Top 18 Strategies to Help Get Through PMR
Although we all experience differing severity and course with PMR, there are some helpful strategies to help relieve the discomfort and stiffness that go with the condition.
I have collected 18 Top Strategies to Help Get Through PMR from various support group suggestions. So the following advice is from actual folks like you and me who suffer from PMR.
Top Helpful Suggestions:
- Prednisone! Many of us fought to avoid the use of Predi due to concerns of the long-term side effects, but in the long run, we ended up taking Prednisone and found the greatest relief with this medication. For those of you who have been successful going at PMR without the use of steroids, I commend you (and wish that it was me).
- Remove inflammatory foods from your diet. For most of us, this means removing gluten and sugar at the very minimum. Many follow different diet plans to help reduce inflammation that causes our pain and stiffness. I wrote an article and have many recipes on my BLOG site to help with dietary modifications. See > My blog article on diet
- Split your dose of Prednisone between am and pm if you are waking up very stiff. It is wise to discuss this with your Dr first. You may have more sleep disturbance on the higher doses, but it did not affect me any differently. I never slept much at night anyway when on higher doses, but I am sleeping fine now on a lower amount.
- Rest as needed. I call PMR the “disease of self-care.” You need to listen to your body and rest as needed or it will delay your healing and you will pay for it the next few days.
- However, it is best if you still move daily. Gentle exercise such as walking is great way to keep moving. Other exercise suggestions are tai chi, yoga, stretching. I walk daily and plan to add tai chi and swimming to my exercise regime.
- Join a PMR support group such as a Facebook support group. There are many PMR groups out there and some sufferers belong to more than one group for support. Not many medical professionals or friends and family are familiar with or understand PMR, so having a group of people who "get" you and what you are dealing with is very gratifying.
- Keep stress at bay the best you can. Stress has been found to compound pain and stiffness. I know that sometimes it is impossible to avoid stress but knowing that stress can add to your distress may help to stay mindful about keeping away from toxic people and situations. One way to manage stress is to consider some job changes to remove stress, if possible.
- Try a heating pad to sit on or wrap around your shoulders and neck. Here is the one I have from Amazon > heating pad
- A hot tub or soaking in a warm bath is helpful. Add 1 cup of lavender Epsom salt to your bathtub to help ease muscle pain and cramps. I actually had a soaker tub installed when we renovated our bathroom just to have the ability to utilize the tub as therapy for my PMR. Remember to add a few shower/tub railings or handles to grab onto when in the tub so you do not get “stuck” or slip and fall. I ordered the lavender Epsom salt from Amazon. Here it is> Lavendar Epsom Salts
- Some have found relief with physical therapy. You just have to make sure that your PT is very familiar with PMR and not go at you like you are an” athlete in training” and make the problem worse. Gentle stretching and pain modalities to help you feel better should be the goal.
- Many say that acupuncture has brought great relief for them. I plan to try this to help me get off the last 5 mg of Pred.
- Try a TENS unit for pain control. If you have a specific spot where you are most tender, a TENS unit may help. You may get one from a physical therapist or order online.
- Talk to your Dr. about MAGNESIUM. Magnesium helps with muscle cramps and discomfort. Many of us are low in magnesium so ask your Dr to test your serum magnesium level. There are many types of magnesium so it is best to find out which one works best for you. I take a combination of magnesium in one tablet. See my blog on this site discussing magnesium > Magnesium Blog.
- Find a physician who listens to you and understands PMR. Several types of doctors manage PMR, such as your general practitioner, a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, a naturopathic or functional doctor, an internist, vascular medicine physician, and an orthopedic physician. So, if you are dissatisfied with your current treatment or physician, call around and see who is skilled in the treatment of PMR and try a new doctor for a better fit.
- Some say that CBD and medical marijuana help get them through PMR struggles from sleep, anxiety, depression and discomfort. It is easier than ever to obtain a medical marijuana card now-a-days. You can go online and find a telemed physician or nurse practitioner to get you set up.
- Let go of chores that you can not do at present. Be gentle and forgiving with yourself. If you can’t take care of the garden anymore, so be it. Resting and not overdoing it are more important in your recovery and daily comfort than having the perfect home. There are many days that I can not even scoop the cat litter. Luckily, I have a husband who will pick up some essential chores (even though he hates cats!).
- Try to maintain a positive attitude. Learn to accept the disease as we have no choice but to go on. So, we might as well make the most of our good days, rest on our bad days and carry on with a positive outlook. I know that this is easier said than done, but a joyful perspective can color our world brighter than doom and gloom. Find something rewarding or fulfilling to do each day and keep your mind filled with thoughts other than your PMR and discomfort. I can’t babysit my grandkids for an entire day due to fatigue but I enjoy seeing them for short periods of time. So I invite them over for a specific yet quick visit whenever I feel up to it. Since I had to retire early due to PMR, I have taken up writing to give me a sense of achievement and purpose. So, finding your new (hopefully temporary) normal is vital to happiness when living with a chronic condition.
- My last tip is one from me. Tell your friends and family that you need to take a “Dr prescribed nap” every afternoon. You need the rest and this established YOU time takes the pressure off to be ON all the time. My family honors this daily rest time and I can rejuvenate for an hour or 2 and then be back in the swing of things to make supper and carry on. Otherwise, I am whipped and pay for it the next day. For me, “rest” has to be stretched out in bed or reclined in my easy chair with all muscles relaxed. Scrolling through my phone or reading make my arms tired so if I want to truly refresh my body, I relax ALL muscles and just watch tv or sleep.
I hope that these tips are helpful to ease your discomfort and keep on going (somewhat) smoothly with PMR.
Have an awesome day everyone!