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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Rheumatologists & Rheumatology located in Glendale and Milwaukee, WI

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia Rheumatica services offered in Glendale and Milwaukee, WI

Polymyalgia rheumatica causes muscular pain, aching, and stiffness in older people. At the Rheumatic Disease Center offices in Milwaukee and Glendale, Wisconsin, you can receive expert polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosis and treatment. The practice’s highly skilled rheumatologists use their extensive experience to restore function and relieve your pain. Call your nearest Rheumatic Disease Center office today or book an appointment online for effective polymyalgia rheumatica treatment.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

What is polymyalgia rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder primarily affecting people over 50. It usually causes pain, stiffness, and muscle aches that first affect one side of the body.

People with PMR often have a form of vasculitis called temporal arteritis. This condition causes inflammation that narrows small arteries in your temples and can affect the aorta (your body’s main artery).

Without timely treatment, temporal arteritis can cause sight loss, aneurysms (balloons of blood in the arteries), a transient ischemic attack (TIA or mini-stroke), and strokes. If you have PMR, the Rheumatic Disease Center team will assess you for temporal arteritis.

What are the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica?

PMR symptoms usually develop suddenly overnight or within a day, but sometimes it takes a couple of weeks. You could suffer from:

  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Swollen joints
  • Osteoarthritis (joint deterioration)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Malaise — a general feeling of being unwell
  • Unintended weight loss

These symptoms can go into remission (reduce significantly for a time) and suddenly flare up again. This cycle can continue for years.

What is polymyalgia rheumatica pain like?

Moderate to severe pain and stiffness is the main symptom of PMR. It affects one or more of these areas:

  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Upper arms
  • Lower back
  • Thighs
  • Hips

Most patients experience worse pain after sleeping or resting. The pain usually spreads from one side of your body to involve both sides.

To diagnose PMR, the Rheumatic Disease Center team reviews your medical history and symptoms, then completes a physical exam. Your rheumatologist might also take blood for lab tests that detect excessive inflammation.

How is polymyalgia rheumatica treated?

The first treatment your rheumatologist is likely to recommend is a corticosteroid trial. Patients with PMR usually respond quickly to corticosteroids.

Some patients only need a short course of steroids; others need prolonged treatment. When your PMR symptoms improve, your Rheumatic Disease Center rheumatologist gradually decreases the dose until they find the point where the pain is no longer controlled. You might stay on the lowest effective dose for a year or longer.

If your symptoms flare up, your rheumatologist can adjust your steroid dose. They might also suggest another medication like methotrexate, an immunosuppressant that stops the immune system from creating so much inflammation.

Call the Rheumatic Disease Center today or book an appointment online for specialized polymyalgia rheumatica care.

Clinic Services
Rheumatic Disease Center offers diagnostic and treatment services on-site to ensure a comprehensive and complete experience for our patients.
Clinic Consultation
Clinic Consultation

Lab Testing
Lab Testing

X-Ray Imaging
X-Ray Imaging

Bone Densitometry
Bone Densitometry


Infusion Therapy Center
Infusion Therapy Center