POLYMYALGIA



polymyalgia pain and stiffness in musclesWhat is it?

Disorder of the muscles and joints characterized by muscle pain and stiffness that can affect the shoulders, arms, neck, upper legs and hips.

Causes:

Can present gradually or as a sudden onset such as an infectious disease. It is thought to be an inflammatory condition of the blood vessels due to the body’s natural disease fighting aspect of the immune system.


Signs & Symptoms:

Pain and stiffness in several areas of the body. Usually worse in the morning/after sleeping and can inhibit activity. Fatigue and lack of appetite, anaemia, low grade fever and a feeling of weakness and loss of function. Depression can also occur secondary to these symptoms.

Treatment:

Aimed to reduce inflammation. Medications can improve most mild cases and duration of use can often be greater than a year. Your physiotherapist can provide exercises to minimise muscle weakness and prevent weight gain. This can also help with reducing depressive symptoms throughout the treatment. Education on balance between rest and activity is helpful.

Prognosis:

Treatment will often last 1-2 years and some may require low dose corticosteroids for longer periods. As some of these medications can impact bone density an exercise program can be essential to minimise potential osteoporotic implications following medication use.