Symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include weakness, a general feeling of illness, fatigue, and shoulder and hip stiffness, according to WebMD. Additional symptoms include occasional mild fevers and weight loss.
Polymyalgia rheumatica is an infrequently occurring condition characterized by inflammation that results in pain or aching in the large muscle groups, explains WebMD. Although the condition occurs infrequently, it develops very quickly and tends to primarily affect the areas around the shoulders and hips.
Although the cause of polymyalgia rheumatica is not known, it is believed that certain genes and genetic variations increase one’s risk of developing the disorder, notes the Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, environmental triggers, such as viruses, may also play a role and tend to develop in cycles or with changes in the seasons. Polymyalgia rheumatica can be diagnosed by undergoing a general physical examination to identify potential causes and rule out certain diseases, through blood tests, such as a complete blood count, to check for indications of inflammations, and magnetic resonance imaging or ultrasound imaging to look for inflammation.
Treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica can last for a year or more, but patients generally experience quick relief once treatment starts, says the Mayo Clinic. Treatment options include corticosteroids, calcium and vitamin D supplements, medications such as methotrexate and anti-TNF drugs, and physical therapy.