Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a relatively common inflammatory condition that primarily affects older adults, typically those over the age of 50, although it can occur at a younger age. It is characterized by muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders, neck, and hips. While there is no cure for PMR, there are several strategies you can adopt to help manage your symptoms and thrive in your daily life.

At Overlake Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center we offer these tips for living well with PMR:

  • Work closely with your healthcare team: Consult with a rheumatologist or other specialists who can help diagnose and manage your PMR. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, which may include medications like corticosteroids ( prednisone) to reduce inflammation. Your Physician will also discuss with you a plan to slowly decrease the prednisone once your symptoms are under control.
  • Managing Your Medication: It’s important to take the medications prescribed by your healthcare provider exactly as directed. Be sure to have an open conversation with your doctor about any possible side effects or concerns. Common side effects of prednisone may encompass weight gain, indigestion, difficulty sleeping, or elevated blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes
  • Rest and pacing: Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Overexertion can exacerbate PMR symptoms. Practice pacing yourself throughout the day to conserve energy.
  • Adapt your lifestyle: Staying sedentary can worsen PMR stiffness, and the steroids used to treat PMR may weaken your muscles. But there’s a solution – staying active! Engage in enjoyable activities like gardening, swimming, or leisurely walks in the park. To prevent overworking the same muscles and joints, vary your activities. Remember, start slowly and gently to keep moving with PMR”
  • Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat, such as warm baths or heating pads, can help ease muscle stiffness by increasing blood flow to select areas. Cold packs may help reduce inflammation, swelling and provide pain relief.
  • Dietary adjustments: Maintain a balanced and nutritious diet to support overall health. Some people with PMR find that reducing their intake of inflammatory foods, such as processed and sugary foods, can help manage symptoms, while increasing fish such as salmon, nuts, Tuna and walnuts will increase omega 3.
  • Manage stress: Stress can exacerbate PMR symptoms. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and promote well-being.
  • Monitor your symptoms: Keep a symptom journal to track your PMR symptoms, medication use, and any potential triggers or patterns. Share this information with your healthcare team during your appointments. 
  • Stay positive and seek emotional support: Maintaining a positive attitude can make a significant difference in your overall well-being. Reach out to friends and family for emotional support, and consider speaking with a therapist or counselor if needed.

Rheumatologists can accurately diagnose PMR, create tailored treatment plans, monitor symptoms, and adjust medication as needed. Our physicians at Overlake Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center also address potential complications, manage medication side effects, and provide patient education and support. Their expertise ensures that patients receive comprehensive care and improved quality of life while dealing with PMR.

Should any questions or concerns arise with your PMR, do not hesitate to engage with your healthcare team at Overlake Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center. Your health and well-being is our primary focus, and we are here to guide you through every step of your journey.