PMR and Sciatica with Back Pain

Posted by susi451 @susi451, Oct 12, 2021

Hello everyone,
I have been diagnosed with PMR for 2 1/2 years. I am currently on 4 mg of Prednisone and have tried several times to stop. I have gotten down to 1 mg but developed so much moving back pain I had to return to 4 mg. Over the last 9 months, I have suffered with a right leg sciatica pain that gets much worse when I titrate the Prednisone down. When I return to 4 mg, the pain is relieved, although maybe only 75%. I basically treat myself at this point; am waiting for a first time rheumatology appoint in early December. My primary doctor moved about 8 months ago so now just trying to manage myself. I am a retired nurse so am well versed in treatment methodology. I have read a couple of research articles about PMR and sciatica. So I do not feel like I am way off base thinking there is a connection between my sciatica pain and PMR. I am very active-I try to walk at least 2 miles ( split during the day), 7 days a week. Sometimes it is painful but I push myself because anything is better than sitting around. I am 73 years old and need to stay active. I am wondering if others have had sciatica pain with their PMR?

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Hi, i had PMR when I was in my 50’s and had no problems with sciatica. It has recurred and I am now 74 and have some sciatica. I tend to think it is an indirect effect of PMR. Pain in one place causes me to alter my gait leading to pain someplace else. I do walk daily and do a senior exercise class 2-3 times a week. This class is now via Zoom, not in person and includes weights, aerobics, stretching. I find the sciatica pain is less likely to occur when I do this class regularly at my own pace. When the pain starts, I take Ibuprofen and mainly rest it for a few days. Interestingly, the first time I got the sciatica pain, it was a day after an acupuncture treatment I was trying??? This was when I was not on prednisone, but I think the PMR was “there”. It is hard sometimes to figure out which aches and pains are a direct result of PMR and which are secondary.

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Hi – Yes, I had sciatica (in my left leg) while I had PMR. Not all the time, but typically was triggered by long periods of sitting (such as driving in car). As I slowly recovered from the PMR – I went from 40 mg Prednisone to 20, 15, 12, 10 for many weeks, and then tapered down 1 mg weekly for a total of 5 months – the sciatica also improved and eventually no reoccurrence (so far!). I never had sciatica prior to PMR.

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@virginiaj

Hi, i had PMR when I was in my 50’s and had no problems with sciatica. It has recurred and I am now 74 and have some sciatica. I tend to think it is an indirect effect of PMR. Pain in one place causes me to alter my gait leading to pain someplace else. I do walk daily and do a senior exercise class 2-3 times a week. This class is now via Zoom, not in person and includes weights, aerobics, stretching. I find the sciatica pain is less likely to occur when I do this class regularly at my own pace. When the pain starts, I take Ibuprofen and mainly rest it for a few days. Interestingly, the first time I got the sciatica pain, it was a day after an acupuncture treatment I was trying??? This was when I was not on prednisone, but I think the PMR was “there”. It is hard sometimes to figure out which aches and pains are a direct result of PMR and which are secondary.

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Thank you Virginia for your comment. I used to take the senior aerobic classes but of course had to stop due to COVID. You have inspired me to try them again even though I am still a little worried about COVID.

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@cjh51

Hi – Yes, I had sciatica (in my left leg) while I had PMR. Not all the time, but typically was triggered by long periods of sitting (such as driving in car). As I slowly recovered from the PMR – I went from 40 mg Prednisone to 20, 15, 12, 10 for many weeks, and then tapered down 1 mg weekly for a total of 5 months – the sciatica also improved and eventually no reoccurrence (so far!). I never had sciatica prior to PMR.

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Thank you for your response. I am anxious to see what my rheumatologist will say about the sciatica. I am so hoping to get off this prednisone but just can't quite make the break. I am so happy that you have recovered. Stay healthy!

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@susi451

Thank you Virginia for your comment. I used to take the senior aerobic classes but of course had to stop due to COVID. You have inspired me to try them again even though I am still a little worried about COVID.

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The class I “attend” is virtual, on Zoom. We were going to go back in person, but the Delta variant surge of Covid stopped that. We will continue to be virtual for awhile

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Mine is concurrent with the PMR but intermittent and depends on what work I’m doing like gardening, chores etc. I am 73 too and walk every day. I’m off Prednisone for one year but have flareups. Very reluctant to ever take it again so manage both types of pain myself in a number of ways.

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Good morning, after battling PMR for about 18 months, I’ve been recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) my hips, especially the left side and back were killing me. Did MRI/X-ray and 2 different Rheumatologist agreed that I should try Humira injectable pen. It’s been only one week and already feeling relief. I’ve been off Predisone/presislone and Metholtexate for quite some time. I want to be comfortable in my active lifestyle, turned 60 only 8 months ago. I hope this helps. Take care. Ray Aka the Tinman

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@tinman2020

Good morning, after battling PMR for about 18 months, I’ve been recently diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) my hips, especially the left side and back were killing me. Did MRI/X-ray and 2 different Rheumatologist agreed that I should try Humira injectable pen. It’s been only one week and already feeling relief. I’ve been off Predisone/presislone and Metholtexate for quite some time. I want to be comfortable in my active lifestyle, turned 60 only 8 months ago. I hope this helps. Take care. Ray Aka the Tinman

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Glad you found relief. Have had sciatica and herniated disc for many years. 2 back operations years ago. Flare-up occasionally, but nothing compared to the pain of PMR. I will be 72 in March, but a young 72 and will remain active as long as my body and mind will let me.

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Hi,
I have PMR for a second time after 15 years and am currently tapering down Prednisolone on 9mg daily. I have had bad sciatica for several weeks. I also experienced this whwn I was tapering down all those years ago. Is this just coincidence, or is there any evidence of a link ?

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@macferse

Hi,
I have PMR for a second time after 15 years and am currently tapering down Prednisolone on 9mg daily. I have had bad sciatica for several weeks. I also experienced this whwn I was tapering down all those years ago. Is this just coincidence, or is there any evidence of a link ?

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Hi @macferse, Sorry to hear you experienced bad sciatica pain when tapering down on the Prednisolone. You will notice that we moved your post to a similar discussion on the same topic here – PMR and Sciatica with Back Pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pmr-and-sciatica-with-back-pain/. We did this so that you can connect with other members like @milld835, @anniekirby, @cjh51, @virginiaj and @susi451 who may have some thoughts on your question of is the sciatica just a coincidence or is there any evidence of a link.

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@johnbishop

Hi @macferse, Sorry to hear you experienced bad sciatica pain when tapering down on the Prednisolone. You will notice that we moved your post to a similar discussion on the same topic here – PMR and Sciatica with Back Pain: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/pmr-and-sciatica-with-back-pain/. We did this so that you can connect with other members like @milld835, @anniekirby, @cjh51, @virginiaj and @susi451 who may have some thoughts on your question of is the sciatica just a coincidence or is there any evidence of a link.

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Dear John,
thank you for directing my question to others who may have similar experiences and possible ways of resolving the issue. Your role as mentor is very useful and helpful,
Kind regards.

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I was originally diagnosed with bilateral sciatica. I had significant pain waist down and buldging discs. Treated with high dose Pred for 2 weeks but pain came back. Had epidural, both sides, that didn't work. It was neurosurgeon who finally said it was inflammatory. I thought pain in shoulders was from compensating for lower body pain and legs not working. It was an 8 month journey before I finally started treatment for PMR. Wish I'd said something about how badly my shoulders and neck hurt early on!

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