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What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

We know from our myth buster post on Monday that Polymyalgia Rheumatica & Fibromyalgia are 2 different problems, despite commonly being mistaken for the same thing. So what is Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)? 5 things you need to know...:

  • It affects both shoulders – 9/10 people with PMR usually experience pain & stiffness over a large area around the shoulder girdle, usually worse in the morning for over an hour. It can wake you in the night & is eased by gentle movements.

  • It comes on suddenly – Symptoms arrive with a bang & are severe, taking several weeks or months to improve.

  • It mainly affects women – 75% of all people with PMR are women. In all cases, they are over the age of 50, but surprisingly, most are age 65. There is sometimes a family history.

  • It is treated with steroids – drugs such as prednisolone help to bring the inflammation down.

  • Some people develop other conditions – 1 in 4 people with PMR will go on to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis, so look out for swelling in the knuckles of your hands & feet. A small number of people develop a condition called Giant Cell Arteritis, presenting as headaches, jaw pains, scalp pain & even loss of vision (consult a GP immediately if you experience these symptoms).

Whilst little is known about what causes PMR, it is very important to identify it & get of top of your symptoms through your GP. Physiotherapy has a role in identifying this problem, plus also helping to manage your symptoms whilst on steroid treatment or managing any residual symptoms following resolution of the acute flare.

Did you know we have a Rheumatology specialist Physio at Harbourside now?

Call the clinic on 01736 366224 to discuss a potential appointment, visit our website or email us

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