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Definition

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. It results in muscle pain and stiffness.

Causes

The cause is unknown. Genes and things in environment around you may play a role.

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

Symptoms of PMR may include:

  • Muscle pain and stiffness in the hip, shoulder, or neck
  • Pain that spreads to the elbows or knees
  • Low energy
  • Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Weight loss without a known cause
  • Fever

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. PMR will be suspected if symptoms are there for more than 2 weeks.

A blood test may be done to rule out other causes.

Treatment

Treatment often leads to rapid relief. Steps may include:

  • Corticosteroids—may be used for up to 2 years at low doses
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine

Long term steroids can cause bone loss. Supplements may be given to stop bone loss.

Prevention

PMR can not 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 October 4, 2019.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116138/Polymyalgia-rheumatica-PMR. Updated February 8, 2019. Accessed October 4, 2019.

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_Info/Polymyalgia/default.asp. Updated May 30, 2016. Accessed October 4, 2019.

Last reviewed October 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM  Last Updated: 10/4/2019