Patient Comments: Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Diagnosis

How was your polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosed?

Comment from: SavannahSandy, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 16

I awoke with searing pain in my left groin. It was difficult to walk. In a day, the pain spread across a band around my hip girdle; buttocks, down both thighs and lower spine. My physician ordered an MRI and sent me to therapy, claiming that all the pain was probably referred from my back. All pain became more severe. I visited my neurosurgeon. He ordered two more MRIs, one of my shoulder and another of my upper spine. There were also a series of x-rays... all, in my uneducated opinion, not necessary. At the end of three months, I was able to see a rheumatologist. My own physician did not help make this appointment. I "present" exactly like any definition of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) except my blood tests are fine. I am on a very low dose of prednisone, and the doctor took me off both the Cymbalta and meloxicam I had been taking for atypical fibromyalgia, and put me on Lyrica. Pain remains but not severe. I will be 70 next month. I have been extremely fit my whole life as a swimmer, runner and fitness instructor.

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Comment from: Margaret, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I had suspected myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) 25 years ago and things have never been the same since in terms of my fitness, weight problems and energy levels but despite that I have lived a relatively active life. I moved to Spain for the sunshine 6 years ago and it has been a hectic time, I have had some back problems for years following use of an exercise machine which I have tried to cope with by exercise and physical therapy. When it first happened the doctor just sent me for physiotherapy. I saw a doctor two years ago who basically just told me to get fitter. This winter though, I have deteriorated badly. Muscle and joint pain have reduced my mobility considerably, I couldn"t walk far and was in real pain after sitting for a while, and I couldn"t get out of a chair (or up from a toilet) unless I could push up with my arms, resulting in worsening shoulder pain. I also have some pain and tingling in one wrist and hand. I saw a new doctor and she immediately suspected polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) but, to her surprise, the blood tests showed nothing. None the less she started me on prednisone, 50mg in the morning, reducing at ten day intervals. I thought it was just wishful thinking when I felt better the first day but it has continued and I am greatly improved. I am due to take the first reduction in two days. Very early days for me, great to feel some relief but I am concerned that there is no indication in my blood tests and also at the prospect of long term steroid use. Still, that sure beats the constant pain and immobility.

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Comment from: Pete, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: May 21

Came down with it 6 weeks ago. I thought it might be a nerve problem in neck which I've had twice especially when my neck got stiff with pain 2 weeks ago. My son-in-law said it sounded like something else and had me get a CRP test. Had a high reading, 5 times normal. He had me start Prednisone 2 days ago and about 65-75% of the pain is gone. I have no history of PMR and have been very healthy walking 7-9 miles a day. I take Glucosamine/Chondritin daily.

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Comment from: EmmaSue, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 22

I lifted a sofa for a friend last year and two days later my hips started hurting. This was so painful. I thought I had pulled a muscle because I never had pain and had always been healthy. One year later I went to my doctor and had X-rays and blood tests. We consulted with a specialist and was finally diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatic (PMR) diagnosed. It hurts when I get up from a sitting position or when I lay down. My doctor suggested a steroid, but the side effects scare me. I am currently taking 800 mg of Ibuprofen two times a day. Are there any natural treatments?

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Comment from: 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 27

Age does not seem to be a barrier to PMR. I am a very fit 49 year old male. Or I was. I used to run 5 miles every day for 20 years. Then I woke up one morning recently and couldn't move for a "whole body pain." I couldn't dress or move. In fact, I dreaded waking during the night for fear of the pain. Upon investigation my ESR was raised to 55 and I was started on a course of Prednisolone. 15mg initially, reducing gradually. This works but the side effects are not pleasant. The only medication that works, oral steroids, is prohibited by the Civil Aviation Authority and this means that I am now unable to work as an airline pilot.

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Comment from: Tom, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 20

I am 46 years old and have been struggling with pain/stiffness/fatigue for almost two years. It started in my knee, with pain/swelling/stiffness. Then it progressed to my hips and shoulders, back, wrists/hands, and feet. At the worst, I was ready for a wheelchair and whimpered every morning with just showering and getting dressed. My rheumatologist started treating me for psoriatic arthritis. I have tried most treatments - NSAIDS, methotrexate, Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, prednisone. Now, I went to a rheumatologist at our university hospital and he thinks that I have PMR. He is struggling with it because I am only 46 years old.

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Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Symptoms Question: The symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
Polymyalgia Rheumatica - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica in you or someone you know?

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