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Does pred work on osteoarthritis?

I have pmr and osteoarthritis. I am on 6.5 mg pred at the moment, but don't know if the pains are due to osteo or pmr. I keep dropping things and my thigh muscles ache. I also have a pain in the neck (left side) and across the shoulders. I have also had a headache for 2 + years. Consultant says it is a migraine and put me on tablets for it (propranolol) but since taking them 3 weeks, I have only not had a headache for 1 day. No headache when in bed. Any advice appreciated. Please.

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Hi Lynne,

I have OA as well as GCA. OA in left knee, both shoulders although worse in left, also think I may have it just starting in left lower spine, seeing GP next week. I find the pains associated with OA are more specific to each area, rather than overall aches/pains, and are restricted mainly to one side of my body rather than both, which you would expect with PMR. Does that make sense?

You don't say if you have OA in any particular joints, or all over. But the headaches could be from shoulders or spine, and you don't get them when laying down because you are not putting pressure on spine. I do notice my left thigh is a bit painful in morning when I first get up, and put that down to my lower spine. If you have OA in your wrists that could why your grip is not as good as it should be.

I guess you've looked at the different Arthritis sites on the web, all say much the same things, and many have forums like this, but well intentioned as they all are, you don't always get the answers especially if you suffer with more than one illness.

I know there are some on this site that suffer with OA, so hopefully they can come up with something more, but I would think your pains are OA related rather than PMR. Think Pred probably does lessen the OA pain a little if it's keeping the inflammation under control, but it doesn't get rid of it altogether. Take care.

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Unlike DL I would have said the dropping things and the thigh muscle aching is more typical of PMR than osteoarthritis - since it all sounds more muscular than joints. It sounds more to me as if you aren't on quite high enough dose to manage the PMR properly. So you pays your money and you takes your choice!! ;-)

If I had had PMR and a headache for over 2 years and any doctor dismissed it as migraine I think I would ask for a second opinion. My migraines never went away in bed.

Has anyone examined your neck and shoulder muscles to see if they are in spasm, tense and hard? That is a very common cause of neck/shoulder pain and headache. Back muscle problems of that sort are very common alongside PMR. I manage mine with Bowen therapy since that is easy to access without persuading a doctor to refer you for physiotherapy which is another option but one where care is required when you have PMR. A good sports massage therapist is another option for spasmed back muscles - but again isn't always a good idea with PMR as it releases cytokines (the inflammatory substances that cause the PMR symptoms) so you often feel worse before you feel better.


Thanks PMR pro. I have been to physio for headaches no luck. I have a referral to a rheumatologist but not heard back yet. I just want the headache and pains to go away!!! Not likely , I know.

I have a check up with the new knee people in Dec and I need to know if it is no longer hurting because of the pred or is it completely better. I don't want to be signed off, just to find that in a while when pred is lower the post op pains come back. Thanks again for your help.


Do consider trying a few sessions of Bowen therapy - it may help, definitely helped my neck and shoulder problems although they kept coming back until I tracked down an important problem. They were also partly due to a wisdom tooth that was affecting my bite - once it was removed the neck and shoulder pain is very much improved. Such things often improve in bed as you aren't putting any strain onto your back muscles so they aren't fighting to keep you upright.


PMRpro - thanks once again. Your answers and comments are always on target with "what I think I have learned" during the past year. It helps me to realize that I may be getting an understanding of this.


I have PMR and Rheumatoid which are both relieved by Pred. My Osteo, of which I have many sites, including both knees, both hips toes etc remain untouched by Pred, It is so bad now that I can't walk but cannot have any ops due to the Pred, (14.5mg a day) I must reduce to at least 5 mg a day before an op will be considered,

So, no for me pred does not touch Osteo, Nothing does.

My PMR also gives morning pain in shoulders, wrists, neck and headache in bed though.

I have the painful thighs and this remains all day as it is due to Osteo not PMR in my case

Hope this helps and good luck.

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PMRandRA sorry to hear about your osteoarthritis pain. When I was first diagnosed at about age 40 I started taking glucosamine. I continue to this day, with a brief period when I stopped because I thought it wasn't doing any good (turns out that was when I was developing PMR). I avoided the pills that include chondroitin because at the time I wasn't trusting any cattle-based products, mad cow disease being fairly new in our world. So my osteo pain consists indirectly of sciatic pain from spinal stenosis, stiff neck, sometimes pain in my hands and feet but nothing serious, more like stiffness that is easily worked out. I can only assume that the glucosamine has helped me. There seems to have been little progression of the disease over the past few years. When I was suffering PMR pain , unknowingly, I wondered why the pain seemed to be in my muscles and not my joints because I assumed all body aches and pains could be attributed to OA. ;)


Thanks PMR and RA. I was beginning to think my PMR was just Osteo but how I think it might be both. I am awaiting a rheumy appointment but I am on a waiting list, should get a letter before Christmas :(


To the best of my knowledge and experience, PMR is a stand alone Arthritis. You can have it with or without any other affliction. So if you have Osteo, it is because you have Osteo and not PMR. Same with Rheumatoid, PMR can stand alone or be with a multitude of others. As far as I am aware, the only connection with PMR would be GCA . You can have PMR alone, but (correct me if I am wrong anyone) but you cannot have GCA alone but with PMR, although you can have PMR alone. Please note that PMR can be largely ignored by Medics especially Rheumys who seem to prefer dishing out medication for the larger ailments.

I am not sure that Docs and Rheumy.s know much about it. My Consultant Rheumy has noted that my PMR/GCA is in the past, which is nonsense as it is very much now and affecting my life hugely, and I am still on 14.5mg Pred, which I would not be if it was resolved.

Nobody knows what my right hip pain is, but it is huge pain which runs down my thigh and into the front of my lower leg. It is agony and I can no longer walk unaided. The symptoms are very similar to DVT as sometimes the pain is in my calf, but they won't even test it.

Enough moaning. Good luck with your Rheumy appointment. Write things down as you notice them so you can discuss it, It is so easy to forget.

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Thanks PMR and RA most useful


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