What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

What are the symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

How is Polymyalgia Rheumatica diagnosed?

What Is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory condition affecting the muscles in and around the shoulder and upper arm areas, buttocks and thighs. The cause is unknown.

Polymyalgia rheumatica usually starts very suddenly. The stiffness in affected areas usually eases as the day progresses, but often returns in the evenings. In contrast to rheumatoid arthritis the joints are not usually involved, though occasionally there can be an associated inflammation in joints such as the shoulder, hip and wrist. Very occasionally, the arteries supplying the head and neck area of the body may be involved, causing headaches and possible loss of sight. This very serious complication of the disorder requires immediate treatment.

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What are the symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)?

Severe and painful stiffness in the morning is one of the most common symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), particularly in your shoulders and thighs. PMR can come on suddenly, appearing within a fortnight and sometimes just after a flu.

It is unlike the sort of pain or stiffness you experience after exercising. Instead it is often widespread and made worse by movement. It can also disrupt your sleep at night.

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How is Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) diagnosed?

There is no specific test to diagnose polymyalgia rheumatica. Based on your symptoms, tests and a physical examination your doctor will make the diagnosis.

Inflammation alone isn’t enough to confirm the diagnosis as it’s associated with many other conditions. Other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, will need to be ruled out with some other tests. X-rays or ultrasound scans of your shoulders and hips may also be necessary.

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For more detailed information about polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), contact the Arthritis Ireland Helpline on 0818252846 [email protected] 

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