NCTV Episode 88
Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-
- What is PMR?
- The symptoms to look out for
- How it’s treated medically
- Self-care strategies
- Lifestyle changes to consider
If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-
Hello and welcome to NCTV Episode 88 which is all about Polymyalgia Rheumatica.
Polymyalgia rheumatica, or PMR, is a medical condition that causes pain and stiffness in the muscles of the shoulders, neck, upper arms, hips, and thighs and usually both sides of the body are affected. To break down the word polymyalgia itself, poly means many and myalgia means muscle pain. The symptoms can develop gradually or suddenly and it mainly affects individuals over the age of 50. PMR tends to be more common in women than in men. While the exact cause of PMR is unknown, it is believed to be related to inflammation in the body. As such, it is often mistaken for arthritis or other types of joint problems.
The symptoms of PMR can be quite debilitating, making everyday tasks such as getting dressed or climbing stairs challenging. Most commonly reported is muscle stiffness in the morning that lasts longer than 45 minutes but other symptoms may range from fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, weight loss and depression. Symptoms can often be worse during or after a period of rest. Fortunately, there are several things that people with PMR can do to help themselves manage the condition.
First and foremost, it is essential to work with a healthcare professional to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. If you’re experiencing symptoms of PMR, as described, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely perform a physical exam and blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
It’s worth noting that PMR can occur alongside another medical condition known as Giant Cell Arteritis which causes new persistent headaches at the side of the head, scalp tenderness, vision changes and jaw pain when eating. This is a serious condition and if left untreated it could lead to blindness or stroke, so be sure to get it checked out immediately if you suffer from these symptoms.
Back to PMR and treatment for this often involves the use of corticosteroids, which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. However, corticosteroids can have side effects, so it is crucial to find the right dose and duration of treatment. Post steroid use, taking calcium and vitamin D supplements may help to combat the potential steroid side effect – osteoporosis.
While there is no cure for PMR, in addition to medical treatment, there are steps you can take to manage the condition and improve your quality of life. One of the most effective self-care strategies is regular exercise. Exercise can help improve muscle strength and flexibility and reduce pain and stiffness. The type of exercises that can be helpful may be stretching and low-impact activities like walking or swimming. However, it is important to work with a physical therapist or other healthcare provider to develop a safe and effective exercise program that takes into account any physical limitations or restrictions.
Another self-care strategy that can be helpful for people with PMR is to prioritize rest and relaxation. PMR can be exhausting, both physically and emotionally, so it is important to take breaks throughout the day and get plenty of rest at night. Engaging in stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can also be helpful as can hot baths or showers.
Finally, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage PMR symptoms. This includes eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Maintaining a healthy weight can also help reduce strain on the muscles and joints.
In summary, while PMR can be a challenging condition to manage, there are several things that people can do to help themselves. Receiving a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential, but self-care strategies such as exercise, rest and relaxation, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also be helpful in managing symptoms and improving overall quality of life.
That’s it for this week’s bitesize bit to help your health flourish and I’ll see you again next time! By for now!