18months ago I was diagnosed by my doctor as having polymyalgia. I had been having lots of stiffness and pain in my left shoulder and neck and some in my right. I had had problems before with my neck and right shoulder which was due to osteoarthritis and I had managed this with anti inflamatories for many years When the pain in my left shoulder persisted I eventually went to see the doctor. After an xray and blood tests she diagnosed the polymyalgia and put me on a high dose of 40mgs steroids. She said that if it was polymyalgia then the steroids would have a marked effect within the week
They did and the pain was significantly reduced within that week the doctor advised me to keep at that dose for several weeks than gradually reduce the amount of tablets , and if my symptons returned to go back up to the previous dose. This I did over the next few months but during that time I had a bad fall onto my left shoulder, and my right shoulder was playing up more at that time also. I ended up being unable to move my left arm hardly at all and was very limited with my right. An -ray showed no dislocation I was put on more anti inflamatories and given physio. This went on for several months and no one could tell me if the pain in my shoulders and arms was as a result of arthritis and fall or the polymyalgia or both as I again had the pain in shoulders and down arms and couldn't lift my arm very much. After 6mths of physio the physiotherapist said I had a frozen right shoulder and if it got worse to go back to the doctor. At this stage I could just about lift both arms above my head d with a small weight from both the front and side . a big improvement on how it had been. I had continued to reduce my steroid tablets and was down to 20mg /15mgs. when I took only the 15 mgs I started to get the pains back again. On seeing my doctor she said things had been going on long enough and as I didn't seem able to reduce the steroids any more she would refer me to a Rheaumatologist , and also took more bloods.By the time I got to see the consultant 4months later I had managed to get the medication down
to 5mgs a day but was not symptomless I had just learnt to live with it. All this time I had continued to take my regular anti inflamatory tablets and had also had a steroid injection in my left shoulder as another doctor has said the pain was due to the arthritis inflammation in the shoulder joint.
The consultant reviewed my bloodtests and sent me for x rays of my hands and a MRI scan on my shoulder .She said that the steroids would reduce the symptons of various problems and that she didn`t feel that it was polymyalgia I had
She advise continuing with reducing the steroids. I went back 3 weeks later she hadn`t yet got the results of the MIR but she sai d it wasn't polymyalgia or reaumatoid arthritis . At this stage I had had a trip at work jarring my left shoulder again and I had a lot of pain in both shoulders arms and hands. When I asked what was causing all the pain she said it was the arthritis and advised me to discontinue the steroids.but to increase the anti inflamotories
By this time I had been of work several weeks and when I went to the doctor for another sick note they said not to take so many anti inflamotories, so I cut them down and I am now taking no steroids and my usual dose of anti inflamatories and painkillers 2-3 times a day
my next visit to the consultant she said the MRI showed that I could have a tear in the tendons in my shoulder and she would refer me to the orthopaedic consultant.
I go to see him next week I am still having pain in both shoulders and my neck , my fingers are painfull and I get pins and needles in my hands when doing anything. I can just about lift both arms up but with no weights and only for about 10-15 lifts front and side before its too painful My neck is stiff and I have lots of headaches and feel tired most of the time.when I have my left arm bent say carrying something or holding a book it starts to hurt from my neck and collarbone right down my arm to my hand . This will go away if I stop what I am doing and just let my arm hang or put it out straight, bit this sometimes takes a while and even the painkillers don't dull it
to sum up and sorry its such an epistle but I would like to know if any of these symptoms are similar or the same as others out there with polymyalgia I feel that is what most of this is and I am tempted to restart the steroids say on 20mg just to see if that relieves the symptoms I am having. My last blood test show a small rise in the markers they look for that indicate PMR abut I had not long stopped the steroids when it was taken. I am due to have another in a couple of weeks to see whats happening . maybe that will shed some light, maybe No seems to be giving me any clear answers and its getting me down I am still off work but cant afford to stay off so I need to know the future prospects are
I would be grateful for any feedback and if anyone else has had similar diagnosis problems