Could I have fibromyalgia as well as PMR/GCA

Hi All

Sorry for another post -

Diagnosed with PMR/GCA last June, I have had 3 flares and each time my dose has been increased, resolved the temple pain and most of body pain. However, my last flare over a month ago, (stress related - I am now off work), the increase for a week settled the inflammation - temple pain and the usual stiffness. However, I am definitely developing further pain, but in different areas, both knees, ankles, elbows, lower back, back of neck and intermittent collar bone discomfort. (Back, knees and neck being almost constant) My fatigue is worse and I am more miserable. These pains do ease with paracetamol, although not completely, which I know is not the usual with PMR, a friend who has fibromyalgia says this is where her pain is located - could I have developed a secondary autoimmune condition or is this further PMR?

Any advice or experience on this would be greatly appreciated. I have just reduced to 13.5 mgs, almost back down to my lowest dose of 13mgs.

Many thanks as always.

17 Replies

  • Hi

    I am no expert but I know their are several who have both illnesses so yes it is possible. However it could be anything so I would go back to your GP. I know it is hard working and finding time to rest although you are off sick at present .

    Are you trying to do too much as if so this will have a effect on your recovery and it is still early days for you .

    I was diagnosed in Sept 15 and managed to get down from 15 to 10 however had to go back to 12 and know struggling to reduce .Trying the dead slow and stop method I think patience is the answer to this illness.

    I hope you get yourself sorted others will advice you further

  • HI Rose 54

    Thanks for your reply. I am actually being very good, I sleep and rest loads, I have no idea how I managed to work actually. Although my brain is more relaxed and I am no longer stressed - I am not actually feeling physically any better which is a disappointment.

    I was started on 40mg, and the Rheumy said I may have problems getting below 15, which appears to be the case - it just seems strange I am now getting pain elsewhere - I have an appointment with him in a couple of weeks so will ask him.

    Thanks for your reply, best wishes to you and your tapering too!

  • You could have, it is possible to have both - or the diagnosis of PMR may not have been the whole truth. About 1 in 6 patients who are first dx'd with PMR get a revised dx at some later point - very often late onset RA which can appear identical to PMR but although it does respond to pred it isn't as good a response.

    Definitely something to flag up to your doctor - if you were diagnosed with PMR/GCA I assume you are already under a rheumatologist?

  • Yes I am under a rheumatologist, and have an appointment with him in a couple of weeks, unfortunately, although I believe he is excellent in his field, he is really difficult to talk to.

    Thanks for you comments PMRpro

  • Pretty sure you can have multiple conditions. I have osteoarthritis and my rheum doc says probably fibromyalgia since I have all the tender points. It was the osteo and fibro aches that originally sent me to a rheum doc. Along the way my sore shoulders blossomed into classic PMR pains along with my hips/pelvic area and neck. My doc always reminds me that my diagnosis may change to late onset rheumatoid arthritis, which PMRpro mentioned. Sometimes I feel like my body is just one big "itis and algia" party.

  • That made me smile SusanElevenm 'itis and algia' - I almost feel I am turning in to a hypochondriac, I constantly seem to ache somewhere! And constantly tired - such a change - I was always so active and full of energy.

    Hoping my Rheumy may shed some light in a fortnight when I see him, but he is not easy to speak with .....

    Best wishes and thank you for your reply

  • I hear you! I'm always exhausted now and nap quite a bit. The joke in my household is me planning to accomplish things and then announcing "I am going to scale back my expectations for the day."

    One other thing...when I first started prednisone in late winter all my aches vanished. Not just PMR pains but also the arthritis. Now with barometric pressure ups and downs, humidity and rainstorms (things that have always triggered everything from aches to migraines) all my old familiar aches are back. Now that I have a feel for PMR I can tell the difference.

  • Hi SusanEleven,

    Another thing about aches and pains - when you first start Pred it has a tendency to mask all pains whatever they are caused by. However, as you reduce doses the 'normal' aches and pains of life come back! As we all find out somewhen along the line. Enjoy😉

  • Yes! I honestly completely forgot I had arthritis in those early days of pred.

  • Ditto!

    Trouble is - it's back with renewed vigour now. In the meanwhile, it's probably deteriorated anyway and you haven't realised because some or all of the pain was masked. Ce le vie!

  • You have clearly been through this. All true!

  • Yes I rub out of spoons so conserve them. That's what I mean exactly - these pains are different - not my usual PMR/gcA - I seem to know that - but what they are I don't know - and as you say the weather is all over the place.

    Time will tell I guess

  • I was diagnosed with PMR summer of 2014 and GCA fall of 2015. Around Christmas 2015 I started getting PMR-like (but not exactly like) pains which my rheumy diagnosed as fibro because the dose of Pred I was on for the GCA should have covered any PMR symptoms she felt. And I think she's right. The pains are similar but not exactly the same plus pain relievers seem to help whereas with the PMR they never did. I hope you don't have another diagnosis on top of what you have. It seems sometimes that once the autoimmune stone gets rolling it seems to gather more and more moss!


  • Thanks animi - that's very interesting and sounds very similar to what I am experiencing.

    Thanks for you reply.

    Best wishes

  • I was diagnosed with Fibro long before PMR. Having it on top of PMR really stinks, it's so hard to tell where the pain is from sometimes. Fibro isn't auto immune but seems to cluster with them. Good luck!

  • PamelAnneCT,

    Yes you're quite right about fibro not being autoimmune, I worded that poorly. I was thinking of my diagnoses more, my first autoimmune one was autoimmune inner ear disease (AIED) and I was extremely ill with that, and then others seemed to pile up. I think I had PMR long before it was officially diagnosed as in my history it said "patient feels very very stiff", but because I went on high dose Pred for the AIED it took the symptoms away until I was off it a few years later and they came back.


  • Don't be sorry for making another post. That is what this forum is all about. It allows those who don't know to learn from those who do.And it could be that you have asked a question that another person wants the answer to but didn't know how to ask. We all learn from one another.

    Yes you can have both but as others have said you should really speak to your doctor as the pain could be caused by any number of things. Being more tired and miserable can be a side effect of the steroid. I had it for a little while the first time I had PMR but it hasn't been too bad this time around.

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