Complementary Therapies for PMR

Is there a cure for PMR without steroids? People are becoming fussy about the side effects of many synthetic medicines for polymyalgia. Although doctor-prescribed pills (such as DMARDs) for PMR give immediate relief of its symptoms, still many patients are looking for an alternative treatment to polymyalgia rheumatica.

Basically, alternative treatments include herbal cures and food supplements with natural anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds that can reduce the dependence of the patients on polymyalgia drugs especially corticosteroids. In addition, massage, a gentle exercise, and electro-acupuncture can also help.

PMR is an inflammatory disorder of the joints and muscles. It causes stiffness and pain. Pain in the shoulders, neck and arms are felt on both sides of the body. Other symptoms of PMR are depression, weight loss, and fever. These symptoms can be debilitating so what treatments can be given aside from steroid meds?

PMR has no known causes and affects people aged 50 and above and mostly those in the 70 age bracket. Women are most likely to have the disease than men. Muscle pains caused by PMR are sudden and severe. The mobility of a PMR patient is highly hindered in such a way that a simple daily activity cannot be done.


Steroid treatment for polymyalgia is proven to be very effective to reduce these symptoms but it has many side effects. Instead of steroids, your rheumatologist may prescribe other drugs such as methotrexate or leflunomide. Both are classified as disease-modifying antirheumatic drug or DMARDs. They lessen immune system activity. They are immunosuppressant drugs that reduce inflammation. These drugs lessen steroid requirements without relapsing PMR symptoms. Similar to any other synthetic pill, DMARDs also have side effects.


Methotrexate is a disease modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD). Methotrexate tablet is taken once a week at the same day and may be given also by injection.


Leflunomide is also a DMARD. It reduces the intensity of the symptoms rather than treating PMR symptoms. Leflunomide is given as a 10 or 20 mg tablet daily.

Natural Steroids in the Body

Our body produces natural steroids. Increasing steroid hormones in the body will help reduce steroid medication for PMR. Steroid hormones are produced in our body by the adrenal glands. Adrenal glands function efficiently when we stress-free. Cutting on the coffee intake is another way of helping the adrenal gland to produce natural steroids.

Smoking does not help in efficient steroid hormone production. Pantethine is produced in or body through vitamin B5. Pantethine allows the effective functioning of adrenal glands. It also helps in the production of glucocorticoids which are natural steroids.

Anti Inflammatory Foods

There are also natural ways on how to treat polymyalgia rheumatica without steroids. Natural anti-inflammatory compounds found in herbal cures and food supplements can reduce dependence on steroids. Diet rich in anti inflammatory compounds can help relieve symptoms of polymyalgia.

Omega 3

Omega 3 in oily fish are effective in reducing inflammation. Omega 3 can also improve ease of movement of patient while reducing pain in muscles and joints.

Omega 6

Essential omega-6 fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid, reduces morning stiffness. Omega 6 is found in evening primrose oil capsules and in borage oil capsules.

3000 mg of omega 3 fatty acids and 1500 mg of omega fatty acids each day are considered a reliable combination cure for PMR.


Another natural way to treat polymyalgia rheumatica without steroids is through the enzyme bromelain. Bromelain is found in pineapple plants and is good for PMR patients. The pineapple enzyme is effective in reducing inflammation. 600 mg of bromelain daily can do the trick.

Methyl-sulphonyl-methane MSM

A natural sulfur compound, methyl-sulphonyl-methane also helps PMR sufferers. MSM can be produced in the body and controls the pain and inflammation of arteries. 2250 mg of MSM a day reliably reduces joint pains but recommended dose is just 1000 mg daily. Some foods that are high in MSM are garlic, onions, legumes, kale, Brussels sprout, asparagus and wheat germ.

Exercise and Massage

Food supplements are not only the alternative to treat polymyalgia rheumatica without steroid drugs. A lifestyle change can also help relieve symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica. PMR patients should also exercise regularly. Gentle exercises can be done in combination with electro-acupuncture and message.

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