Frightened by pains in my face: Diagnosed with PMR... - PMRGCAuk

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Frightened by pains in my face


Diagnosed with PMR twelve months ago and now struggling to taper down from 7mg daily I am today experiencing strange pains in my face concentrated round my eyes and nose.

I often have pain in my jaw and temple but my GP has ignored my comments about them and assured me that the steroids will prevent the onset of GCA.

Some of you will know I have been highly stressed by losing my ESA sickness benefit this week and I'm wondering if the additional anxiety has caused these pains. I am also experiencing pains in my instep, calves, stomach and shoulders.

I had a panic attack yesterday and saw an emergency GP at my practice who asked me to repeat blood tests; booked for Friday.

Would the GCA sufferers advise please and maybe put my mind at rest. Many thanks,


15 Replies


Pains where you describe could be from your sinuses. Have you tried taking Paracetamol to see if they go away? If they do, then it should reassure you that it's not GCA pain.

Everything I've read here says that around 7mg (I'm there too!) is a difficult time, with our adrenals ready to start working again. I can relate to your concern about any new pain and wondering what it might be. The recent stress and anxiety must be having an effect on you.

When you have the blood test on Friday, can you ask if there's anyone in the Practice you could talk to about all these worries. My GP recommended a counsellor when I was having a difficult time a few years ago - just someone 'neutral' to talk over things.

You know to go to A & E if you do get visual disturbance.


Zebedee44 in reply to Rugger

Thank you for your reassurance Sue. The pains started during Countdown and I was thinking of you.

I am already attending a course in Emotional Coping Skills provided by the Mental Health Team, but their approach is mindfulness which is a long learning process and I am right at the start. Depression and anxiety has been a large part of my life for the past 25 years and I have seen many excellent counsellors in that time. This PMR is the straw that breaks the camel's back, and quite possibly a result of many years Of stressing!!

I do hope not to have to report to A and E during this current hospital crisis, so taking support from the good caring folk on this forum, as ever. I will try some simple remedy like paracetamol, thanks

CHrissie xx

yogabonnie in reply to Zebedee44

hope this can help a bit. my relaxation/yoga tracks.

(something to do in the middle of the night if you get worried!)

Zebedee44 in reply to yogabonnie

Thank you Yogabonnie, that was great. I shall enjoy going to that calming place through my breathing.



Hi Chrissie

Anxiety and panic attacks can cause face pain. We grind and clamp jaw a lot during such attacks so that won't help. The stress hormones won't help. Please try some deep breathing to help you loosen up all the muscles. Like rugger says try and get go to refer you for some counselling. Most practices have one attached to them.

Hope you feel a bit better soon. 🌻🌻


They won't stop the onset of GCA if the dose isn't high enough - why does he think they use higher doses for GCA than for PMR? However - I suspect the others have hit the nail on the head and it could well be tension.

But if you DO develop visual problems - if you can't walk into the surgery and get someone to see you as an emergency, at least call 111 and get a doctor to speak to but A&E if that doesn't work.

Zebedee44 in reply to PMRpro

Thank you for that very considered and supportive advice PMRPro


Many a time I’ve used the Paracetamol test for face or head pain. If it works a treat rather than just taking small edges off it, it ain’t GCA. Don’t know how scientific that is or what a Rheumy would say.

Zebedee44 in reply to SnazzyD

Thank you. I wonder how much of it results from gritting my teeth when I am stressed. Maybe a glass of wine would relax me.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to Zebedee44

Worth a try.

DorsetLadyPMRGCAuk volunteer in reply to Zebedee44

Worth trying anything (within reason!) to try and relax - whether that be a glass of wine, listening to music, Yoga, going for a walk, nice warm bath, even watching a soppy old movie!

Appreciate it’s easier said that done sometimes, but you need to switch off occasionally! Your body can’t take too much stress, and yours seems to be overloaded at present.

Take care.

Hello - yes perhaps just 'stress' and not to worry you - but I would still be cautious and keep an eye on things. My GCA started with what I thought were sinus/allergy pains in face and eyes - not responding to antihistamines or panadol. i also had some unusual small blue flash type spots which affected my vision (and returned recently when my dose went to my lowest ever - 12.5 mg). Problem was I was already on a moderate dose of Pred for PMR when this happened so never confirmed with the biopsy - but a high dose GCA of steroids quickly resolved the visual and facial ( and some occipital) pain symptoms. i was suspicious about regarding this as sinus stuff as i had no congestion and had never had anything 'allergenic' with THAT degree of throbbing face pain. Not saying it IS GCA - and others have given different perspectives which may be more appropriate and/or 'correct' but if you get any visual stuff of course I am sure you will get it checked-out promptly to be on the safe side. In the meantime do take all best advice given here to relax and not worry unnecessarily.

Best wishes

Thankyou all for this support. Knowing you were all there to share your experience and advice was a real comfort.

The pains subsided with a beta blocker but I am still aware of tension in my face today. No visual disturbance.

My inflammation markers will be checked tomorrow, meanwhile the sun is shining so I will Try to take things easy


I to had eye, forehead and pain across the bridge of my nose. I thought it was all sinus then I found a picture of the arteries in the head and all my pain was right in the areas of the arteries. also the jaw pain I thought was teeth showed arteries ending right there. Find a picture. It showed me I have been affected far longer than I thought .

Zebedee44 in reply to mngirl

Thanks, I looked at a picture of the arteries in the face but was confused by what I saw. I'm still getting pains in my teeth and jaw but my inflammatory markers are ok, so I will try raising my dose a little and try not to stress!


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