More than 50 million American’s suffer from the common ailment called Arthritis. Under the umbrella of arthritis are more than 100 different types of arthritis, some more common than others. A rarer form of arthritis is called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, which affects the muscles rather than the bones.
In Polymyalgia the joints or bones will not be affected but instead the muscles will become sore, tender and inflammation will cause them to be stiff. The common areas affected are the lower back, thighs, hips, shoulders and the muscles of the neck. Some sources attribute the pain due to the swelling of blood vessels in muscles.
Symptoms can include severe stiffness and pain located in the muscles, but there should be no associated weakness just pain. The pain is found in the thighs, hips, lower back, shoulders and neck. Accompaining the pain can be low energy, fatigue, sweating at night, slight fever and loss of appetite. Also commonly associated are anemia and depression. The onset is often in the 5th decade of life and more common in females.
A condition that is often associated with polymyalgia rheumatic is giant cell arthritis. The arteries of the temple area of the head start to narrow and can become occluded, this can affect vision. This is usually in people over 50 years of age and affects both male and female.
Some early warning signs of giant cell arthritis include the skin around the forehead and temple area become swollen, the blood vessels in temple area becoming visibly swollen, visual disturbances like blurred vision or blind spots, and discomfort with chewing movements of the jaw.
The cause of the disease is not really understood. There may be a genetic component but lifestyle factors have been heavily implicated. Most people can recall a preceding stressful period or event before the onset of the disease.