Pronounced: Pol-ee-my-al-ja Roo-MAT-ic-ah
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder. It results in muscle pain and stiffness in the body. The effects are most common in the shoulders, arms, hips, and thighs. About 15% of people with PMR will also develop giant cell arteritis (GCA). GCA is an inflammation of the lining of the arteries, the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.
The exact cause is not known. Inflammatory conditions tend to be due to some kind of problem with the immune system. Some evidence suggests that certain viruses could be responsible for PMR. Genetic factors may also play a role.
Factors that may increase the risk for PMR:
Symptoms often develop within a couple of days. They may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. There is no single test for PMR. To support the diagnosis and rule out other conditions, tests may include:
If you have PMR, your doctor may also consider the possibility of GCA. Evaluation for GCA includes:
Symptoms of PMR will disappear without treatment within several months to years. But, treatment leads to a dramatic improvement. It can occur within 24-48 hours. Treatment usually consists of:
American College of Rheumatology
The Arthritis Society
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Last Updated: 03/15/2013
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