How to Exercise for Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Posted November 14, 2009 by sarahghaynes
Categories: Body care

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Today I have put together a short post about physical exercise, what you can do, what you should try to do, and what you should not do.

This also forms part of my Free 10 day mini e-course available at

It also includes a brief portion about learning to de-stress with a simple breathing and relaxation method. As much as exercise is important so too is providing your body with opportunities to recover and relax.

With PMR its very important to bring stress levels down and remove as much stress from your environment as possible. Stress is not a great support element under any circumstances and does not fit well with Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

All stress reduction and minimization procedures have the technique of deep breathing as their basis. Some steps that are important to deep breathing exercises are relaxed and deep inhalations, which make full and expansive use of the entire chest cavity stretching the muscles in the diaphragm to their fullest extent.

Try this lying down and while doing the slow breathing imagine your body completely relaxing, in all locations.

This is a good practise to do at various times in the day. Although you may be busy try to do a relaxing exercise for 5- 10 minutes very 2-3 hours.

Physical Exercise. When you begin an exercise system, remember that you have a disease and the body is fighting that disease. You must always listen to your body and never, never over do the exercise.

Always begin (and end) with flexibility or stretching exercises. If you are keen and feel up to it then Yoga and Tai chi are useful flexibility exercises. However for many just simple stretching exercises are extremely good.

For beginners use reach stretches and touch toe stretches. For more advanced try leg, arm, shoulder, neck, and back exercises to stretch and manage muscle flexibility.

The “use it or lose it” mantra definitely applies to muscle flexibility. To decrease daily joint stiffness and maintain or
improve range of motion in joints, stretching is ideal.

And stretching muscles while they are warm reduces injury. However avoid the bounce when you hold a stretch, and always remember to stretch after finishing a workout.

If you are game and feel you can do this move to an aerobic exercise after stretches. Aerobic workouts require a high level of endurance. You should be able to exert yourself without becoming winded.

The lungs take in more oxygen, the heart pumps more blood to spread that oxygen throughout your body and the body converts the oxygen into energy more efficiently.

Getting your heart pumping may make you sweat, but the effort will reward you with improved metabolism, better mood, more energy, increased stamina, and, as studies show, decreased inflammation.

Useful aerobics exercise is cycling and or walking, and the best of all is aquatic exercise including swimming. However do not attempt high impact aerobics exercise or running.

If you are still keen try some muscular fitness exercises. Strength training makes your joints more stable. Strong muscles help keep bones positioned properly, and building muscle through weight-bearing exercise increases bone density, decreasing your risk for osteoporosis and fractures.

Lift light dumbbells or soup cans, use resistance bands or tubing, stand in a pool and push against water. Do slow, controlled movements, concentrating on proper form.

Do not over-train by lifting too much weight or performing too many repetitions or sets of exercises. Do not jerk weighted items quickly.

After warm down stretches a gentle massage to the muscular and lymphatic system enhances the detoxification of the muscular and other body tissues.

The relaxation of the muscular tissues and an increased circulation can be achieved through the application of gentle to strong heat on to the painful and affected regions of the body.

Remember to set realistic goals and listen to your body. Build your exercise routine slowly in five to 10-minute blocks of time, working up to 30 minutes total.

Exercise time is cumulative so you don’t need to worry about doing it all at once. Three 10-minute sessions throughout the day are as effective as one 30-minute session.

For further information on how to care for yourself with PMR …..CLICK HERE


Managing Our Thoughts With Polymyalgia

Posted August 18, 2009 by sarahghaynes
Categories: Body care

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Have you ever noticed how when you spring a happy mood that everything becomes light, and the it becomes much easier to achieve the impossible.
Everything looks and feels completely different.

But its not so easy to do with PMR especially when you have those ‘out of bed’ blues at that time of day when we should be bouncing to the tune of a fresh new day.

A lot of how we deal with life and the lemons that life gives us can be brought back to how we manage our thoughts towards them. And as much as its easy for me to pen them here(yes I know), I still want to impart to you what I picked up recently.

After digesting some articles on the subject I have put together my “GEMS” for coping with PMR. Base on worthwhile research the letters of GEMS stand for:

G Gratitude
E Exposure
M Meditate
S See

Now you probably think I’ve gone nuts and these words alone don’t really mean very much by themselves. So I will explain each one and then you may feel more comfortable with where I am coming from.

Gratitude is a composed decision to be thankful for what we have. The very decision releases us completely from the clutter in our mind about why, where, how, and who is responsible. It is in fact the key to true happiness.
Instead of fretting through what we do not have or what we are unable to be, take a step back and a big breath and express thanks for what we do have.
I strongly recommend a gratitude journal where you can write all the good things that you have in your life. On a daily basis write down the points that you identify are things to be grateful for.
And for every day have a “victory” component. Write down every ‘victory’ you have no matter how small. This will put a lot into perspective for you.

Monitor and control your exposures. These consist of thoughts, influences, and people.
Thoughts. Dismiss all negative thoughts. This takes practice and often we will still think negatively without realising it. Nip it in the bud and toss the thought away. A good strategy is to write the thought on a sheet of toilet paper and throw the sheet into the bin, or better still, the toilet. Try it!
Influences. Television and radio often carry the days news and 90% of that is negative. Trust me you do not need to know. Cut out all negative influences, and only watch happy or funny TV. And no talk back radio!
Also avoid depressing books.
People. Not so easy to do but you must take control of this. If someone is not pleasant to be with be up front with them. They will respect you for it. But ask them to behave differently or not be there at all. You do not need it, and by dealing with it you achieve 2 outcomes – clearing out negative people, and feeling good about your yourself for facing the issue.

