Have pain (like a burning pain) in left upper arm but no stiffness am on 12.5mg steroids could this be a flare-up?

I am 56 diagnosed ten weeks ago. Inflammation levels were 79, had MRI scan on hips which showed massive inflammation also had extreme pain and stiffness in upper arms which some days took up to tea time before I could move my arms. Put on 15 mg steroids which slowly eased the symptoms - it took three weeks for all PMR symptoms to completely disappear. Since that time I have been symptom free. But today have this pain in my upper arm but no stiffness like I had before taking steroids.

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7 Replies

  • It's well known that PMR targets specific sites and the upper arm is one of it's more common ones. You don't say how long you have been on 12.5mg Prednisolone, but given your delayed reaction to the initial dose, it may just be the lower dose taking longer to kick in.

    You really have the choice of returning to 15mg and staying there for a little longer, or remaining on 12.5mg until the pain diminishes - hopefully it will. I don't know what reduction plan (or if any) has been suggested for you, but whatever it is, don't let them try to reduce you too quickly. That's often the recipe for disaster.

  • I am/was on 10mg and tried a slow reduction of 1 gm per week. My weight and breathing were getting the better of me. However, after a week, I had to go back from 9 to 10, as the pains were terrible. My pain are not in the upper arms, but rib cage - lower back and legs.


  • Good MorningBracken12 I was very interested to read your post as I've always had PMR pain in my upper arms with stiffness but it always reacted to 15mg prednisolone .At the moment I am between 13_14mg steroid but I had a 150mg Depro-medrone injection in August to counteract flare-ups but the pain in my upper arms are usually there. The one good thing about this Forum is the amount of advice you pick up as you go along and slow reduction is best but we are all different. I have had PMR for 9 years and still learning about this condition all the time. I hope that your PMR doesn't last a long time and your reduction goes well. Best wishes. trish29

  • Hello Braken12

    I am sorry to hear about your second flare up. Once a problem has gone away you hope it does not come back.

    I have had PMR for 2 years, last month my G.P. dropped my steroids to 5mg. The muscles in my upper arms felt as if they were burning, especially in the night. I have not had this sensation before. I am on 10mg now, the burning has stopped and my arms are just stiff now. It has helped me to know that this is a symptom of PMR I was wandering if it could be another problem.

    Hope you improve soon.

  • There is a way of dropping your pred once on 10mg and once on 5mg that has and is working for some PMR people.

    If anyone is interested send a pm with your email address.

  • info re reduction, tried it gradually, but had to go back up to 10mg, was in a lot of pain, mostly back and legs, Some are having problems with with upper arms. I don'y have any of that. My pains are mostly in the rib cage, lower back and legs.


  • Many thanks to everyone who replied to my post. I expected a flare up to be exactly the same as my initial symptoms ie chronic stiffness and pain and wasn't expecting to have pain but no stiffness! I was on 15mg of Pred for 5 weeks then reduced to 12.5mg which I have been on for 4 weeks. Saw a different rheumatologist just after reducing to 12.5mg who questioned whether i have PMR because of my age and because the Pred took three weeks to completely clear all symptoms he wanted me to reduce after 3 weeks to 10mg and then reduce by 1mg per month and he will see me again in six months but I have since seen my GP who has arranged a full blood test because of the flare-up and we are going to decide what to do next once we have the blood results.

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