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Natural treatment & home remedies for polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica is a condition which causes a pain and stiffness in the shoulders, neck, lower back and hips. There are some cases when it can cause pain and stiffness in the hands or wrists. The pain and stiffness are worst in the morning or after long periods of rest, such as a nap on the couch or long car ride.

The stiffness can be so severe and it can limit movement which is preventing people with polymyalgia rheumatica from bending over to put on their shoes or they can have problems with lifting their hands above their heads to pull on a shirt. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica include difficulty moving the arms or affected areas through the full range of motion; pain or stiffness in the elbows and wrists, in some cases; both sides of the body affected by the pain and stiffness, rather than just one shoulder or hip; painful and stiff shoulders, upper arms, neck, back, buttocks, thighs or hips; pain and stiffness that is worst in the morning or after resting but gets better after activity, or as the day goes on. [1]

Risk factors for polymyalgia rheumatica include white race; women; genetics and older age. The causes for polymyalgia rheumatica are not known because it can come on quickly and it is more likely during certain times of the year, so people believe that is caused by an infection, such as virus. If you suffer from polymyalgia rheumatica, you need to talk with your doctor before you start using some of the below mentioned home remedies so you will avoid side effects.

Home remedies for polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica

Turmeric: Curcumin or turmeric can help in the fight against depression, pain and inflammation. There are many studies in which are found that it is very effective at managing symptoms of diseases related to polymyalgia rheumatica, such as rheumatoid arthritis. You should talk with your doctor about the best dosage recommended for you. [2]

MSM (methyl – sulphonyl – methane): MSM is a natural sulfur compound and our body needs to help in the fight against pain and inflammation in the arteries [3]. Usually, it is recommended taking a short – term daily dose of 1,000 mg to help ease the joint pain and inflammation.

Enteric – coated bromelain: It is known that this enzyme is derived from pineapple. It has been very helpful for many people with rheumatoid arthritis which has a very similar set of symptoms and inflammation as the polymyalgia rheumatica. There are some clinical studies in which are said that the bromelain supplements helped people to reduce their steroid medications and reduced inflammation. You should take about 600 mg per day on an empty stomach but talk with your doctor if this is recommended dosage for you.

Omega – 6 essential fatty acids: Omega – 6 fatty acids is natural anti – inflammatory oil which can help to reduce the morning stiffness in people who suffer from polymyalgia rheumatica. You can find Omega – 6 fatty acids in the borage oil capsules and primrose oil capsules. You should take 3,000 mg of Omega – 3 and 1,500 mg of Omega – 6 fatty acids on daily basis. [4]

Traditional Chinese medicine: There was one study in which was said that adding modified Yanghe Decoction to medical steroid treatment was helped patients to experience a boost remission rate and a decrease in disease activity and ESR. This can also lower the steroid dose faster compared to control group who took steroids alone.

Exercise or do physical therapy: Exercise can help you to get a relief from the pain and stiffness caused by the polymyalgia rheumatica in the morning. Also, it can help to fight against potential health risks caused by steroids. These include poor blood sugar control, bone loss, weight gain and more. You should start slow and easy while you are doing exercises. If you are not active, then you should talk with a healthcare professional about the best option for you. [5]

In the most cases, weight – bearing exercises, such as climbing stairs or walking, can be useful for preventing bone loss. It is very important for people who suffer from polymyalgia rheumatica to move their body even with low – impact activities and it is better than rest. You should find a helpful morning routine. Yoga, stretching or another set of morning exercises can help you to find a relief from the morning pain and stiffness. You should begin slowly and gently and you should gradually work to improve your range of motion or how long you hold posses. You should take it easy because too much of exercise can make your symptoms worse.

You should work with a physical therapist which will give you a customized set of exercises to ease your pain, relieve stiffness, fight inflammation and improve your range of motion. The physical therapist will consider your physical abilities, the type of the pain and stiffness you have in the morning and the key places. Also, he or she will consider what kind of limitations are causing your symptoms and what you are hoping to achieve with your therapy. When you are practicing exercises daily, then you will start to notice improvements in your morning symptoms very quickly.

Get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D: When you are getting in your older ages, your risk of osteoporosis is increasing. Also, the treatment of polymyalgia rheumatica can weaken your bones. This is a reason why you should add a lot of calcium and Vitamin D in your diet or through supplements so in this way you will fight against bone loss. You should add foods high in calcium, such as almonds; leafy greens; yogurt, milk or other dairy products; canned, bone – in fish, like sardines.

You should eat foods high in Vitamin D, such as mushrooms; fortified cereals; beef liver; fortified milk or juice; fatty fish or fish oil and eggs. Also, you can get Vitamin D through the sun so it is very important to go out in sunshine. It is recommended for adults aged 51 and over to take 1000 – 1200 mg of calcium per day and some adults may need more which is depending on their steroid use or other risk factors. Also, for adults who are 51 and over is recommended taking 600 – 800 IUs of Vitamin D per day and some adults may need more of this vitamin. You should talk with your doctor before you start taking or changing some supplements about polymyalgia rheumatica.

Get enough rest: It is very important to get enough rest which will give your body a time to recover so you can make exercises and daily activities of your life.

Stay hydrated: The proper hydration can help your body to combat the inflammation. You should drink two to three liters of water per day. Herbal teas or decaffeinated teas are great ways to stay hydrated.

Foods to avoid: There are some foods which are not recommended for the usage in your diet because they can worsen your condition, such as foods with added sugars; French fries or other fried food; margarine; pastries; white bread; processed meat, like lunch meats or hotdogs and read meat. You should always try to avoid these foods as much as possible so you should eat salads, steamed vegetables or an apple.

Stick with whole grains: You should consume whole grains, like quinoa, corn, brown rice, oats and more grains because they can help to lower the CRP levels in the blood which is an indicator of inflammation. It is known that sugars and refined grains are linked to increased inflammation.

Avoid inflammatory foods: Some inflammatory foods which you should avoid are red meat; fried foods; margarine; pastries; added sugar or white flour. Also, you should avoid any foods to which you have a sensitivity and which appear to worsen your symptoms.

Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables: This is very important for many diseases which are meant for fighting against diseases. There are many different fruits and vegetables which supply you with a broad number of nutrients as well as fiber, antioxidants and more. You should eat them fresh or you can bake them. Also, you can steam them or add them to your salads. You should avoid frying in a lot of oil or drenching them in sugary or fatty sauces. Some of the best anti – inflammatory fruits and vegetables include pineapple, blueberries, broccoli, beets, celery, bok choy and leafy greens.

Healthy fats: You should add healthy fats like Omega – 3 fatty acids in your diet and they are found in eggs, coconut oil, fish oil supplements, salmon and other fatty fish, walnuts and flax. [4]


[1] Arthritis New Zealand. Polymyalgia rheumatica – symptoms, diagnosis, treatment. Southern Cross. 2015. Retrieved from

[2] Kulkarni SK, Dhir A. An overview of curcumin in neurological disorders. Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2010;72(2):149–54.

[3] Kim LS, Axelrod LJ, Howard P, et al. Efficacy of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) in osteoarthritis pain of the knee: a pilot clinical trial. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 2006;14(3):286-94.

[4] Rajaei E, Mowla K, Ghorbani A, et al. The effect of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARDs therapy: Double-blind randomized controlled trial. Global Journal of Health Science. 2016;8(7):18–25.

[5] Geneen LJ, Moore RA, Clarke C, et al. Physical activity and exercise for chronic pain in adults: an overview of Cochrane Reviews. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017;2017(4):CD011279.

Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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