Symptoms

The most common symptom of polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is pain and stiffness in the shoulder muscles, which develops quickly over a few days or weeks.

You may also have pain in your neck and hips. Both sides of the body are usually affected.

The stiffness is often worse first thing in the morning after you wake up. It starts to improve after about 45 minutes as you become more active.

Some people with polymyalgia rheumatica also:

  • feel very tired
  • lose their appetite
  • lose weight
  • have depression

When to get medical advice

See a GP if you have pain and stiffness that lasts longer than a week. They'll investigate the cause.

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When to get immediate medical advice

Contact a GP immediately, use NHS 111 or go to your nearest urgent care service if you've been diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica (or it's suspected) and you suddenly have:

  • a severe headache that does not go away
  • pain or cramping in your jaw muscles that's worse when eating
  • pain in your tongue when chewing 
  • vision loss or vision disturbances, such as double vision

These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition called temporal arteritis.

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