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by Badash M

Definition

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disease. It results in muscle pain and stiffness. It is most common in the shoulders, arms, hips, and thighs.

Causes

The cause is unknown. It may be due to genes and the environment.

Risk Factors

PMR is most common in people over 50 years of age. It is more common in women and people of European descent.

Symptoms

Here are some symptoms:

  • Muscle pain and stiffness in the hip, shoulder, or neck
  • Pain that spreads to the elbows or knees
  • Low energy
  • Weight loss without a known cause
  • Fever

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. PMR will be suspected if symptoms are there for more than 2 weeks.

Your blood may be tested.

Treatment

Treatment leads to rapid relief within 24-48 hours.

You may have:

  • Corticosteroids—may be used for up to 2 years at low doses
  • Supplements, such as calcium or vitamin D and biphosphonates —to prevent bone loss due to steroids
  • Anti-inflammatory medications

Prevention

PMR can't be prevented.

RESOURCES

American College of Rheumatology  http://www.rheumatology.org 

Arthritis Foundation  http://www.arthritis.org 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada  http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca 

The Arthritis Society  http://www.arthritis.ca 

References

Polymyalgia rheumatica. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Polymyalgia-Rheumatica. Updated March 2017. Accessed June 5, 2018.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116138/Polymyalgia-rheumatica-PMR  . Updated May 23, 2018. Accessed June 5, 2018.

Questions and answers about polymyalgia rheumatical and giant cell arteritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Polymyalgia/default.asp. Updated May 30, 2016. Accessed June 5, 2018.

Salvarani C, Cantini F, Boiardi L, Hunder GG. Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant-cell arteritis. N Engl J Med. 2002;347(4):261-271.

Soubrier M, Dubost JJ, Ristori JM. Polymyalgia rheumatica: diagnosis and treatment. Joint Bone Spine. 2006;73(6):599-605.

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