Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder involving pain and stiffness in the hip or shoulder area. My hips never bothered me, and it started with knee issues and seemed to spread to my shoulders, arms and head. The Doctor said today my slow recovery from surgery #2 was most likely the onset of this problem, and the fact that I have osteoarthritis in my knees is why it hit me there first.
Anemia (low number of red blood cells in the blood) Not me
Face pain Yes
Fatigue (excessive tiredness) Oh yes
Fever Not me, I had chills
Hip pain and stiffness Hips mine are/were fine, I thought. But when I told her about my waddle, listing when I walked, she said it wasn’t just knees doing that.
Malaise (general ill feeling) Yes yes yes
Muscle pain (minimal, less common than aching) Oh yes yes yes
Neck pain and stiffness Yes
Other joint pain Yes
Shoulder pain and stiffness Yes
Unintentional weight loss So that explains the 16 pounds I lost sitting on my butt for nine months.. sort of
Note: Symptoms usually come on suddenly. Doctor said sometimes, and other times, as in my case, possibly over time.
The goal of treatment is relief of discomfort and stiffness. The disease can be very bothersome if it is not treated. Corticosteroids, such as prednisone, are prescribed in low doses. Low? Nope, started off with high doses and now lowering them weekly until I reach my tolerance level.
Polymyalgia rheumatica usually goes away by itself, even when not treated, in 1 to 4 years. Symptoms diminish greatly with treatment. Most patients need steroid treatment for 1 or more years. How anyone could live with the pain for 1 to 4 years is beyond me, and as much as I hate being dependent on medicine, I will take it to keep away that pain. Now hopefully over time we can lower the prednisone and it’s side effects and keep away the pain at the same time, and I can resume normal… if there is such a thing anymore.
Now I’m going to take a nap, and see if I can catch up on some sleep… then maybe I will get up and sew some!