Polymyalgia Rheumatica Treatment in Metro Atlanta

Overview of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, especially in the shoulders, neck, and hips. This condition typically affects people over the age of 50 and can significantly impact daily activities due to the severity of the pain and stiffness. PMR is often associated with temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis), a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels. At Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia (ARG), we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica to help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for our patients.

Symptoms of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Muscle Pain and Stiffness: Particularly in the shoulders, neck, upper arms, hips, and thighs.
  • Morning Stiffness: Lasting for more than 30 minutes.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty with movements such as lifting arms or getting out of a chair.
  • Fatigue: Persistent tiredness and low energy levels.
  • Fever: Low-grade fever that may accompany other symptoms.
  • Weight Loss: Unintentional weight loss due to the chronic inflammation and discomfort.
  • Depression: Mood changes and feelings of sadness due to the chronic pain and impact on daily life.

Diagnosis of Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Physical Examination: Conducted by a rheumatologist at Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia to check for muscle pain and stiffness, and to rule out other conditions.
  • Blood Tests:
    • Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR): Elevated levels indicate inflammation.
    • C-Reactive Protein (CRP): Elevated levels indicate inflammation.
  • Imaging Tests:
    • Ultrasound: To detect inflammation in the joints and surrounding tissues.
    • MRI: To assess the extent of inflammation and rule out other conditions.

Treatment Options for Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Medications:
    • Corticosteroids: Prednisone is the most commonly prescribed medication to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
    • NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
    • DMARDs: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs may be used in some cases to reduce the need for corticosteroids.
  • Therapies:
    • Physical Therapy: Exercises to maintain muscle strength and improve range of motion.
    • Occupational Therapy: Techniques to manage daily activities and protect joints.
  • Lifestyle Changes:
    • Exercise: Regular, low-impact activities such as walking and swimming to maintain mobility and muscle strength.
    • Diet: A balanced diet to support overall health and reduce inflammation.
    • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on the muscles and joints.
    • Smoking Cessation: Quitting smoking to improve overall health and reduce inflammation.

Living with Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • Managing Pain and Stiffness: Using medications, physical therapy, and regular exercise to control symptoms.
  • Daily Activities: Adapting daily routines to accommodate limitations and reduce strain on muscles.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Keeping up with appointments to monitor disease progression and treatment efficacy.
  • Medication Adherence: Taking prescribed medications as directed to manage symptoms and prevent complications.
  • Emotional Support: Seeking support from family, friends, or support groups to manage the emotional impact of living with a chronic condition.

Frequently Asked Questions | Polymyalgia Rheumatica

What causes polymyalgia rheumatica?
The exact cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is unknown, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors that trigger an abnormal immune response.

How is polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosed?
PMR is diagnosed through a combination of physical examinations, blood tests for inflammation markers, and imaging studies to rule out other conditions.

Can lifestyle changes help manage polymyalgia rheumatica symptoms?
Yes, regular exercise, a balanced diet, weight management, and smoking cessation can help manage symptoms and improve overall health.

What are the common treatments for polymyalgia rheumatica?
Common treatments include corticosteroids, NSAIDs, and physical therapy to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and improve mobility.

Is polymyalgia rheumatica a lifelong condition?
PMR can be a chronic condition, but many people experience improvement with treatment. Symptoms can come and go, and long-term management may be necessary.

Can polymyalgia rheumatica lead to other complications?
PMR is often associated with temporal arteritis (giant cell arteritis), which can cause serious complications if not treated promptly.

How can I manage morning stiffness associated with polymyalgia rheumatica?
Managing morning stiffness involves taking medications as prescribed, engaging in gentle stretching exercises, and using heat therapy to relieve discomfort.

Contact Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia

For comprehensive polymyalgia rheumatica care, schedule an appointment with Arthritis and Rheumatology of Georgia. Call us at 404-255-5956 or use our online contact form. We proudly serve patients in the metro Atlanta area and beyond, providing expert care and personalized treatment plans.

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