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Arthritis and Rheumatology Centre

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

PMR is a disabling condition affecting the muscles that surround the hips and shoulder girdles.


It presents most commonly in the 55 and over age group and symptoms tend to be worse in the morning, impairing activities such as dressing and combing hair.


There is no diagnostic test for the condition, other than raised inflammation often seen in the blood-stream. 


Thankfully, the condition responds very well (and rapidly) to steroid treatment. Treatment will often need to be slowly reduced, and most will persist for some 12 to 18 months. Occasionally, other drugs will need to be added to enable the steroid dose to be reduced. 


The condition be associated with a condition called temporal arteritis. This is a serious medical condition where blood vessels can become inflamed with devastating consequences including blindness as well as vascular complications (e.g. formation of aneurysms in the chest). Should you experience new headache, scalp tenderness, visual disturbance or jaw pain when chewing, seek urgent medical attention. 


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