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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

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Last updated November 24, 2021

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What is polymyalgia rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a chronic condition that causes inflammation, aching pain, and morning stiffness. It affects muscles close to the middle of the body, including the shoulders, hips, and back.

Symptoms

You may suddenly notice symptoms that weren’t there before. Pain and stiffness tend to occur in the upper arms, and you may have trouble raising them above the shoulders. You may also have aching in your joints such as the hands and wrists.

Its cause is not known, but it is more common in people over 50 years old. The average age when symptoms start is 70, so people who have PMR may be in their 80s or even older.

Treatment

You should see a doctor within the next day to discuss your symptoms. PMR can be evaluated with a review of your symptoms and medical history. Your provider may also perform a blood test. Once diagnosed, it can be treated with prescription steroid medication, which can improve symptoms within one week.

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