Effect of long car rides on PMR

Posted by christopherc @christopherc, Sep 16 8:27am

I’ve noticed for almost as long as I’ve had PMR, which is close to two years that long car rides seem to exacerbate it even when I stop and get out and stretch and walk, roughly once an hour. Whenever I take a car ride of an hour or longer my stiffness and muscle soreness get worse and I seem to suffer headaches and a general fatigue and malaise for the rest of the day.

I was wondering whether others experienced this and if anybody has any kind of explanation for why occurs.

Thanks and I wish you all well and coping with this confounding disease.

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

Hi @christopherc – Yes, I've experienced issues with long car rides when my PMR was active. I still have the same problem with long car rides even though my PMR is in remission. Here's an explanation of sorts…

"PMR aches may be worse in the morning and get better as the day goes by. Being inactive for a long time, like on a long car ride, may make stiffness worse."
— PATIENT FACT SHEET – American College of Rheumatology: https://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/Polymyalgia-Rheumatica-Fact-Sheet.pdf

Hoping your PMR goes into remission soon!

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Yes, I definitely had a problem with car rides, specifically with driving, before I was formally diagnosed and got on prednisone. When the medical system wasn't helping me, after I had figured out what I had, I thought maybe I could just "gut it out" until the disease went into remission. Then I tried making a one hour drive. My right leg, kept in position on the accelerator, began to cramp after 30 minutes and the pain ramped up. I had to stop, get out, walk around and stretch for 10 minutes or so before I could continue. On the return trip, I had to stop twice. I found that if I was a passenger I could avoid the problem by moving my legs around regularly. Prednisone completely resolved the problem.

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@johnbishop

Hi @christopherc – Yes, I've experienced issues with long car rides when my PMR was active. I still have the same problem with long car rides even though my PMR is in remission. Here's an explanation of sorts…

"PMR aches may be worse in the morning and get better as the day goes by. Being inactive for a long time, like on a long car ride, may make stiffness worse."
— PATIENT FACT SHEET – American College of Rheumatology: https://www.rheumatology.org/Portals/0/Files/Polymyalgia-Rheumatica-Fact-Sheet.pdf

Hoping your PMR goes into remission soon!

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Thanks, John. I think I might have to stop for longer and walk more before resuming a trip. Best to everyone coping with PMR.

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So glad you asked this question. Just recently diagnosed with PMR and haven't seen my grandson, who lives a 3 hour car ride away, since May. I'm worried about what that ride will do to me, although my husband will be the driver. I'm not going to attempt it until the end of October. And I will move my legs around a lot.

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To me difficulty in travel is one of the hallmarks of PMR. During both times that my PMR was active I experienced extreme issues with travel. Sitting in a confined area for a period of time exacerbated the symptoms and it was hard for me to even get out of a car without help. I hope you achieve remission soon. All the best to you and anyone else suffering from this debilitating condition.

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Absolutely a long car ride will cause worsening of the symptoms of PMR. We were going to return home from the beach in one day and I could not walk when we stopped for a rest. We had to get a room and break the trip up. We make it a two-day trip going and should have done the same returning home.
I have not been able to get my symptoms back under control since. It has been three weeks. I have had to increase my prednisone, which I hate to do.

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Just getting into a car is difficult. Getting out of the car, even after a moderate (30 – 45 minutes) ride, can be near impossible without help. Your hips, butt, legs and feet all feel like they're painfully asleep and so numb that you wonder if they'll ever return to more normal sensations. I find myself avoiding driving and riding in cars to the extent that I put off or cancel important tasks, doctors appointments and family time. I've missed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Father's Day and my grandchildren's birthdays. PMR robs you of the ability to do things that matter most. I wish everyone a swift remission from this condition and I know I will never again take for granted that which PMR stole, should I be fortunate enough to participate in these most cherished activities in the future.

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Cars are the worst! We have a cabin 3 hrs from our home and by the time we arrive i need to stabilize against the door when i get out of the car as my legs simply do not work. I buckled once and landed on the ground so take it slowly since then, i find it can be bad even driving to the shops. I travel to the cabin with my family our dogs and cat so do not like to delay for everyone's comfort but also because 1 hr or 3 hrs it is going to be bad anyway!
Thank you everyone for this thread i had not even spoken to my doctor about this and now i can feel a little better knowing it is normal for this condition!

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Long car rides and sitting for a long time are terrible for me. I am 76 and have been very active until this PMR. I do better in the seats of my husband's truck than my Dodge Challenger. I also sit with a McKenzie OT/PT back roll behind my back that feels much better than the adjustable seats of the Challenger.

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@scpartain

To me difficulty in travel is one of the hallmarks of PMR. During both times that my PMR was active I experienced extreme issues with travel. Sitting in a confined area for a period of time exacerbated the symptoms and it was hard for me to even get out of a car without help. I hope you achieve remission soon. All the best to you and anyone else suffering from this debilitating condition.

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Every case is different, for me any long ride, even today in remission, is a challenge. I’m currently not on any prednisone. I feel the loss of range of motion coupled with the muscle atrophy, while very sick, helps me to understand the pain and my desire to slowly get my fitness back. Take time and don’t push but don’t give up on regaining your fitness. Again, everyone is different.

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@deniseinca

Cars are the worst! We have a cabin 3 hrs from our home and by the time we arrive i need to stabilize against the door when i get out of the car as my legs simply do not work. I buckled once and landed on the ground so take it slowly since then, i find it can be bad even driving to the shops. I travel to the cabin with my family our dogs and cat so do not like to delay for everyone's comfort but also because 1 hr or 3 hrs it is going to be bad anyway!
Thank you everyone for this thread i had not even spoken to my doctor about this and now i can feel a little better knowing it is normal for this condition!

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Sitting less than hour hurts too, hard to get out from the car

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@malin70

Sitting less than hour hurts too, hard to get out from the car

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I agree even shopping is difficult, i made the 3 hr return from the cabin today it took a while to balance once out of the car and now 4 hrs later i am beat, so tired and fatigue is horrid. If i could post a picture of my lake front cottage view it would help in understanding why i make the trip even though it is painful!

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