24 October 2020
Spotlight on Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
I recently saw a regular patient for the first time since COVID-lockdown. She is a very nice lady and has been a patient with me at Bodyfix clinic since we first opened in 2018. Since that time, I have been treating her symptoms of Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is multi-faceted and can be helped with Osteopathy and myofascial release, correct Nutrition and a good sleep pattern. Nicole recently wrote a blog on Fibromyalgia and can be found here. My patient had always responded well to my treatment and was very open to dietary changes and improved sleep.
However, since lockdown her symptoms has changed. She was getting pain and stiffness into her hips and shoulders. The condition Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) came into my head so I referred her to her GP and now she is receiving treatment.
PMR is an inflammatory condition. It is linked to an over-activity of the immune system. As was the case with my patient, it shows up as extreme stiffness and pain in the shoulders and hips. Polymyalgia Rheumatica usually affects women more than men and happens to those of 50 years+. It is more common in Northern Europeans.
People with PMR can also experience Fatigue, Anaemia, Fever, weight loss. And it leads to a low quality of life and possible depression. However, the most concerning thing about Polymyalgia is the it is linked to a condition called Temporal Arteritis (TA). If left untreated, TA can lead to blindness. So a quick diagnosis is very important.
If you are suspected of having PMR, your doctor will need to do some blood tests. They will be looking for C-reactive proteins and ESR rate. Once diagnosed, they will prescribe you corticosteroids. This often comes in the form of 15-20mg of Prednisone and will begin to relieve the symptoms in a few days. Some patients may need to be on this medication for 2 years. But after that time, most often the symptoms disappear completely.
Once a diagnosis and correct course of medication has been reached, then we can recommence treatment. The stiffness will have had an effect on the joints. The old saying of “if you don’t use it, you lose it”!. So as Osteopaths we can help to improve range of movement. We can also help to regain strength and co-ordination.
We will also advise low impact exercises and to start supplementing with calcium and vitamin D.