PMRGCAuk
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Exercise while on Prednisone for PMR

I am down to 2 mg after a four year battle with PMR (finally diagnosed after two years). I have tapered off 2 times with flares both times. I am one year on Prednisone again after the last flare and two days ago I tried to use my Treadmill at a very, very slow walk for about 15 minutes. The next day I felt pain in my hips and last night I had the burning thighs again, the sore shoulders and aching hips. I don't know what to do. But I worry that "if" eventually my PMR goes away will I always be unable to exercise for fear of a flare-up. I would hate to go the rest of my life with stiff legs and hips and the inability to walk any distance. Should I ride this out and wait a few days before uping my dose.

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Instead of 15 mins - try 5. And can you walk outside? Walking normally is different from on a treadmill - a treadmill is always the same, normal walking you change your pace length, you vary your speed and the incline changes - and both of those mean your muscles aren't repeating the same motion which is what is poison in PMR with exercise. I found I could do more by walking for 5 mins, having a rest and walking home. Having done 5mins and rested the next day I did it again a couple of times providing I had been fine on the rest day between each exercise day.

The pred only relieves the inflammation, the underlying disorder causing it is still chugging along in the background and causing damage to your tissues, It makes your muscles intolerant of acute exercise and you suffer extended and more severe DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). You have to train again - but it means starting very small and increasing perhaps only 1 min at a time. It doesn't mean you can't - it just means you have to go about it differently.

I've had PMR for nearly 14 years - I still exercise. Just differently. I found aquafit particularly good - and that was without being on pred, it kept me mobile and allowed me to do adapted Pilates and Iyengha yoga. Since I moved somewhere without the option of a pool I walk. Into and round the village when we go to do the shopping, about half an hour most days on a circular route. When I started it I was on crutches and I could barely manage 200yds in and the same back. I increased the distance slowly and once I'd worked through the very short, the short, the slightly longer and the longest circular walks, I worked on speed until the 45 min walk was down to a 30min one. I could do double if we walked to a restaurant, had a leisurely lunch and walked home. In Malta a few weeks ago we were walking out for up to an hour or more a few times, having a break at a cafe and walking back.

It will happen - don't worry.

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Thank you so much. I knew I would get sound advice from you. I do remember that when I first had symptoms and was going to an Acupunturist he told me NOT to use a treadmill but to walk outside instead. I should have listened to his advice. I live on a cul-de-sac so it would not be a problem for me to do this. Thanks again.

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Only just read today's posts about exercise. I haven't posted for a while because of confusion about what is causing my chronic lower back pain. It is not a flare as we thought and treated accordingly going up to 30 mg of Pred. I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and a number of other problems with the spine. I am waiting for major surgery and in the meantime am on the DSNS reduction plan and am down to 5mg. I have had PMR for 5 years and although I still have pain and stiffness I know now that it is not PMR that is causing it. I enjoyed exercise before diagnosis, walking, swimming and cycling at a level appropriate to my age (71). I really miss this and found today's posts very interesting particularly PMRPro. Thank you everyone for the sound advice. I do try to walk a little each day with the aid of a stick. I will take on board the very sound advice about increasing exercise slowly and gradually. It's very tempting to push yourself a bit further too soon. Thanks again everyone. I don't post often but do read the posts every day. A Happy and Healthier New Year to you all.

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I also had a combination of spinal stenosis and PMR - the spinal stenosis came first although the diagnosis of both problems was complicated by the interaction of the pain and stiffness caused by both. I have had major surgery on my spine and am reducing the prednisolone - now down to 8/7.5 after a flare which involved an increase. Walking any distance is still a problem, probably due to the combination of stenosis, PMR and prednisolone so please don't expect too much too soon after surgery! However I am fine indoors, over short walks and with clinical Pilates so there is light somewhere along the tunnel! Best wishes for your surgery and gradual improvement.

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Thank you for your reply. It's good to hear from someone who has had a similar problem. Often we blame PMR for all our pains and stiffness but on this occasion it was the stenosis but this didn't become clear until I had scans taken. Not sure how long I will have to wait for surgery but I'll keep my expectations of the outcome realistic. Best of luck with your tapering and recovery.

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Indeed, the combination of two ailments did cause confusion both to me and to the various doctors! However once the diagnosis was settled everything did start to fall into place. I hope you don't have to wait too long for surgery and can keep reducing the prednisolone.

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Yes I hope I can finally say goodbye to Prednisolone although it will take me about a year to get there. Hope you can too.

