Simple Tips on Treating Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

Why are Regular Health Checkups Important

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that causes muscle pain and stiffness, particularly in the shoulders and hips. It primarily affects adults over the age of 50 and can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. This comprehensive guide explores effective tips and strategies for treating PMR, emphasizing the importance of consulting a rheumatologist for personalized care. If you or a loved one is dealing with PMR, finding the best rheumatologist in Bangalore can be a crucial step towards managing this condition effectively.

Understanding Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)

What is PMR?

Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a chronic inflammatory condition that typically manifests with the following symptoms:

  • Muscle Pain and Stiffness: Mainly in the shoulders, neck, and hips.
  • Morning Stiffness: Symptoms are often worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Fatigue: Generalized tiredness and a feeling of unwellness.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty performing everyday tasks such as getting dressed or reaching overhead.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of PMR is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors for developing PMR include:

  • Age: Most common in individuals over 50 years old.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop PMR than men.
  • Ethnicity: More prevalent in people of Northern European descent.


Diagnosing PMR involves a comprehensive evaluation, including:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Detailed assessment of symptoms and physical function.
  • Blood Tests: Elevated levels of inflammatory markers such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
  • Imaging Studies: Ultrasound or MRI to detect inflammation in the affected areas.

Treatment Strategies for Polymyalgia Rheumatica


The primary treatment for PMR involves the use of medications to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.


  • Prednisone: The most commonly prescribed corticosteroid for PMR. It effectively reduces inflammation and relieves pain and stiffness.
  • Dosage and Duration: Treatment typically starts with a moderate dose, which is gradually tapered based on the patient’s response. Long-term use may be necessary, but efforts are made to use the lowest effective dose.

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Ibuprofen and Naproxen: May be used for mild symptoms or in conjunction with corticosteroids. However, NSAIDs are generally less effective than corticosteroids for PMR.

Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)

  • Methotrexate: Occasionally used in patients who require long-term corticosteroid therapy or have difficulty tapering off corticosteroids. DMARDs can help reduce the corticosteroid dose and potential side effects.

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can play a significant role in managing PMR symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Regular Exercise

  • Low-Impact Activities: Engaging in low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, and cycling can help maintain muscle strength and flexibility without exacerbating symptoms.
  • Strength Training: Gentle strength training exercises can improve muscle tone and reduce stiffness.
  • Stretching and Flexibility Exercises: Regular stretching can enhance range of motion and reduce discomfort.

Healthy Diet

  • Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help reduce inflammation.
  • Adequate Calcium and Vitamin D: Ensuring sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D is crucial, especially for individuals on long-term corticosteroid therapy, to prevent bone loss and osteoporosis.

Stress Management

  • Relaxation Techniques: Practices such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help manage stress and improve overall quality of life.
  • Support Groups: Joining a support group for individuals with PMR can provide emotional support and practical advice for managing the condition.

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist can help tailor an exercise program to individual needs and capabilities.

  • Individualized Exercise Plan: A physical therapist can design a personalized exercise regimen that addresses specific symptoms and limitations.
  • Manual Therapy: Techniques such as massage and joint mobilization can help reduce pain and improve function.

Regular Monitoring and Follow-Up

Ongoing monitoring and follow-up care are essential for managing PMR effectively.

  • Regular Appointments: Frequent visits to a rheumatologist to monitor disease activity and adjust treatment as necessary.
  • Blood Tests: Regular blood tests to track inflammatory markers and monitor the effects of medication.
  • Bone Health Monitoring: Periodic assessments of bone density, especially for patients on long-term corticosteroid therapy.

Complementary Therapies

Some patients find relief from complementary therapies, although these should be used in conjunction with, not as a replacement for, conventional medical treatment.


  • Pain Relief: Acupuncture may help alleviate pain and improve function in some individuals with PMR.

Herbal Supplements

  • Consultation Required: Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any herbal supplements, as they can interact with prescribed medications.

When to See a Rheumatologist

Persistent or Severe Symptoms

If you experience persistent or severe muscle pain and stiffness, it is essential to seek medical advice. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life.

Difficulty with Daily Activities

If PMR symptoms interfere with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, or getting out of bed, it is crucial to consult a rheumatologist for a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan.

Side Effects from Medications

If you experience side effects from medications, a rheumatologist can adjust your treatment plan to minimize adverse effects while effectively managing symptoms.

Finding the Best Rheumatologist in Bangalore

Referrals and Recommendations

Ask for referrals from your primary care physician, friends, or family members who have had positive experiences with rheumatologists in Bangalore. Personal recommendations can help you find a trusted specialist.

Online Research

Use online directories and review platforms to find highly rated rheumatologists in Bangalore. Look for specialists with positive patient reviews and high ratings for their expertise and care.


Schedule a consultation with potential rheumatologists to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and their approach to care. This initial meeting can help you gauge their expertise and determine if they are a good fit for your needs.

Questions to Ask During Consultation

  • Experience and Specialization: How many years of experience do you have in treating PMR? Do you have a specialization in treating specific inflammatory conditions?
  • Diagnostic Approach: What diagnostic tests and procedures do you use to evaluate PMR and related symptoms?
  • Treatment Options: What treatment options do you recommend for my condition? Are there any lifestyle changes or preventive measures I should consider?
  • Follow-Up Care: How often will I need follow-up visits? What should I expect during the follow-up care process?


Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a manageable condition with the right combination of medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and supportive care. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for PMR, patients can take proactive steps to manage their condition and improve their quality of life.

Consulting the best rheumatologist in Bangalore can provide you with the expert care and guidance needed to effectively manage PMR. With timely medical intervention, regular monitoring, and a comprehensive treatment plan, individuals with PMR can lead active, fulfilling lives.