If your doctor strongly suspects PMR, you will receive a trial of low-dose corticosteroids. Often, the dose is 10–15 milligrams per day of prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone, etc.). If PMR is present, the medicine quickly relieves stiffness. The response to corticosteroids can be dramatic. Sometimes patients are better after only one dose. Improvement can be slower, though. But, if symptoms do not go away after two or three weeks of treatment, the diagnosis of PMR is not likely, and your doctor will consider other causes of your illness.
The diagnosis of the disorder is suggested by the health history and physical examination. A health care professional frequently notes muscle tenderness and that the motion of the shoulders is limited by pain. The joints are usually not swollen. However, signs such as swelling of the small joints of the hands, wrists, and/or knees can occur. Blood testing for inflammation is generally abnormal, as indicated by a significant elevation in the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (sed rate or ESR) and/or C-reactive protein . There are no specific tests, however, for the condition and X-rays are normal. The diagnosis is based on the characteristic history of persisting muscle and joint pain and stiffness associated with elevated blood tests for inflammation, such as the ESR. It is also not unusual for patients to have slight elevations of liver blood tests .