This condition describes an inflammatory process that affects the muscles. It is characterized by stiffness, pain and limitation of movement of the hips and shoulders in particular. General malaise, weight loss, night sweats and fevers may also be associated. The condition is often association with inflammation of blood vessels.

Arterial inflammation may be found in 50 per cent of cases and if left untreated can develop into neurological problems if it affects the arteries in the nervous system or brain. This may include blindness or stroke. Polymyalgia rheumatica is considered an autoimmune disease – one where the body’s immune system attacks itself. This generally occurs after a prolonged subclinical allergy, usually a food intolerance or an incorrect response to a viral, bacterial or other infection. A full constitutional view, taking into account the well-being of the individual from birth onwards, is necessary to speed up the process of repair and prevent further autoimmune disease settling in. The Eastern philosophies would look upon this particular condition as being a stagnation of energy and excess heat in the blood.


Any unexplained loss of power or pain that persists must be reviewed by a doctor.

Investigations will show a raised ESR and other changes.

If there is any evidence of inflammation of the arteries then steroids should be used.

Plant extracts that include steroids are used by experienced herbalists and Chinese-trained physidans, but the quantity is variable depending upon the distilling process from each plant and, although available, I think in PMR with arterial involvement conventional drugs should be used.

In cases where arterial involvement is not present, herbal treatment under the guidance of an expert may be beneficial and should be continued until the patient has been symptom-free for at least three months. A trial period without treatment may allow symptoms to return, in which case the treatment should be recommenced for at least another three months.

The condition is an autoimmune syndrome .

Yoga and Qi Gong, acupuncture and massage will all help the muscle groups and help move the stagnant Qi.

Allergy testing is essential and correction of diet aimed at removing allergens and heat-creating foods such as caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and refined foods must be adhered to strictly.