What to do if you have this common rheumatic condition

Have you got PMR?

It stands for ‘Polymyalgia Rheumatica’ and it’s one of the most common inflammatory rheumatic diseases in older British people.

So, I expect that a fair few of my readers might have experienced it!

Certainly, PMR is on the mind of one Good Life Letter reader, Josie, who emailed me recently.

She writes: “I’ve recently been diagnosed. Tried to cope without medication, Prednisolone, but pain so bad, I’ve have had to resort to it. Been taking it 5 days now. Pain calmed down, but still not great.”

She tells me that the GP has said she can be on Prednisolone for 14 days, then she can stop without having to be weaned off it.

However, she wanted more information about the condition before she makes a decision.

Of course, I am not a medical professional, so I can’t give any specific advice on this for Rosie – and you should always consult a professional for a diagnosis and treatment advice.

But I can – and WILL – happily share some useful info on the condition and suggest options for reducing the pain and discomfort the natural way.

What you need to know about this common rheumatic condition

Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) is an inflammatory disorder that causes stiffness and pain in the neck, shoulders, and hips, which usually gets worse in the morning or after being inactive for a long period of time,

It commonly affects people over the age of 50, with the highest incidence of PMR in those aged 70 to 80.

Women are more likely to be affected than men, with some studies suggesting that about two-thirds of PMR patients are female.

The exact cause is unknown, but experts think that it could be an immune system reaction.

Mainly the problem in the short term is pain and stiffness – but there is also a link between PMR and a higher risk of developing giant cell arteritis, a condition that can cause headaches, vision problems, and jaw pain.

The most common medication prescribed is Prednisolone a type of corticosteroid used to reduce inflammation.

It’s effective but it also has side effects (surprise surprise!), especially with long-term use.

My reader’s GP has advised that she can stop Prednisolone after 14 days without problems, so this short-term treatment plan could be enough.

But for longer term issues with PMR, there are also natural ways to help reduce the problem.

Natural ways to reduce pain and discomfort

First stop – diet….

It is worth eating more foods that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, such as fatty fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids), nuts, seeds, leafy greens, and fruits like berries.

At the same time, make sure you avoid pro-inflammatory foods, including ultra-processed meals, sugary snacks, and foods high in saturated fats.

Drinking more water can help, as dehydration usually makes stiffness and pain worse.

I’d also recommend low-impact exercises like walking, swimming and cycling – or even just going up and down the stairs a few times or jogging on the spot in the garden for 5 minutes.

This gets your heart pumping, your blood flowing and delivering nutrients to your muscle and joints.

Meanwhile, Pilates, yoga or Tai Chi can increase flexibility and reduce stiffness. Or a physical therapist can give you targeted exercises that help with join mobility.

It also goes without saying that maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the strain on joints and muscles, potentially alleviating symptoms of PMR.

And – as with so many health issues – getting a regular good night’s sleep is crucial for muscle recovery and reducing inflammation.

Finally, consider a supplement like krill oil (high in omega-3 fatty acids) which is in stock in The Good Life Letter shop here: Krill Oil

Krill oil is rich in EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two types of omega-3 fatty acids well-known for their anti-inflammatory effects.

Unlike fish oil, the omega-3s in krill oil are bound to phospholipids, which increase their absorption.

It also contains astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress.

There’s one more handy supplement that I can recommend for PMR sufferers too….

The anti-inflammatory food that’s always better with pepper

A good natural option for pain and stiffness is the spice turmeric, which contains curcumin. It is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to its anti-inflammatory powers.

Curcumin can neutralise free radicals and boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

The big challenge with curcumin is that it has poor bioavailability, meaning that it’s not easily absorbed by the body.

To improve this, I recommended taking it with black pepper (which contains piperine) or in a formulated supplement that enhances its bioavailability.

For instance, Together’s food supplement contains organic whole turmeric and a standardised extract of 95% curcumin.

It also includes an extract of black pepper, which improves the absorption of curcumin by up to 2000%.

You can find out mote here: Curcumin for Lower Inflammation

Anyway, I hope this information helps anyone out there