freephone 0800 328 7950

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is sometimes associated with a condition called giant cell arteritis (GCA), or temporal arteritis, which causes inflammation of the temporal arteries in your head.

These conditions share a number of common features, which is not surprising as they are all further examples of autoimmune disease. In each case the underlying pathology at the cellular level is the damage caused by free radicals, which results in systemic inflammation. Free radicals cause damage because they possess unstable oxygen molecules and it is the resulting damage from these molecules which produces systemic inflammation and the signs and symptoms of these diseases.

Who it Affects

Polymyalgia rheumatica commonly starts after the age of 60 (though it can start as early as 50) and affects women more than men.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Symptoms

The main symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica are severe and painful stiffness, primarily occurring in the hips, thighs, upper arms, neck and shoulders and usually affecting both sides. PMR often strikes suddenly, appearing over a week or two and sometimes just after a flu-like illness. The pain and stiffness is often widespread and worse when resting. It can improve with activity or as the day goes on. It has also been known to wake people during the night.

Other symptoms may include feeling unwell, a fever, weight loss, tiredness and feeling anxious or depressed and in the case of giant cell arteritis blindness may result.


There is no specific test for polymyalgia rheumatica. A blood test may be carried out to check for inflammation.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Treatment

Standard painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs alone aren’t enough to ease the symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica. However, steroid treatment is usually very effective.

If your symptoms don’t improve with steroids, or if you get frequent flare-ups of your condition, you may be prescribed disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) alongside steroid tablets. These drugs dampen the immune system reducing inflammation and allowing the steroid dose to be reduced.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica Prevention

It has been demonstrated that a diet which provides good quality phytonutrients will counter inflammation resulting from the damaging effects of free radicals and also improve the immune system. At a fundamental level free radicals are neutralised by antioxidants.

Various vitamins have also been shown to help including vitamin D, vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) found in citrus fruits, broccoli, berries, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes; vitamin A to relieve muscle stiffness and soreness and vitamin E (an anti-inflammatory with antioxidant properties) found in wheat germ, whole grains, green vegetables, soybean and canola oil.

It is for this reason that I recommend a diet rich in good quality fruits and vegetables which will provide the antioxidants to neutralise the free radicals and counter the (systemic) inflammation. Read more about my recommendation in my eBook.

Further Information

  1. Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR):

Eye Conditions

  • Cataracts

    Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.

    Read More
  • Macular Degeneration

    Macular Degeneration is a painless eye condition that can cause a rapid reduction in vision but generally leads to the gradual loss of central vision.

    Read More
  • Blepharitis

    Blepharitis is a s a common condition, accounting for an estimated 1 in 20 eye problems where the edges of the eyelids become inflamed.

    Read More
  • Thyroid Disease

    Thyroid eye disease (Graves’ disease) causes the muscles and soft tissues within the eye socket to swell. This pushes the eyeball forward and causes various eye symptoms.

    Read More
  • Multiple Sclerosis

    Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition and autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system causing problems with muscular control and vision.

    Read More
  • Diabetes

    The most serious eye condition associated with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy which occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the cells of the retina.

    Read More

Other Conditions

  • Child Health

    Children represent our future and are our most precious resource. Making sure that they grow up healthy should be a major concern to everyone.

    Read More
  • Weight Loss

    Losing weight can significantly reduce health-related complications. Look at your weight loss journey as the road to better health one step at a time.

    Read More
  • Muscle and Joint Pain

    Joint pain affects approximately one third of all adults, and as we get older muscle and joint pain only gets worse if we don’t take care of ourselves.

    Read More
  • Cognitive Dysfunction

    Cognitive disorders “significantly impair the cognitive function of a person where ability to function is impossible without intervention.”

    Read More
  • Autoimmune Disease

    Autoimmune diseases but are caused by an immune response caused by systemic inflammation that leads your body to attack itself.

    Read More
  • Cardiovascular

    Cardiovascular disease (CVD) refers to any condition which affects the heart or blood vessels, atherosclerosis being the most common cause.

    Read More
  • Health Controversies

    Health controversies continue to play out in the news. From Statins to Electro-convulsive Therapy they are likely to cause much discussion.

    Read More
  • Degenerative Disease

    Degenerative diseases occur in tissues and organs and can affect breathing, balance, movement, talking and brain and heart function.

    Read More
  • Disease and Diet

    The more we understand our bodies the more we understand how food can influence our health and well-being. What we eat is central to our health.

    Read More