosteroids

How is Polymyalgia Rheumatica Diagnosed?

PMR has many symptoms that are similar to other conditions, so it is important to see the right kind of physician to diagnose. Seeing a Rheumatologist may be your best bet in the diagnosis process. They specialize in the musculoskeletal system, so they can recognize the symptoms of PMR and help manage your treatment. Blood tests will be conducted to show the level of inflammation, and you may be asked to do some imaging such as an X-ray. It is important to be diagnosed as soon as possible. If left untreated, your quality of life could be impaired.

After Diagnosis:

Polymyalgia Rheumatica can be managed successfully with medications along with other therapies. Many of those diagnosed found less flare ups after changing their diets and exercising more. 50-75% of patients can come off treatment completely after an average of 2 years. Monitoring for other risks associated with PMR like Arteritis, vasculitis, and other side effects from Corticosteroid Therapy would still need to be done.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed with all the information that comes after diagnosis. You are embarking on a unique journey, yet with the help of your doctor, you can conquer this treatable disease!

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with PMR, clinical studies may be able to help. Click here to learn more.