Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a clinical syndrome characterized by severe aching and stiffness in the neck, shoulder girdle, and pelvic girdle. It is classified as a rheumatic disease, although the etiology is undetermined.
PMR causes severe pain in the proximal muscle groups; however, no evidence of disease is present at muscle biopsy. Muscle strength and electromyographic findings are normal. Some evidence suggests the presence of cell-mediated injury to the elastic lamina in the blood vessels in the affected muscle groups.
PMR is closely linked to giant cell arteritis (temporal arteritis), but this is believed to be a separate disease process.
Synonyms and related keywords: PMR, giant cell arteritis, rheumatic disease, temporal arteritis, stiffness, aching, pain in the proximal muscle groups, stiffness in the proximal muscle groups, Gel phenomenon, stiffness after prolonged inactivity, polymyalgia rheumatica
Geofrey Nochimson, MD 2006