PMR Diet: Foods to eat and avoid

Posted by alan bruce @alanbruce, May 6, 2020

What foods to avoid and what food to focus on when on PMR

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) group.

@johnbishop

Hello @tonituin, Welcome to Connect. My PMR has been in remission since 2018 and I like to think diet and exercise play a large part in holding PMR at bay. If you haven't already seen my post earlier in this discussion, it has a couple of links you might find helpful – https://connect.mayoclinic.org/comment/309728/

Here is some more information that might help — 3 Strategies for Coping with Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR): https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/3-strategies-coping-polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr

Have you done any research or tried any diet related changes to see if they help?

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Thx For the very good information. I have found for me that avoiding deadly nightshade plants has really been beneficial. These include:
Eggplant (Fruit)
Tomatoes (Fruit)
Tomatillo (Fruit)
Potatoes (Vegetable)
Goji Berries (Fruit)
Pimentos (Fruit)
Peppers (Bell, Chili, Paprika, Cayenne) (Fruit)
Tobacco (Leaf). For me Potatoes especially creates a major pain and stiffness reaction

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@johnbishop

Hi Alan @alanbruce, thank you for starting this new discussion. It is a great topic. Notice I changed the title of your discussion a little to give it a little emphasis. I started looking at diet and lifestyle changes for helping with my autoimmune diseases after reading Dr. Terry Wahls book – The Wahls Protocol. She has an amazing story about how diet helped her MS symptoms – https://terrywahls.com/about/about-terry-wahls/

Here is a good article on Medical News Today that offers some suggestions.
What to eat if you have polymyalgia rheumatica: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321683

I've mostly focused on reducing or eliminating processed meats, sugar, fast food, and fried foods. Have you found anything that helps you?

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I bought an air fryer to use instead of frying food.

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I'm sure that an anti inflamatory diet would be a good idea if you can manage it. I take MSM becuase it is supposed to inhibit certain cytokines and seems to have no side effects. Does it help? Can't say that I can tell. Still had to up my steroids to quell symptoms. I still think that the Low Dose Naltrexone (I take 2 mg.) is helpful. Stopped the pain I had when I wasn't moving. (IE: sleeping) So worth talking to your Rhuemy about. They seem to be the docs most willing to consider it. Look up the research on it, it is fascinating.

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I try to eat healthy foods (greens and reds). Have pretty much cut out sugar and salt. That's about it. Trying not to stress over the small things. If my body is up for it, I go for my walk; if I'm too tired, I don't. Do some neck and shoulder stretches and also squeeze a ball to keep my hand strong, as PMR did cause "carpel tunnel" symptoms. My middle finger stiffens up occasionally. With the weaning process, I do find my legs very tired with general fatigue. Hopefully this will level off. Will mention this to the Rheumatologist on Monday next. All the best to you my friend.

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So happy to find this group, it's been a long and frustrating path to get my diagnosis of PMR. My rheumatologist is old school and unresponsive to my questions about diet and alternative ways to heal myself. I won't be seeing him again. Anyway, I am a yoga teacher (currently on leave) and know my body quite well. The pain from the shoulder and hip stiffness could not be stretched away which worried me. The doc put me on 5 mg prednisone and the pain went away almost immediately. Side effects of sleeplessness and jitters were upsetting so he then prescribed celebrex which I've been on for 2 weeks. I'm doing a mild yoga practice, walking and swimming but still have shoulder pain. Am I on the right track? I hate taking strong drugs and will begin an autoimmune diet, cutting out gluten, nightshades and sugar. I miss my students and want to feel better. Any advice appreciated. I am a 68 yo female who has always been active.

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@olliviv

So happy to find this group, it's been a long and frustrating path to get my diagnosis of PMR. My rheumatologist is old school and unresponsive to my questions about diet and alternative ways to heal myself. I won't be seeing him again. Anyway, I am a yoga teacher (currently on leave) and know my body quite well. The pain from the shoulder and hip stiffness could not be stretched away which worried me. The doc put me on 5 mg prednisone and the pain went away almost immediately. Side effects of sleeplessness and jitters were upsetting so he then prescribed celebrex which I've been on for 2 weeks. I'm doing a mild yoga practice, walking and swimming but still have shoulder pain. Am I on the right track? I hate taking strong drugs and will begin an autoimmune diet, cutting out gluten, nightshades and sugar. I miss my students and want to feel better. Any advice appreciated. I am a 68 yo female who has always been active.

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Welcome @olliviv, It sounds like you already have a head start and a great mindset for dealing with PMR. I think physical activity along with healthy eating habits of the right kind of foods that help with inflammation is one of the best things we can do to help our bodies deal with PMR. I would hate to do it without prednisone but it does help to taper off as soon as your body allows it. Both occurrences of my PMR were started with 20mgs of prednisone. It took me 3 and half years to taper off the first time but that was before I made some lifestyle changes which helped the second time around and allowed me to taper off in a year and half.