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I am sorry to hear of the discomfort you are having after light exercise. I don't have an answer. I'm 13mos into PMR and between 8 and 7mgs. I find I always have to be careful about exercise and to rest a body part if I have pushed it the day before. Usually, however, the soreness is confined to the body part I exercised. The fact that you are getting pain in areas that weren't worked as hard is probably what is troubling you the most.

What I have found that has worked for me is a hot shower and spending time with a heating pad or two. Certainly skipping the exercise until things are resolving.

Good Luck

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I think you might be underestimating which parts of the body are involved in walking on a treadmill!! It really involves a lot more to keep your balance - so legs and back are included. And if you have any myofascial pain syndrome - your back may be affected disproportionally. It isn't fair ...

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PMRpro,

Not sure if your last reply was directed to me.

For once I was trying to be less lengthy. LoL l had to stop doing the treadmill because of neck and arm problems some years ago. The height of the grab bars was too high and created more shoulder and neck issues. Before botox in my trapezius and neck muscles even walking fast or on uneven surfaces could inflame my upper back and neck. And that was before PMR. So yes.

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It was - and yes, you see where I'm coming from?

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Yes

PMRpro. I definitely do see where you are coming from.

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Most gym equipment seems to be made for men of 5ft 10inches and above!😉

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I always find I do better when walking outside but the weather (bitter cold and snow) has made that impossible for the moment. I once complained to a PT who said " of course, its harder on your legs" like everyone knows that. She said to raise the incline to 5% and to go slower and less distance. It does help but the first few times my knee acts up. I leave rest days inbetween. I start small and slowly build up. (Even though I can do more outside) It also seems that before PMR I could exercise and have a good soreness that would soon fade. Now the soreness doesn't feel good and it takes much longer to recover from. There's also that worry that creeps in about if it's just normal muscle soreness from use or the start of a flare. I often have that internal argument of go slow & easy/ push a little & make some progress. I know the first is the way to go but sometimes it's hard.

Anyway to make a long response short- give a few days for exercise soreness to go away and remember that heat packs are wonderful!

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Slow and steady on steepest incline you can manage is supposed to be as good as jogging. That's what I used to tell myself.

I find that outdoor walking helps keep feet and ankles more supple as well as balance. Those little adjustments that body (usually but not always) makes seems to help my mobility. Such as it is .

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Unfortunately after 5 years I have found that the more I do the more it hurts and the more I don't want to do. It's a vicious circle and I love to exercise or at least I did before this hit period for the first couple of years I kept pushing it and trying to keep exercising only I kept doing less and less and less because it kept hurting more and more. So now if I even walk up to my mailbox and back it increases the pain exponentially for the next week or two. I hate it because I want to go for a walk with my wife but it's just not worth the extra pain cuz I'm still trying to function in my job everyday. If I took prednisone I could do more but I have such severe side effects which have already been discussed on here that it's not possible. I wish the best for all of you to be able to be as active as you possibly can because movement is life

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I think keeping working is hard and probably explains your increased pain on exercise. Certainly when I worked, pre PMR, but with chronic back pain and fibromyalgia i spent last 2 years of job on bed rest as soon as I finished work Friday until 5am Monday morning when the pain cycle started again. I am in admiration of anyone can work with pmr/gca!

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Poopadoop - can I ask did your pain ease when you finished going to work every day? Did it help the situatin? Thanks.

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Yes it eased. Took a while for me because initially there was expectation I would return to work but in my heart I knew I couldn't. Once I finished and effectively retired on ill health it was like a massive weight had been lifted and I was able to focus on listening to body. Just reducing stress had big impact on pain management. Like others I wondered how I had time to work! I did a fair bit of swim walking to get fitness back and got a dog which I had wanted for years but unfair whilst working. I did a few courses as I wanted. In Sum it was better than a hand full of pain killers.

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Thank you very much - some days I fel I can't go on - afraid I'll pack it in and then not be any better at home! Thank y ou for y our reply.

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I feel like i have a life and you can't put a price on that!

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Following the advice on the forum has helped me come to terms with exercise. In my 40’s and 50’s I trained in a hard core, body building gym with no air conditioning. With PMR I started lifting 2 then 3 now 5 pound weights. Initially, I felt like a wimp. Now I’m grateful. I do around a half hour per day. Alternate Zumba with weights.

Thanks to PMRpro, I do a short walk after lunch and rest period weather permitting. At first, day was done after lunch,

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I will just add my two penny worth to this conversation. I don't do any exercise other than walking but my daily work often involves some lifting etc. Luckily having started on 15mg I was soon able to reduce to the one or so mg that I'm now on. I still have pain in biceps when lifting and problems lifting arms high up etc but can function fairly normally. It seems -at present as far as pmr goes I may be one of the luckier ones?

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