Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition that causes many painful muscles (poly= many, myalgia = muscle pain). Any muscles can be affected, but it mainly affects the muscles of the shoulder and thigh.
PMR can start at any age from 50 but mainly affects people over the age of 60. Women are affected 2–3 times as often as men and it affects about 1 in 2,000 people.
If you have polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) you’ll usually have severe and painful stiffness, which is often worse in the morning, especially in your shoulders and thighs and usually affecting both sides. PMR often strikes suddenly, appearing over a week or two and sometimes just after a flu-like illness.
The symptoms are quite different from the ache you may feel after exercise. The pain and stiffness is often widespread, is worse when resting and improves with activity or as the day goes on. However, it may also wake you at night.
Other symptoms include:
- feeling unwell
- a slight fever
- weight loss
- overwhelming tiredness
- feeling low, anxious or depressed.
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is sometimes associated with painful inflammation of the arteries of the skull. This is called giant cell arteritis (GCA) or temporal arteritis and needs prompt treatment as there’s a risk of damage to the arteries of the eyes. About 20% of people with PMR also develop GCA, while 40–60% of people with GCA also have symptoms of PMR.
The symptoms of GCA are:
- severe headaches and pain in the muscles of your head
- tenderness at your temples
- pain in your jaw, tongue or the side of your face when chewing
- pain or swelling in your scalp
- blurred or double vision
My twin sister was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in her early 40’s and had he thymus glad removed then given immunotherapy treatment and thankfully, it is now in remission but a few years ago she was also diagnosed with Polymyalgia Rheumatica. I would love to find out what and if there are any connections between all these conditions with me also suffering from Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome. It seems odd that both of us have suffered from these sort of conditions. Unfortunately, our Mum died in her early 50’s due to a heart condition and the only other condition she suffered from was Fibrositis which is what Fibromyalgia was called back in that day.
Does anyone else have it in their families?