Coping with Painful Polymyalgia Rheumatica

How do you cope with debilitating pain caused by polymyalgia rheumatica? People with PMR have muscle pain and stiffness on both sides of the body. Find out how you can find relief.

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disease that is suffered by people who are more than 65 years old.  People with PMR experience muscle pain and stiffness on both sides of the body particularly in the upper arms, neck, buttocks, hips or thighs and sometimes in the wrists or knees.

Pain areas of polymyalgia symptoms or PMR may be relieved and improved through the intake of anti-inflammatory drugs. However, some of these drugs can cause serious side effects.

Time to See a Doctor

pain areas in polymyalgia rheumatica

If a person suffers pain or stiffness and aches and this condition disrupts his or her sleep while limiting the ability of the person to do daily activities, then it is time to see a doctor. A doctor specializing in treating polymyalgia rheumatica is a rheumatologist.

Steroids as Primary Treatment for PMR

How do you deal with painful polymyalgia rheumatica? Treatment of PMR using steroid tablets also works effectively to eliminate symptoms fast. A low dose of steroid every day is needed to prevent symptoms from appearing. However, taking steroids should not be stopped abruptly since this may result from withdrawal effects within days immediately after medicine stoppage.

Taking anti-inflammatory painkillers together with steroids is not advisable since it may increase your risk of stomach ulcer. A maintenance dose of 7 to 18 mg each day is considered a safe and best dosage.

Steroid Side Effects

Taking steroids may have side effects especially when taken in higher doses. Some of these side effects include thinning of the bones which may cause osteoporosis, increased risk for infections, and changes in mood and behavior.

Other side effects of steroids are weight gain, skin problems including poor healing after injuries due to skin thinning, high blood sugar, and increased risk of clouding of the lenses of the eyes.


A specific steroid medicine for PMR is prednisone which is the usual polymyalgia treatment prescribed by doctors. Prednisone steroids operate by reducing the swelling or inflammation and works quickly within a few days. Treatment may start with a medium dose of 15 mg per day and reduced gradually for maintenance doses.

Symptoms being treated by prednisone typically disappear within two to three. If there are no improvements in your condition after you take prednisone, this may mean that you have been misdiagnosed.

2 thoughts on “Coping with Painful Polymyalgia Rheumatica”

  1. what are the side effects of taking prednisolone. I am putting on weight unfortunately and am taking 10mgd and suffer depression along with continuous pain.

  2. The side effects are horrendous at higher doses. I was up 60 mg of prednisone, yeah, it did away with my pain, but I blew up like the Sta-Puff marshmallow man. I’ve gradually decreased the dose to 2 mg a day over this past year. Unfortunately, because of the steroids I have developed diabetes, my cataracts grew to the point of surgery and I developed glaucoma, all due to the steroids. And on top of that, all of the pain and stiffness is back. I was told that a second round of steroids should get rid of the pain, not on your life! With the pandemic, those high doses of steroid make me way to susceptible to the virus and I’m just now getting the diabetes under control. I don’t recommend the steroid treatment, it isn’t worth it. I know if you develop giant cell arteritis, you have to take them, otherwise no.


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