More questions: #1/2

This is an awesome forum. There is information here that literally exists nowhere else on the Web. Thank you all for participating so spiritedly.

My PMR presented with a month of disabling unilateral shoulder pain, with increasing difficulty lifting my bad arm away from my body, difficulty in getting dressed, etc, followed by the virtually overnight emergence of pretty severe bilateral shoulder pain, bilateral hip pain, generalized stiffness, and malaise. Here is today's question #1: looking back, I now recall having had very similar unilateral shoulder pain in the same shoulder that initiated my current presentation, 3 years ago. That bout of shoulder pain spontaneously resolved after a few months, without residual symptoms. Does anyone have an opinion as to whether that bout represented some sort of premonitory manifestation of my otherwise characteristic diagnosis of PMR?

14 Replies

  • Very possibly - but the textbook version of PMR and reality tend to diverge somewhat!!!!!

  • Hi,

    Could be, although a gap of three years with no apparent problems between the two episodes does make the connection improbable, although not impossible.

    Has your life between the two episodes become more stressful, or have you had any other trauma which may have left your auto-immune system more compromised this time around.

    Many people do report stress and trauma as being common occurrences in the build up to PMR or GCA.

  • Only if you count the death of my wife, mother, and father, in quick succession, and the loss of relationships with two girlfriends one after another, as stressful...ugh

  • Think you qualify on those grounds... Sorry - that really seems very bad luck.

  • Yes, then a lot of stress, and a prime candidate for PMR.

    I’m very sorry to hear that. I lost my husband four years ago during my GCA, and I know how life becomes very difficult.

    Please don’t take offence at what I’m going to say, but you now need to look after yourself.

    I think you need to accept what you’ve got, realise you can’t rush it - it’s not like most illnesses you’ve had to deal with over the years - PMR has it’s own agenda, it seemingly comes along out of the blue, stays as long as it wants, and then goes when it’s ready! It will not be bullied into going before it’s ready, we’ve all tried believe me! Once you accept that is the case, you become in control. At the moment you’re not - you’re trying to short circuit the system - and you can’t. You can make life easier for yourself, but you can’t make it go before it's ready.

    If you haven’t read this, please do - and look at it as a patient, not a doctor. You’ll know lots of it, but some may be new to you.

  • Clearly words of wisdom. Thank you.

  • Arnie- if you want words of wisdom - look no further than DL........!

  • My PMR pain was very one-shouldered to start. I thought it was a recurrence of ‘injury’ previously attributed to tree lopping and wall-papering on separate occasions. But was it the first rumblings if PMR? OR did PMR take advantage of a weakness?

    Maybe I’ll find out at the other end of this journey, if I’m left with problems in that shoulder. Currently I’m just happy that pred has it zapped.

  • mine also..Dr first treated it as bursitis or rotator cuff injury, then it spread across and too the legs and I just felt too rotten for it to be a shoulder injury, I've had could be that the injury to the shoulder and a stressful week brought the whole thing on...who knows...I had something similar to this 8 years ago where I had to miss almost 3 months of work and I was really bad that time..could not lift anything or hardly walk...that time a rheumy said it was probably my thyroid...gave me a pack of prednisone that was high and then stepped down every week, plus went on thyroid meds..eventually got better by summer..."only" lasted about 5/6 what was it...same as now only this time its not as severe but seems like its gonna be long lasting...thyroid levels are good...inflammation levels up..on 20mg of pred, feel pretty decent most days...cant do to much though or I pay for it....still learning that lesson weekly..haha...when you play you pay...

  • Very similar to my case - on all counts. However, within a week or two my symptoms developed rapidly into the ‘classic’ case of shoulder & hip pain and the terrifying prospect of disability. Fortunately, I was persuaded to get a private consultation and diagnosis took about half an hour!

  • It is perfectly possible that it had a trial run with you, gave up and then came back with more troops. Something similar happened to me during a period of extreme family stress. I was convinced that it was a physical manifestation of depression. I spent a fortune in private therapy and would tell her " but it feels so physical". It was milder. The stress kept on coming. There was no doubt about it's rather dramatic manifestation this time. I could hardly walk through the groin pain, or lift my arms higher than waist level and weight was dropping off.

    The "depression" lifted with my first dose of Prednisalone and never came back. At least I gained some insight!

  • Take a look at my post posted three months ago 'Have I had PMR for years or just a month'. You can access it by clicking my name in blue above this reply. The post and responses may help answer your question.

  • Interesting...and so many odd presentations...

  • I guess we all want to know where our illness began and whether it could have been identified earlier but there doesnt seem to be an answer to that one.

    You are so right in identifying that this forum has more insight and experience of PMR and GCA than anywhere else. And your own insight and experience will add to the knowledge gathered here. Welcome.

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