I am a 53-year-old female. I started with stiffness in the hips and shoulders/upper arms in October 2017.
With an ESR of 36 and CRP of 23.8 the doctor thought it could be PMR and started me on 20 mg of prednisone. It did not provide immediate relief but after about a week it helped. I was referred to a rheumatologist.
I saw the rheumatologist in January 2018 who did further testing and wanted me to reduce the prednisone. He was not convinced that it is PMR.
I have had x-rays of the chest, lumbar spine, S I joint and hips, ultrasounds of the abdomen and pelvis and an MRI of the spine and hips. I reduced the prednisone from 20 to 0 over a five month period because he did not want me on the prednisone when I was having the MRI. The stiffness came back. My bloodwork has shown negative results for rheumatoid arthritis, the MRI did not show any signs of ankylosing spondylitis and I have an appointment in February with a dermatologist to check an itchy spot on my scalp for psoriasis which could lead to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis. I have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis and spondyloarthropathy and have the gene HLA-B27.
The rheumatologist keeps prescribing anti-inflammatories not thinking that it is PMR but some form of arthritis. I am now on Indomethacin and have tried Celebrex, Arthrotec and Meloxicam over the past four months. They take the edge off but do not get rid of the aches and stiffness in the upper arms hips and thighs. I have tried physiotherapy on the upper arms but found it very painful with no results.
I have had cortisone shots in both hips and shoulders. These helped for about 3 to 4 weeks. Very strange that when I got the shot in my shoulder, the following day my hips felt better too! I have told the rheumatologist that the prednisone is the only thing that has worked but he does not want me on it when I see the dermatologist in three months.
In my four appointments with the rheumatologist, he has said he does not think it is PMR because I am in my early 50s, the prednisone should’ve worked immediately and not taken 1 to 2 weeks and my inflammation markers are lower than typical PMR. (My ESR has been 36, 47 and 48 and my CRP was 23.8 and 17.6)
I am curious as to how high inflammation markers of other PMR suffers have been and also how quickly the prednisone has worked. If it is arthritis shouldn’t the anti-inflammatories help? The pain and stiffness is not in the joints but feels like it is in the muscles.
My biggest challenges now are getting out of bed, seizing up after being in the car or sitting for a while and getting dressed (especially putting on socks and putting my arm through a sleeve).
My next appointment with rheumatologist is in December. Any advice on convincing him to try prednisone again?