Polymyalgia: Symptoms and Treatment

Are you an older adult who is dealing with muscle pain and stiffness? It could be polymyalgia rheumatica.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition that results in stiffness and aching pain in the muscles of the shoulders, neck,polymyalgia lower back, upper arms and thighs. Symptoms usually appear suddenly and are at their worst in the morning. PMR most commonly affects people over the age of 65 and rarely occurs in people under the age of 50. Wondering if you might have polymyalgia? From the office of our Board Certified Rheumatologist Mark Fisher MD FACR in Haddon Heights, NJ, learn more about the telltale signs of polymyalgia and when to seek care.

Symptoms of PMR
The classic symptoms of PMR are achiness, stiffness,  and pain, predominantly found in the proximal muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, buttocks, hips and thighs. Along with pain, you may notice stiffness that is worse in the morning or with inactivity, as well as a limited range of motion in the affected areas.

It’s also possible that your pain and discomfort may be accompanied by a low-grade fever, fatigue, unexpected weight loss and decreased appetite. The pain and feeling of weakness can be profound in some patients.

Seeing a Doctor
It’s very important to schedule an evaluation with our Rheumatology doctor in Haddon Heights, NJ, if you are dealing with pain, stiffness or other symptoms that are new, affect your daily routine or make it difficult to sleep.

Treating PMR
Along with a physical examination, Dr. Fisher may also recommend certain blood or imaging tests that could detect inflammation and determine whether it’s polymyalgia or another rheumatic condition that is causing your pain. Some people with PMR can develop an inflammatory condition and further complication of this condition called giant cell arteritis (GCA). This GCA disease can cause blurry vision or blindness, jaw pain, and chronic headaches, it’s important that you have a doctor you can turn to in order to manage your symptoms.

Treatment is imperative for these conditions to reduce the risks from them. Common treatment options for PMR include.

  • Corticosteroids are the primary treatments used and are very effective, and of course many medical risks from such medications must be recognized.
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin D
  • Methotrexate (an immune-suppressing medication) in some patients
  • Physical therapy if indicated

Are you dealing with sudden muscle pain and stiffness as described above? If you are concerned that you might have PMR then call our Board Certified Rheumatologist  Mark Fisher, MD FACR in the South Jersey community, today at 856-547-8004, to find out what he can do to help. Remember it is very important to recognize and treat such conditions promptly!!