Muscle rheumatism is an inflammatory disease also called polymyalgia rheumatism. It causes you pain and becomes stiff in your body. When you receive treatment, the hassles usually quickly relieve or disappear completely. The disease usually heals itself over time.

It is not known what causes the disease. Muscle rheumatism is more common in women than men and rarely occurs before the age of fifty.

Symptoms of muscle rheumatism

Most often, the symptoms of muscle rheumatism come creeping for a few weeks.

It can start by feeling tired and hungry. You can also get a light fever and lose weight.

The typical symptoms of muscle rheumatism are pain and stiffness in large muscle groups. It is common for the pain to be most troublesome around the shoulders and upper arms, as well as the hip and thighs. The symptoms are usually equal on the right and left sides of the body. Often, the trouble is the worst in the morning and when you have been sitting still for a while. For example, you may find it difficult to get out of bed or to raise your arms over your head as you dress.

When should I seek care?

Contact a health care center if you think you have muscle rheumatism.


There is no special test to show if you have muscle rheumatism. The doctor will take a blood test to find out the sink or CRP that can show if you have an inflammation in the body. In muscle rheumatism, the test usually shows an increased value.

Treatment of muscle rheumatism

Muscle rheumatism is usually treated with cortisone in the form of tablets which usually have very good effects. The cortisone does not remove the disease but keeps the inflammation down until the disease has healed by itself. It usually takes 2-3 years, but can sometimes take longer.

You can start with a fairly high cortisone dose. You quickly feel better, often within a few days. After a time without symptoms of muscle rheumatism, you may lower the dose. The dose reduction is done gradually in small increments until you can finish the treatment of muscle rheumatism completely. Often things go well without you getting more symptoms and increased lowering, but sometimes you may need to temporarily increase the dose and then continue to lower the dose. You should not interrupt treatment immediately. The risk is great for relapse with muscle pain and rising lowering if cortisone treatment is terminated prematurely.

Taking cortisone for a long time increases the risk of osteoporosis. Therefore, you must take medicines to prevent it. It is common to have a type of drug called bisphosphonates, as well as calcium and vitamin D supplements.

For easier variants of the disease, you may receive treatment of muscle rheumatism with analgesic anti-inflammatory drugs, so-called NSAIDs or cox inhibitors.

Side effects

Long-term treatment of muscle rheumatism with cortisone can cause some side effects. Since the dose is low during most of the treatment period, there are usually no major problems.

One side effect that can occur in the beginning when you take a slightly higher dose is that you become overactive and have difficulty sleeping.

Some side effects that can sometimes occur are:

  • You can get swollen hands and feet.
  • You can gain weight.
  • Your skin can become brittle, you can easily bruise and it may take longer for wounds to heal.
  • You may get elevated blood pressure.
  • You may get elevated blood sugar.

Check during treatment

You may go on regular visits to the health center to make sure that the dose of cortisone you are taking is adequate to keep the inflammation down. Then the doctor will take blood tests to see your lower or CRP. Based on what the test shows and how you feel in the body, the doctor tells you how to dose.

Your doctor will also check your blood sugar and blood pressure during treatment.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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