polymyalgia or rhumatoid arthritis: Hi everyone i... - PMRGCAuk


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polymyalgia or rhumatoid arthritis


Hi everyone i have just joined today for some much needed information, currently waiting for a rhumatology app , but back in march I was an active healthy 49 yr old then started getting stiffness in my hips that then moved to knees, shoulders, collarbones and now my ribs, have been xrayed and at first dr thought it was muscular and prescribed paracetamol but it took a visit to a physio to arrange blood test that then prompted the hospital , currently on co-codamol and nurofen but i feel so fed up, cant do all the things that i used to like putting socks on lol , has everyone on here got these symptoms for polymyalgia or could this be rhumatoid arthritis, i always arthritis got better as the day went on,

When i get my blood results back what am i looking out for,

any information would be great , thank you

29 Replies

Without knowing lots more details that you don't yet know it is impossible to say whether it is PMR or RA since RA can present looking just like PMR and there are no simple ways of telling one from the other. PMR is the name given to a set of symptoms due to an underlying disorder and there are several of various sorts so lots of tests should be done to rule the others out. Once you have done that and found none of them - you can say it is probably PMR.

snoopy29 in reply to PMRpro

Thank you , at least now i am in the system so hopefully wont have to wait to long for my hospital app just so frustrating the length of time everything takes to get moving.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to snoopy29

If your GP suspects RA is a possibility then it should mean a speedy referral because the sooner they start treating the better in the long run. But with Covid - maybe all bets are off!

Hello and welcome to the forum.

With any luck you can look for relief from your first prescription of 15 mgs of Prednisalone. In fact your doctor could prescribe this as a diagnostic tool for PMR. The relief is miraculous. Good luck!

thank you, will maybe make another appointment for the gp and talk it over with them, i am finding this forum so helpful :)

It also does it's magic on RA, so not necessarily exclusionary.

It is used by some Rheumatologist as a bridging therapy until DMARDs kick in, apparently. Pain relief is pain relief.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to SheffieldJane

I think the point GG is making is that pred ISN'T a foolproof diagnostic tool for anything. It is just another building brick.

SheffieldJane in reply to PMRpro

Sorry, I meant to agree. I was diagnosed by my positive response to PMR but RA was not in the picture. Not feeling very clever today.

Snoopy29 is in a lot of pain.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to SheffieldJane

Due to what?

SheffieldJane in reply to PMRpro

That’s the million dollar question but inflammation seems to be playing a part, don’t you think?

Good Luck with diagnosis but my first introduction to PMR over a year ago, was much like yours: my legs felt like LOGS as were so heavy to plod ahead. Hips/thighs. Tested & diagosed PMR and yes, the low dosage seemed to scare away the disease (autoimmune system is compromised) and eventually tapered off the pil after a few months. So, good luck to you.

snoopy29 in reply to jarn

Thank you , i live in a 3 storey house so thats fun as i worry that my knees are going to give way and its quite scary but its a real boost that if it is PMR there is light at the end of the tunnel , hope you are well now and i will never take good health for granted.

Juliey43 in reply to jarn

Hi did you manage to completely come off the pills in 3 months?

PMRproAmbassador in reply to Juliey43

There are various causes of the symptoms we call PMR and no definitive test - a small number of people have a version that lasts less than a year.

jarn in reply to Juliey43

Hello. The first go round with PMR, I was only on 5mg of Pred but still had to taper off that, so in total, likely 5mos. However, with my second attack which turned to GCA, was on for 7mos but had started at 100mg, then to 60 etc and finally tapered to 2.5 . Have been off since middle of July (but had also started Tocilizimab (TCZ) for 2mos before that

Do you know what blood tests the GP ordered? As then the results might give some clues.

Unfortunately it can be a long wait for a rheumatology appointment, so the more you can push your GP to take action the better. Depends on the area, if you are lucky in will be a few weeks, but could be months.

I have RA, and am being investigated for PMR on top. So I’m no expert but what you describe sounds more PMR’y to me than RA.

snoopy29 in reply to helixhelix

Hi sorry for delay the bloods were for gout, thyroid, and inflamation markers but getting them done again on mon so this time i know what the results mean, there was something that came back low and that could of been because i was dehydrated but because i know very little about this i didnt know what to ask but i do now :)

My GP ruled out RA by testing me for Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and anti-CCP (no idea!) however I gather that they aren't conclusive tests.

PMRproAmbassador in reply to PurpleNDH

A negative RF is not a way of ruling RA in or out - people can have a positive RF and be perfectly healthy and a negative one but have seronegative RA. Anti-CCP is better in that if it is positive it is pretty indicative of RA developing at some point in the future but again you can be seronegative as well as having a low reading and being healthy


RA can present looking just like PMR but over time things develop - and there is no way to know in advance.

helixhelix in reply to PurpleNDH

Yes the anti-CCP is the most useful one. It rarely gives a false positive, so if you test positive then 96% certain you have RA. But it can give false negatives - so although testing negative means it’s highly like that you don’t have RA that isn’t 100% guarantee. But pretty good indicator, so weights see-saw towards PMR.

Let’s hope your GP is proactive

Thanks everyone feel I know what to ask the gp about now

My symptoms of PMR were very similar to those that you're experiencing but mine began in the shoulders and crept downwards. It does take a long time for diagnosis and we all understand the frustration of being unable to do the simplest of things which is distressing. I hope that you get answers very soon and are given the medication you require. Please let us know how things go. 🙂

snoopy29 in reply to 123-go

thank you i will, :)

My bet is a rheumatologist will say it is RA because you are 'too young to have PMR' which as we all know on here is nonsense but happens all too often, especially if 'bloods are normal so it can't be PMR' too. I'm sorry but I have lost all faith in rheumatologists. When you finally get your appointment be ready to refute those two old chestnuts if they crop up and make sure they go by symptoms and medical history.

Thank you yes I will , waited along time to be seen so want the most out of it

I used to love Kung Fu on TV. There was a bit in it where the young trainee says to the head monk Master Khan, “How come you can hear your heart beat” and Mater Khan say “Grasshopper, how come you can’t?”.

I have to tell you that the two conditions are not mutually exclusive. I have had RA for nearly 30 years now and about 3 years ago, also developed PMR and quite soon afterwards, GCA. It does make treatment slightly complicated, but I just wanted you to be aware that it might not be a simply either/or diagnosis.

snoopy29 in reply to Odosmum

Thank you for the heads up , 🙂

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