How do you manage your polymyalgia symptoms? Because PMR is an inflammatory disorder, getting up each morning with can be really excruciating. The muscles and joints in areas of the shoulders, neck, arms, and hips are painful and stiff. It becomes more depressing for patients who are elderly and suffering from other chronic pain like giant arteritis.
To lessen the discomfort and pain, here are 5 best self-care tips to manage polymyalgia rheumatica.
Add Calcium and Vitamin D in Your Diet
Eating a healthy diet is considered the best self-care tip to manage polymyalgia rheumatica. Corticosteroids, which are considered the best treatment for PMR, can at the same time reduce the amount of calcium in our body. A daily intake of 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium is enough to fight effects of steroid medication. A pint of milk each day, combined with other sources of calcium, is a good intake.
Other good calcium sources are cheese, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cheese, soy, and tofu. Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D which is important in absorbing and processing calcium.
Oil fishes are also good sources and are best when added to soya milk. A daily supplement of 10 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D is a good amount for PMR patients.
Get Enough Exercise and Rest
Exercising is one way to manage polymyalgia rheumatica. An inactivity such as sitting and lying down for a long time can cause more stiffness, making activities such as driving more difficult. A PMR sufferer should alternately perform rest and movement. When driving for a long trip, the driver should stop from time to time. This is to stretch his or her legs, shoulders and arms.
Light exercises can be good for PMR. A short walk and jogging for a few minutes can loosen the muscles and joints from inactivity. A little bit of running and walking is a good way of maintaining bone strength and suppress osteoporosis which is a side effect of steroid drugs for polymyalgia rheumatica.
Simple activities like taking a shower or a hot bath in the morning every day after a light exercise can also reduce the pain and stiffness.
Physiotherapy may also be practiced to reduce pain while maintaining a mobile state. A good rest is needed always after an exercise.
Take Your PMR Medication Regularly
Steroid treatment, such as prednisone, is a daily medicine that helps eliminate the inflammation and painful symptoms of PMR. However, you should follow orders from your doctor to prevent relapse of PMR symptoms. It is also important to visit your doctor regularly for him to gradually reduce your medication and prevent serious side effects, especially from corticosteroid treatment. The doctor will inform the patient of the next dosage amount for each medication stage. Feeling well does not give a patient the reason for not coming back.
Too much alcohol will increase your risk of having osteoporosis, which is a side effect of an effective steroid treatment. Light to moderate alcohol drinking is suggested.
A smoker with PMR should totally stop smoking. Smoking makes a person energized for a few minutes but after the effects taper off, the person feels tired. The tiredness caused by smoking as well as the fatigue brought about by steroid medication will worsen the symptoms of PMR. Smoking can also affect the breathing tubes of the lungs and can result in permanent inflammation.
You can have full control on your disease by making sure that you eat the right food and avoid the ones that trigger painful flares. It’s all about managing your polymyalgia.