Polymyalgia Rheumatica or PMR is the aching and stiffness of arms, back, neck, and legs. Symptoms are more apparent in the morning and develop quickly. Caucasians over the age of 50 are the primary people affected by this condition. PMR is hard to identify because the symptoms are so similar to other conditions. PMR is often caused in conjunction with giant cell arteritis, a type of vasculitis.
Unlike other rheumatologic conditions, polymyalgia rheumatica can appear overnight. Patients may experience difficulty with raising their arms over their shoulders and joint pain in the hand or wrist. Pain is often worse in the morning because of the long period of inactivity.
The Mystery of Polymyalgia Rheumatica
PMR is difficult to diagnose because it is unknown as to what causes the condition. Research suggests it is caused by the inflammation of joints in the shoulders and hip joints. The rest of the body then reacts in a way that is known as “referred pain.” Doctors can diagnose this condition and help you feel comfortable with this condition.
The doctor can run a few tests for PMR. One test includes measuring the inflammation level via a blood test. PMR can show up very high in a blood test or even at normal levels, which is another reason it is hard to diagnose. If you are diagnosed with PMR, there is a way to control the aching and stiffness.
Patients will receive a trial does of corticosteroids, which will reduce stiffness very quickly. That is if PMR is present. Reaction to the medication varies with each patient. Some feel better after one dose while others require more time. The doctor will slowly decrease the dose of corticosteroids until the lowest amount that makes you comfortable is found.
On the other hand, if you are still being affected by stiffness and aching after a few weeks then the doctor will rule our PMR. They will then move on to other causes of your symptoms.
You Can Live Comfortably with PMR
If you are experiencing the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, get in touch with our clinic today. Dr. Brionez can help you find the right treatment for your condition. Call to schedule an appointment at (281) 766-7886.