PMR is the most common inflammatory rheumatic disease in older people and one of the most common indications for long-term corticosteroid treatment in the UK.  It is a condition often with rapid onset, but also responds rapidly to treatment in most cases.  1 in 5 people develop GCA with PMR (see below for information on GCA).

What are the Symptoms?

There are 3 main symptoms for PMR

  • Bilateral (both) shoulder and/or pelvic girdle aching lasting more than 2 weeks.
  • Morning stiffness (for more than 45 minutes).
  • A raised inflammatory marker in your bloods

Other general symptoms include a low-grade fever, fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, or depression.

Image showing pelvic bone for pelvic girdle

Who is affected?

PMR generally affects people over the age of 65 years but should be suspected in anyone over 50 years presenting with the symptoms above.  It is more common in women.  It’s estimated 1 in every 1,200 people in the UK develop the condition every year

Why does it happen?

The cause of PMR is unknow, but it is believed that genetic and environmental factors may play a part on the development and severity of the condition.

Image showing lady holding a tablet box


The main treatment for PMR is corticosteroids, as prednisolone.  This is usually commenced at a high dose to provide immediate relief of symptoms and is gradually reduced over a long period of time (approx. 2 years).  If patients are unable to reduce their steroids, there are other medications such as methotrexate, that can be used to enable a reduction, and hopefully come off the prednisolone.  This is because long term use of steroids can cause multiple problems, such as reducing bone density, increased risk of infection, altered mood, eye problems, and diabetes.