Meditation means different things to different people and I am not proposing any specific process here. Quietly – if you can give yourself some periods of the day where you are quiet and relaxed, then this is highly beneficial, and in some cases more than enough to achieve.

If you can also incorporate a meditation technique or self hypnosis, then these too become very powerful healing processes, for the body and especially for the mind.
The addition of ‘affirmations’, then completes this process. This combination then becomes significantly more powerful for assisting your mind to deal competently with the daily stress’s of PMR.

Finally use visualisation techniques to paint a different picture than the one you hold in your mind. It is scientifically proven that the subconscious mind can not tell the difference between an eye-captured vision and a mind-created vision. If you permanently imprint a vision of a healthy ‘you’ getting about easily, without the inhibitions of the PMR then eventually this will become your reality.

The world is now experiencing the truth about healing via the mind, and there are many stories where seemingly fatal situations have been overcome. Please do not dismiss this process. I accept that PMR is what it is, and I’m not so naïve to think that we can just push it away. I just ask you to use the techniques and see what it does for you – it won’t hurt you anymore will it?

So there you have my GEMS. I hope that these introduce some thought process’s that will help you deal with PMR more constructively. Of all the information there could be on the internet there is virtually nothing that teaches us how to “think” about PMR.

I hope that my GEMS help you in some small way, even if nothing more than to give you some amusing reading.

To discover more on how to live with polymyalgia please CLICK HERE.

All about Prednisone

Posted August 11, 2009 by sarahghaynes
Categories: Medication

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Prednisone (sometimes spelt Prednizone) is an ordinarily used oral glucocorticoid medication. In the body the adrenal glands turn out a natural glucocorticoids, that are manage many functions in the body including upkeep of blood pressure, proper use of sugar, protein, and fat metabolism, reply to stress, and plenty of other jobs.

When steroids, like prednisone, are taken either by mouth or intravenously, they’re known as
exogenous steroids. It is important to understand that taking glucocorticoids can impact the capabilityof the person’s own adrenal glands to keep producing glucocorticoids. When this occurs serious complications may arise.

The chances of diminished adrenal gland output increase as the dose of outside steroid exceeds the typical daily equivalent output of the adrenal glands. This is normally about 5.0-7.5 mg for
prednisone. If treatment continues for more than a fortnight or on a long term program, doses are given late in the day or in split measures. In some cases long-acting corticosteroid preparations are used.

People who require high doses of prednisone for extended amounts of time often will develop
side-effects. This is in excess of 20mg per day. Taking steroids on an alternative day ( each other
day ) schedule lessens the possibility of adrenal insufficiency but does not get rid of it altogether.

The use of prednisone for Polymyalgia should be considered with the potential risk benefit analysis. These benefits and risks have to be discussed with your rheumatologist.

Prednisone is generally always used by rheumatologists to treat Polymyalgia. It is most often used sparingly (as sparingly as possible), in low doses because of the potential side effects. The
unfortunate aspect of PMR is that for most the prescription will be for the course of the illness, so ask the rheumatologist about how you can minimise the potential for steroidal side effects. And be sure to identify a prescription reduction regime – ask about it.

Make sure you get as much information as you possibly can from the specialist (and elsewhere), and set your self up to minimise the possible downside of extended prednisone use.

What is PMR – Polymyalgia Rheumatica

Posted August 10, 2009 by sarahghaynes
Categories: About PMR, Body care

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Around the world today Arthritis of many kinds is suffered by millions. Arthritis variations number in excess of 100, although there are a handful that are extremely common. Amongst the rarer variations is a disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica(PMR), a variation that is unique because it affects the muscles as opposed to the bones. And it is as poorly understood as it is rare, causing uncomfortable pain in people aged mainly over 50 years of age

At a ratio of 2 to 1, it affects women more than men, and is predominantly an affliction of the western world. Its a syndrome that was first recognized and named Senile Rheumatic Gout, more than 100 years ago. Confirming the lack of ready information on the disease, it was known my many names until 1957. At this point it was discovered to have a link to Giant Cell Arteritis(GCA) also known as Temporal Arteritis.

This revelation permitted the discovery that PMR was much more common than was first envisaged, and the connection between the two diseases was further enhanced by the discovery that each disorder only occurred in the absence of the other. Prevalent symptoms of PMR are known to be synonymous with the the following; aching and stiffness around the upper arms, lower back, and thighs. Surprisingly, symptoms can arise overnight, although in most cases it manifests over several days, and even up to a few weeks. Symptoms are felt on both sides of the body, and there is no variation by left or right sides.

It is common that the ability to raise arms above the shoulder is severely impaired. Mornings are a particularly tough time, when aching and stiffness are prominent and usually at there worse. Periods of inactivity will also create similar problems, although as the day progress’s the aching improves gradually. In some cases there is quite severe pain at night. Usually manual activity is a struggle but more so as you first arise from sleep, or arise from a sitting position. And Occasionally aching will occur in distal joints – the hands and wrists.