PMR & Exercise

Hi, I read somewhere that some exercises could further damage inflammed muscles? I used the weights machine for a short while on my shoulders a week or so ago and now noticed more shoulder pain in a different place (still both sides) to where it was at the start of my PMR. I've also reduced my dosage a little so can't be 100% sure what's caused it.

So, what level and type of exercise would be beneficial and what to avoid (weights?)?


14 Replies

  • well its hard to say weather its because you lowered your dose, or too much exercise

    I would leave the exercise out for a few days, see how the pain goes. and if it gets worse then its lowering the pred that's caused it. if you are doing heavy weights you need to be more carefull and and do less. its a case of trail and error. with us

    all if the pain gets worse then up the pred by 1 mg

  • Hi Dave. Suggests to me that you have probably overdone it a bit with the weights! My GP told me PMR is not exercise related, but you definitely need To pace yourself. Refer to Kate Gilbert's book!!

    All the best.

  • Your GP has PMR does she? It may not be exercise-related - but exercises too much and it hurts!

  • PMR may not be exercise related - but it makes your muscles acutely intolerant of exercise - i.e. a 5 rep weight session with light weights will have the same sort of effect that a 20 rep session with heavy weights would normally for example. That means your muscles don't tell you you are doing too much so you would stop normally and then require far longer to recover.

    If you want to do weights, minimum weight and just a few reps to start with - you will probably be able to increase some but you MUST do it slowly. Same applies to ANY exercise, little to start with, have at least a day's rest between each session and don't go back for more if you are still sore.

    The best options for keeping mobility are walking, cycling and aqua aerobics - and like any form of exercise should be at the level that doesn't leave you sore the next day, or only minimally so and it recovers by the following day. You need to be really disciplined and keep a record of what you have done and how you felt - stick at a level of exercise for a week or two then add a bit.

    I found lots of short bursts of anything with rests between meant I achieved far more overall. E.g. I could do 4 or 5 short runs skiing because i had 7 or 8 min rests in between on the lift - it was about half way through the season before I could do a longer run that was far less than the total I could do in short runs. I skied every 4 days in early December, every 3 later and got to alternate days by mid-end January. By the end of Feb I could ski on 2 consecutive days but not more - unless I skied less each day.

    You CAN build it up and after all - you don't have to stop the gym because the snow has gone and the lifts are closed!

  • David, yes it is very easy to inflame muscles that are already at risk of being weakened by the steroids. You mention lifting weights a week or so ago around the same time as reducing your steroid dose. It is never a good idea to mix the two! Any reductions should always be postponed until we have a week where we can clear the decks to allow our bodies to adapt to the lower dose.....and that includes physical and/or emotional stress. Having said that, we have found that men with PMR can seem to get away with more exercise than us ladies but, if in doubt, simple walking is the least risky of all exercise routines. Swimming is also good but, of course, not as good at protecting us from the risk of steroid-induced bone thinning as the weight-bearing exercise of walking.

  • Hi there,

    I haven't actually exercised as such but was doing fine & gradually/very slowly lowering my pred. I had a gruelling 10 hour shift at work last night (9pm unti 7am) without the chance of a break & by 4am I'd hit a brick wall.....pain in shoulders back hips & thighs which hasn't gone away today, along with a bad head & incredible fatigue & sweats. I do believe we should be gentle & considerate to our bodies whilst trying to manage this horrible condition.......just wish I could have a chance to. I will just echo what others have said.......a little at a time & don't push yourself too far.

    Take care & be kind to yourself

  • Thanks Pam and everyone else who replied. I will certainly try and pace myself more. Just find it frustrating that i'd like to do more to up the hip bone density but this has an adverse effect on the PMR!

  • I think learning to live with the frustration is one of the biggest battles of this condition, so many active people with busy lives & a fondness of keeping fit just slammed down with the pain & fatigue (I'd have temper tantrums if I could summon up the energy) I gave up the horse just before Christmas as I couldn't cope any more (would rather give up the job lol) the dogs don't go out as much as they should because I'm exhausted from work. It's a good job we have this lovely little place where we can moan to each other (husband fed up of my moaning). Let me know if you find any exercise regimes that work without pain.......I'd be very interested. Good luck.

  • Have any of you heard of PowerPlates? They improve muscle tone (proven) and are claimed to help improve bone density. Google and see - a certain chain of gyms with a Scottish owner of Dragon's Den fame usually has one available!

    I postulated at one point that taking the lift up and walking back down the stairs would help bone density. The science says it should at least!

  • In case you don't see it:

    Have any of you heard of PowerPlates? They improve muscle tone (proven) and are claimed to help improve bone density. Google and see - a certain chain of gyms with a Scottish owner of Dragon's Den fame usually has one available!

    I postulated at one point that taking the lift up and walking back down the stairs would help bone density. The science says it should at least!

  • Ooooh that's one I shall look into thank you. Took the dogs out for an hour today as the weather was lovely & daughter was free so enjoyed the walk...... Calves & thighs are still aching & flu like feelings, sweating even more profusely than normal & the walk was 9 hours ago!!!! I feel like I've done a 10 hour night shift. I'm getting so fed up with myself, my head just aches too.....all the time...... & I'm so flippin' tired. Might benefit from some small doses of exercise just to feel a bit more normal. Thanks again

  • Maybe contact your doctor and try to find out more about the headaches, which you say are happening "all the time." He or she could also advise about exercise at the same time.

    Good luck and let us hear how it's going--

  • Thank you for your reply, it's so nice to have people on here that understand.

    Tonight, when I was trying to look for something in the kitchen cupboard on the top shelf, I went quite dizzy then a searing pain shot through the top of my head! It only lasted a couple of seconds......then gone! This has happened twice now.......but it's enough to make me shout & grab the top of my head! Does this mean anything do you know? I have the most disinterested doctor I've ever met! Sorry to put this on you, it's just I'm working all night now until 7am on my own & I worry what's happening sometimes.

  • I HATE it that you have a disinterested doctor! That makes life even harder. Any chance you can get a better one?

    I doubt the sudden, quick searing pain means anything dangerous, but without an interested doctor, how can you find out? I'm no physician, of course, but it could be that the little "pain strikes" are the result of the stress and worry you are being put through. Is that a possibility?

    Good luck and keep us apprised?


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