Polymyalgia Rheumatica Causes
What causes polymyalgia rheumatica?
Polymyalgia rheumatic has an unknown cause. It is not caused by side effects from medications. Although the abrupt onset suggests an infectious possibility, so far there have been no relationships found. The word ‘myalgia’ comes from the greek word meaning ‘muscle pain’, however tests of the muscles such as a biopsy are all normal. So unfortunately doctors are at a loss for Polymyalgia rheumatica causes.
Polymyalgia rheumatica causes the shoulders and hip joints and areas around the joint to feel painful. The pain that people may feel in the upper arms and thighs usually has it’s origin from the nearby joint like the shoulder and hip respectively. This is called referred pain. Polymyalgia rheumatic should not be confused with fibromyalgia, which shares some similarities but targets younger individuals and is not a form of arthritis.
Polymyalgia rheumatica has typical symptoms of stiffness and aching of the muscles of the upper arms, neck area, lower back and thighs. The symptoms can occur fairly quickly over the course of a few days or weeks, and in some cases overnight. Usually both sides of the body will be affected. Polymyalgia rheumatica causes commonly the shoulders and upper arms to be affected so much that raising the arms over head can be difficult.
The aching and stiffness is much worse after prolonged periods of inactivity, so getting out of bed in the morning can be particularly difficult and excessive sitting like a long car ride or watching television. There can be pain at night because of the stiffness, issues with getting dressed in the morning or arising from a seated position. It is rare but it can happen that there is aching in distal joints such as the hands and wrists.
Who gets polymyalgia rheumatica?
Polymyalgia rheumatic primarily occurs in older adults and very rarely in people below the age of 50. Symptoms generally have an onset at the age of 70, so people can be in their 80s and have Polymyalgia rheumatica. Women are affected nearly twice as much as men and the disease is largely a disease experienced by Caucasians. There is some debate as to how rare Polymyalgia rheumatica is with some suggesting it is more common in the elderly than rheumatoid arthritis.