I have polyrheumatica and so did my sister, It is no fun and is very hard to tell if it is the fibromyalgia or the PMR.
I was diagnosed with PMR last year. Developed severe low back pain after L5 disc was crushed during lifting a heavy object. Was managed on Ultracet, Flexeril & Lodine for several months and able to work as a nurse. Injury was in 1/2005. I stopped working in 5/2005, gradually got off daily pain medication over a 6 mo. period and took it usually once a week or less when I knew I had to be on my feet for a long period of time. In 1/2007 I started developing low grad temps in the evening with chills, it felt like the fever was coming from my spine from the neck to the tail bone, in April I went to my attending Doc and told him of my symptoms. Lab results reflected anemia, sed rate 90. I was sent to an ortho. surgeon and a rhuematologist. I've been on steroid therapy for almost a year, and now my lab numbers are rising again, along with an increase in back pain. My sed rate went to 110, came down to 47 in 9/2007, and is now on it's way back up at 69 drawn 1/2008, CRP 44.6 and EGfr non-afri.amer. 59.65. I'm sure the steroids will be increased this month pending labs taken yesterday. But I develope Cushnoid symptoms especially around the neck and it makes it difficult to lay down as it puts a lot of pressure on my trachea - smothering effect -. All symptoms of the steriods have been check out by various MDs. I can now hear a wosh (buree) in my ear when laying on my right side. I heard it right and left sidelying a couple of months ago, but now only hear it when laying on the right side. I'm in much better condition since the steroid treatment. No overwhelming weakness, anemia has been corrected with brief tx. of ferrous sulfate, no fevers, and less spinal pain, however, the low back pain continues along with pain sitting for over 20-30 mins. (spinal stenosis). No hope for ever working again, can't stand or be on my feet for extended time nor sit for very long. I am able to manage at home with very frequent breaks in a reclined position. The only treatment is steroids, or anticancer drugs which thus far I'm declining to take at this time.
There is some great information at the Mayo Clinic Website, here's some info about the headaches.
Screening and diagnosis
The signs and symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica are similar to those of a number of other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and polymyositis — a disease that causes muscle inflammation and weakness. For that reason, your doctor will diagnose polymyalgia rheumatica only after ruling out other possible causes for your pain and stiffness.
Checking for giant cell arteritis
If you receive a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica, your doctor will check for a related condition called giant cell arteritis, which occurs in some people with polymyalgia rheumatica. Signs and symptoms such as new headaches, a tender scalp and pain when you chew, along with the results of a sed rate test can help determine whether you have this disorder.
The only way to confirm a diagnosis of giant cell arteritis is by taking a small sample (biopsy) from the scalp artery in your temple (temporal artery). The sample is then examined under a microscope in a laboratory. Because polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis are both treated with corticosteroids, your doctor may simply suggest beginning treatment, rather than perform a biopsy.
hope this helps, if you want more info just go to www.google.com and search for Polymyalgia rheumatica and you'll find alot of great information.
Hi. Hope you dont mind but after reading your response to WEW. I was just wondering if you knew anyone who has this illness? I am a 47 yrs old woman,recently diagnosed with giant cell arteritis and dont know anyone else who has it. It would be nice to compare notes. Thanks. regards,cath278
Hi I'm a 50 year old woman who has been suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis since 2005. I have Erosions in both of my shoulders. I've had two operations on my right shoulder. when i was first diagnosed i had a raised PLasma Viscosity level of 1.85. i was put onto Methotrexate & left on it for 3 years. I also have Fibromyalgia.
this year in February i began to fee unwell again with wide spread joint pain, fatigue & evening chills, exactly as i felt 3 years ago. my Plasma Viscosity had raised to 1.77. However my rhumatologist has now decided that i was in fact Mis Diagnosed & that i don't have Rheumatoid Arthritis now. this is because according to them my shoulder erosions are not in the place they would expect it to be! I'm also now suffering from Osteoarthritis in my hands!. they say it is likely to be Osteoarthritis in my shoulders.
i strongly disagree because I did have a raised PV level to begin with. also I'm not & never have been over weight ( I'm 7st 2lbs ) & it is my understanding that RA is symetrical...!
I'm very confused, angey & frightened. my rhumatologist wants to now take me off Methotrexate, & i'm not sure they should be doing this. at least not without further examination as to what Caused my erosions & raised PV level.
i'm angry because if they have mis diagnosed me then i've spent 3 years taking strong & potentially dangerous medication for nothing.
I feel i am being treated very badly & they just don't seem to care what they are now putting me through.
has anyone out there been in the position as i am & if so what did they do about it.
I was clinically diagnosed with temporal arteritis 3 days ago. The rheumatologist scheduled me for a TAB (temporal artery biopsy) before speaking to me. I did NOT consent to the invasive procedure which has extreme morbidity and may be the "gold" standard for evaluation but has a very negative rate. Because of they often biopsy both sides of the face! This reminds of the glee with which doctors performed hysterectomies. Most unnecessarily.
Steroids is typically the treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica and/or temporal arteritis for >6 monts ranging up to 2yrs.
More importantly, you can be diagnosed without the TAB -- ask your attending to refer you for duplex ultrasound, PET screening or MRI for diagnostic support. I will. Look forward to hearing from you and providing any moral support that I can ;-)
I am also diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica and went through 2 biopsies. The first one didn't get enough artery to get a result so I had to go through another on the other side. I am on 28mg of cortisone and darvacet for pain in my osteoarthritis. In the last week I have come up with pain and swelling in my left hand, ring and baby finger down to wrist. I also am experiencing pain in my left side of my face from the teeth area up to and across the temple above the eyebrow. I don't know who to see now. I thought that the cortisone and pain pill would help me feel a lot better. Not yet. Any ideas of what to do next? By the way, I started at 30 mg cortisone and decreased it to 25 and had to go back up and we're starting to come down 2 mg at a time. BEL81773
Any one looking for information about gca or polymyalsia should go to Arthritis Forum/Message Boards: Polymyalsia
Rheumatica. I've had it for 2 years and found it to be the only place I could relate and find helpful info.