Medications, Physical Therapy, and Lifestyle Measures


Polymyalgia rheumatica treatment nearly always involves medications called corticosteroids (also known simply as steroids). While these drugs tend to be highly effective, some people experience intolerable side effects that require other medications — either along with a low dose of corticosteroids, or instead of corticosteroids.

For some people, physical therapy, exercise, and other lifestyle measures can relieve pain, stiffness, or muscle weakness linked to polymyalgia rheumatica, Mayo Clinic notes.


Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that can reduce or eliminate stiffness and pain in people with polymyalgia rheumatica, according to the Arthritis Foundation. They are the main type of drug used to treat PMR.

Because corticosteroids are powerful drugs with the potential for serious side effects, they are prescribed at a low dose in people with polymyalgia rheumatica. If your symptoms improve once you start taking corticosteroids, it’s likely that your doctor will reduce your dose to an even lower level. This often happens after two to four weeks of treatment, according to Mayo Clinic.

Corticosteroids may cause the following side effects, Cleveland Clinic notes:


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