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Polymyalgia Rheumatica

  • April Scott, NP
Publication Type:


Polymyalgia Rheumatica



Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disease that causes inflammation throughout the body. It results in muscle pain and stiffness.


The cause of PMR is unknown. Genes and things in the environment may play a role.

Risk Factors

PMR is most common in people over 50 years of age. It is more common in women and people of European descent.


Symptoms of PMR may include:

  • Muscle pain and stiffness in the hip, shoulder, or neck
  • Pain that spreads to the elbows or knees
  • Low energy
  • Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Weight loss without a known cause
  • Fever


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. PMR will be suspected if symptoms are there for more than 2 weeks.

A blood test may be done to rule out other causes.


Treatment often leads to quick relief. Steps may include:

  • Corticosteroids—may be used for up to 2 years at low doses
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Interleukin-6 (IL-6) antagonists when corticosteroids cannot be taken or are not helpful

Long term steroids can cause bone loss. Supplements may be given to stop bone loss.


PMR can not be prevented.





  • Polymyalgia rheumatica. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: https://rheumatology.org/patients/polymyalgia-rheumatica.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr.
  • Polymyalgia rheumatica and giant cell arteritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/polymyalgia-rheumatica-giant-cell-arteritis.
  • 3/24/2023 EBSCO DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://www.dynamed.com/condition/polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr: Kevzara label. FDA website. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2023/761037s013lbl.pdf.


  • April Scott, NP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.