Polymyalgia rheumatica is an inflammatory disorder due to which stiffness and muscle pain are caused specially in the shoulders, neck, thighs, hips and upper arms. The symptoms of this disease can be seen very quickly over some days.

People who have developed polymyalgia rheumatica are usually older than 65 years of age. People of younger age develop this condition very rarely. The symptoms of this condition are improved by anti-inflammatory drugs known as corticosteroids. However, careful monitoring is required for avoiding side effects.

This condition may have a co-existence or a relation with other inflammatory disorders as well. The other disorder is called giant cell arthritis. Visual impairment, headaches and jaw pain might by caused by this. The symptoms and signs of this include:

  • Pain or aches in the shoulders
  • Pain or aches in the lower back, thighs, hips, buttocks, neck etc
  • Tenderness in upper arms
  • Stiffness in some affected areas due to long car rides or prolonged inactivity
  • Stiffness or pain in knees or wrists

Some more general symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Low grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Unintended weight loss

The doctor must be consulted if one is experiencing stiffness, pains or aches that:

  • Are new
  • Due to which sleep is disrupted
  • The ability of activities is limited

No one has been able to understand the cause of polymyalgia rheumatica. The stiffness and pain are a result of the activity of proteins and cells that are inflammatory. They are a part of the disease fighting immune system of the body.  This inflammation is mainly in response to a disease or injury. However, collectively these disorders are known as rheumatic diseases. The occurrence of inflammatory activity is found when there is no need for response.