You might find this site helpful.
— Diet and Supplements for Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR):
https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/diet-and-supplements-polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr
There are a lot of other conditions that mimic PMR which may be why you've had a long and frustrating path to get your diagnosis of PMR. Here's more information on the topic along with a list of questions you can ask your doctor if needed.
— Diseases that mimic polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR):
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diseases-that-mimic-polymyalgia-rheumatica
Are you totally off of prednisone now and taking only celebrex and still having shoulder pain?

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@johnbishop

Welcome @olliviv, It sounds like you already have a head start and a great mindset for dealing with PMR. I think physical activity along with healthy eating habits of the right kind of foods that help with inflammation is one of the best things we can do to help our bodies deal with PMR. I would hate to do it without prednisone but it does help to taper off as soon as your body allows it. Both occurrences of my PMR were started with 20mgs of prednisone. It took me 3 and half years to taper off the first time but that was before I made some lifestyle changes which helped the second time around and allowed me to taper off in a year and half.

You might find this site helpful.
— Diet and Supplements for Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR):
https://www.arthritis-health.com/blog/diet-and-supplements-polymyalgia-rheumatica-pmr
There are a lot of other conditions that mimic PMR which may be why you've had a long and frustrating path to get your diagnosis of PMR. Here's more information on the topic along with a list of questions you can ask your doctor if needed.
— Diseases that mimic polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR):
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diseases-that-mimic-polymyalgia-rheumatica
Are you totally off of prednisone now and taking only celebrex and still having shoulder pain?

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Thank you for the speedy reply John. I am off the prednisone now and am not sure if I should continue to take it? I don’t even know if I actually have PMR as well. The CRP and ESR blood tests came back with no inflammatory markers too. I’m waiting for a friend to get back to me with info about a more open minded rheumatologist who I will happily see. Has anyone else on this thread used Celebrex? Steroids scare me.

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@olliviv

Thank you for the speedy reply John. I am off the prednisone now and am not sure if I should continue to take it? I don’t even know if I actually have PMR as well. The CRP and ESR blood tests came back with no inflammatory markers too. I’m waiting for a friend to get back to me with info about a more open minded rheumatologist who I will happily see. Has anyone else on this thread used Celebrex? Steroids scare me.

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If you are doing OK without the prednisone, I'm with you on not taking it. I think Celebrex can be used in mild cases of PMR from what I've read. Here's some info from the Arthritis Foundation.

"A subcategory of NSAIDs called COX-2 inhibitors also may be used. Examples of COX-2
inhibitors include celecoxib (Celebrex), rofecoxib (Vioxx) and valdecoxib (Bextra)."
— Polymyalgia Rheumatica: https://static.medicine.iupui.edu/divisions/rheu/content/patienthandouts/Polymyalgia_brochure.pdf

NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors also come with their own set of risks and side effects.
— Cardiovascular Risk Associated With NSAIDs and COX-2 Inhibitors:
https://www.uspharmacist.com/article/cardiovascular-risk-associated-with-nsaids-and-cox2-inhibitors

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My rheumy suggested celebrex also for some extra pain I was having (at our age there is regular osteoarthritis to consider). Since I also have Crohn's (inactive) I got the blessing of my GI dr first, which was go ahead. I tried it (no change in pain) and on day 5, I woke up with non stop heart burn that otc antacids couldn't help, so I stopped the celebrex. So, what I'm saying is, be careful and listen to your body. But I think you know that.

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@olliviv

So happy to find this group, it's been a long and frustrating path to get my diagnosis of PMR. My rheumatologist is old school and unresponsive to my questions about diet and alternative ways to heal myself. I won't be seeing him again. Anyway, I am a yoga teacher (currently on leave) and know my body quite well. The pain from the shoulder and hip stiffness could not be stretched away which worried me. The doc put me on 5 mg prednisone and the pain went away almost immediately. Side effects of sleeplessness and jitters were upsetting so he then prescribed celebrex which I've been on for 2 weeks. I'm doing a mild yoga practice, walking and swimming but still have shoulder pain. Am I on the right track? I hate taking strong drugs and will begin an autoimmune diet, cutting out gluten, nightshades and sugar. I miss my students and want to feel better. Any advice appreciated. I am a 68 yo female who has always been active.

Jump to this post

I opted not to take the steroids. I’m doing Dr Gundry’s lectin free diet, going to physical therapy, doing dry needling, and using CBD cream, and gummies. My pain is lessened so much, and I feel like I’m getting my life back. Good luck to you!

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