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Common Symptoms and Signs of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

You may have noticed that inflammation is at the root of almost every chronic disease and condition that humankind suffers. You’re more at risk for inflammation and the symptoms it brings as you age.

One inflammatory condition that’s common, but not well known, is polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). Although PMR may create a considerable disabling stiffness and aching around your joints — particularly in the morning or after periods of inactivity — it’s not related to The most common form of arthritis: Osteoarthritis.

At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, our expert rheumatologists know that many of the symptoms associated with aging and inflammation can overlap among various conditions. That’s why it’s so important to get a work-up and diagnosis so we can customize your treatment to your conditions and lifestyle. 

You’re more at risk for PMR if you are:

But anyone of any race or age can develop PMR. Is polymyalgia rheumatica causing your symptoms? Here’s a guide to some of the most common signs of PMR.

You have aches and pains

Although you may think that aches and pains are a normal part of aging, they are not. A healthy body should be pain-free and move with ease, no matter how old you are.

If you have PMR, you might not have pain in your joints, but it could still be difficult to move. You may feel pain in the muscles surrounding your joints, such as your:

The pain and stiffness associated with PMR typically affects both sides of the body, whereas certain types of arthritis might only affect one joint that’s been injured or overused.

Life is hard and slow

If you have PMR, you might notice that everyday activities take a lot more energy than they used to. You may have trouble getting out of bed, getting dressed, or even getting out of a car.

The pain and stiffness you feel make it harder to get up and go. Once you’re out and about, you may feel like you’re running out of time or that you don’t have the energy to accomplish the tasks you’ve set for yourself.

You don’t move fluidly

In addition to pain, your joints and body may feel stiff and unwieldy. You might notice that you can’t move your legs, arms, and back as easily as you once did. Or, when you do move, the movements are limited in range.

You feel tired or unwell

Dealing with inflammation, pain, and stiffness takes a toll, both physically and mentally. If you have PMR, you might also experience rarer symptoms such as:

About 10-15 % of people with PMR go on to develop giant cell arteritis (GCA), which is an inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels. Symptoms of giant cell arteritis are similar to PMR but also include complications such as headaches, vision problems which could be serious enough leading to irreversible blindness, and jaw or scalp pain.

Treat your PMR

Untreated inflammation can lead to more complications and more stiffness. At the Rheumatology Center of New Jersey, we may diagnose your PMR and rule out similar conditions with a combination of physical exams, neurological exams, blood tests, and imaging studies.

Depending on the extent of your pain and disability, we may recommend a number of treatments. Possibilities include:

By increasing your mobility and strength through physical therapy and by adding more exercise, hydration, and healthy foods to your daily routine, you may find that your symptoms diminish and finally disappear. 

To find out if your pain and stiffness are the result of PMR or another condition, call us for a diagnosis and treatment today. You may also request an appointment using our online tool. Our offices are located in Somerville, Flemington, and Monroe, New Jersey.

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