Polymyalgia rheumatica is a syndrome that produces generalized inflammation along with shoulder and hip pain and weakness. It can be accompanied by a wide variety of symptoms ranging from joint pain and swelling to headache, unwanted weight loss and fever.
It frequently appears in people over 60 years of age and may be the main symptom of more serious diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, large vessel arteritis or some tumors.
How is polymyalgia rheumatica diagnosed?
The diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica is clinical, meaning that a series of targeted questions and a specific examination can diagnose it. However, it is very important to have complementary tests to help or confirm the diagnosis, mainly a blood test with inflammation markers and some imaging test (X-rays or ultrasound).
What is the difference between fibromyalgia and polymyalgia?
Polymyalgia rheumatica produces inflammation that is reflected in the examination, blood tests and imaging tests. Fibromyalgia is a distinct entity that does not usually produce alterations in complementary tests and is characterized by an increased generalized sensitivity to painful stimuli. Occasionally, both entities may coexist.
What causes polymyalgia rheumatica?
It is not known exactly what stimuli can trigger polymyalgia rheumatica, but it is very important that the initial workup is complete and a secondary cause is ruled out or confirmed.
What treatments are available for polymyalgia rheumatica?
The main treatment for polymyalgia rheumatica is corticosteroids, which also produce a rapid and excellent improvement in pain and inflammation and support the diagnosis itself. In those cases in which corticosteroids are not sufficient, or it is not possible to suspend them with the passage of time, there are other imunomodulatory drugs that will help to control them. Drugs that require the indication and control of an experienced specialist.