Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a condition that causes pain, stiffness and inflammationin the muscles around the shoulders, neck and hips.

The main symptom is musclestiffness in the morning that lasts longer than 45 minutes. It may also causeother symptoms, including:

  • high temperature (fever) and sweating
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • Depression

If you have pain and stiffness that lasts longer than a week, you should see your GP so the cause can be investigated.

Diagnosing polymyalgia rheumaticacan be difficult because the symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis . These conditions will need to be ruled out before polymyalgia rheumatica is diagnosed.

It's estimated that one in every 1,200 people develop the condition every year.

Polymyalgia rheumatica isage-related. Most people who are diagnosed with the condition are over 70. It's extremely rare in people younger than 50. It's also more common in women than men.

Treating polymyalgia rheumatica

The main treatment forpolymyalgia rheumatica is a coritcosteroid medication called prednisolone , which is used to help relieve the symptoms.

You'llinitiallybe prescribed a high dose of prednisolone, which will be reduced gradually over time.

Most people with polymyalgia rheumatica will need to take a long-term course of corticosteroid treatment(lasting 18 months to two years) to prevent their symptoms returning.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 8 Jul 2015