What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?

First described in the 1950s, polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a type of vasculitis, or inflammation of blood vessels, characterized by muscle pain and stiffness.

When blood become inflamed, blood flow is reduced and contributes to pain in various areas of the body, sometimes even resulting in destruction of the blood vessels themselves.

PMR is the sudden onset of inflammation in large arteries specifically, and affects only certain areas of the body:

  • Neck

  • Shoulders

  • Hips

  • Torso

PMR is systemic, meaning it affects many of the body’s systems (arteries and muscles).

PMR is self-limiting, meaning it typically runs its course with or without medication. Healing is accelerated by the combined use of oral medication and self-care measures.

There is no conclusive proof of the cause of polymyalgia rheumatica, and why it affects certain types of people more than others.

Learn more about PMR in this section - scroll down or click a topic at left.