According to NORD, approximately 450,000 individuals in the United States suffer from Polymyalgia Rheumatica. This disorder occurs at the rate of about 50 per 100,000 in people over the age of 50.
So what is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that effects those over the age of 50 and generally more often in individuals over the age of 65.
In terms of sign and symptoms, it generally causes muscle pain, aching, and stiffness, especially in the hips, neck, and shoulders. Some patients also complain of pain across the lower back and buttock area spreading to the hips. Some additional symptoms may include:
Limited range of motion in multiple, affected areas
Aches, stiffness, or discomfort in the upper arms, buttocks, or thighs
Stiffness in affected areas, especially in the morning, during sleep, or after being inactive for a period of time
Pain, aching, or stiffness in your elbows, knees, or wrists
Generalized symptoms such as: mild depression, low grade fever, fatigue, malaise, decreased of lack of appetite, weight loss, lack of motivation, disrupted sleep due to discomfort, limited functionality in completing ADL'S
The symptoms of PMR usually develop quickly and can cause issues with sleep due to discomfort and are generally worse in the am.
If you notice prolonged signs of PMR, it is best to seek medical advise. Your health care team can assist with treatment to decrease pain and increase functionality. Unfortunately, over the counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen, are not effective in treating the symptoms of PMR. Low-dose corticosteroid therapy is generally recommended, such as Prednisone which can help reduce inflammation and discomfort.
The length of medication treatment depends upon the patient.
Changes in lifestyle can also assist by adding daily exercise such as walking, biking, swimming and making dietary changes to include anti inflammatory foods such as: olive oil, tomatoes, fatty fish (salmon, macherel, tuna), berries, almonds, green leafy vegetables, while avoiding inflammatory foods such as: refined carbohydrates (white bread or white rice), fatty or fried foods, concentrated sweets, sugary drinks, processed meats, red meat, margarine, and foods with added sugar alcohol.