Experience a dramatic turnaround in your symptoms with treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica in Encinitas CA
Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is a common yet still elusive condition. The cause of PMR’s characteristic muscle pain and stiffness is largely a matter of speculation, and its symptoms are frequently confused with other conditions such as fibromyalgia. Since board-certified rheumatologists like Dr. Peter Lloyd specialize in diagnosing and treating joint-, muscle-, and bone-related diseases, they recognize PMR when they see it, and can expertly manage both it, as well as recognize a serious condition associated with polymyalgia rheumatica: giant cell arteritis (GCA).
Treatment for Polymyalgia Rheumatica starts with diagnostics you can trust in Encinitas CA.
Research suggests that PMR is rooted in inflammation, either of the joints themselves or the sacs (bursae) around the joints. So, what may be experienced as pain in the upper arms and thighs, can originate from shoulder and hip joints. This “referred pain” is to blame for PMR being misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, fibromyalgia, and other diseases.
Dr. Lloyd and the team at Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center may order blood tests to detect inflammation. Even so, the results of tests to evaluate C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation (“sed rate”) can be either abnormally elevated or only slightly high, even normal among PMR patients. Dr. Lloyd looks at the totality of information in front of him, including your symptoms, to determine if PMR is to blame for debilitating stiffness, or if conditions such as RA should be treated instead.
If he suspects PMR, a trial of low-dose corticosteroids may be recommended. Sometimes, all it takes to get relief is a single dose; however, if symptoms don’t improve after two or three weeks, Dr. Lloyd may rule out PMR and consider other diseases and options for treatment. During your course of treatment:
- The dose may be reduced as your body responds to the medications, as the goal is to prescribe the lowest dose that keeps you comfortable
- Dosing reductions are gradual because symptoms are sensitive to even small changes
- Symptoms may recur, especially as the dose is lowered
- Small doses may be prescribed for a year, or two to three years of corticosteroid use may be needed to get the aching and stiffness under control
During a consultation at the Encinitas office, Dr. Lloyd will discuss the side effects of these medications with you. Follow-up visits are necessary to monitor for bone loss, as well as vision changes, and persistent, severe headaches, which may indicate giant cell arteritis. Polymyalgia rheumatica is a risk factor for GCA.
With treatment well-managed by the team at Seaside Rheumatology and Wellness Center, patients who formerly had difficulty with daily activities – from dressing themselves to getting into their cars – can now get back to the activities they love and need for a healthy quality of life. Call 760-509-2429 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Lloyd.
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