Palindromic rheumatism (PR), also known as palindromic rheumatism syndrome, Hench-Rosenberg syndrome, or Hench’s syndrome, is a recurring form of arthritis appearing in your joints. If you have PR, sudden attacks of inflammation can put one or more of your joints out of commission from a few hours to several days. PR often affects joints in your fingers, wrists, or knees.
At West County Rheumatology of St. Louis, Missouri, Sona Kamat, MD, FACR supports patients with a range of rheumatic conditions, including rare issues like PR. Here’s what she advises you to know about the symptoms and treatments of PR.
Sudden joint inflammation
A PR attack can seem to come out of nowhere, without any obvious warning signs to alert you that it’s going to happen. During an attack, you experience pain, swelling, stiffness, or redness in the affected joints. Some people also run a fever, or show other systemic symptoms, during an attack. After your attack ends, you won’t have any other symptoms. Attacks both begin and end with milder symptoms, with your discomfort and inflammation reaching a peak during the middle of the attack.
We don’t yet know what causes PR to affect some people but not others. The rare condition appears more commonly in patients between the ages of 20-50 years old, impacting men and women similarly. However, you can show PR symptoms at any age. Genetics and family history may play a role in your risk of dealing with PR and other arthritic conditions, and events like traumas, infections, or allergic reactions may also be factors.
Some believe that PR can be a presenting symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and about half of all PR patients go on to develop RA. While PR doesn’t cause lasting damage like other forms of arthritis, the suddenness of attacks can limit your quality of life.
What we can do
While we don’t currently have a cure for PR, Dr. Kamat can help you put together a treatment plan that both addresses your symptoms and manages the frequency of your attacks. She can also diagnose your PR if you’re not sure what the underlying cause for your inflammatory symptoms might be.
To treat your PR symptoms and condition, Dr. Kamat might use medications, including:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), reducing inflammation, pain, and stiffness
- Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), prescribed to reduce the frequency and severity of attacks
In order to reduce the frequency and intensity of your PR attacks, Dr. Kamat also typically recommends lifestyle changes like weight loss, regular exercise, and targeted stretches. If you can maintain your flexibility, strength, and range of motion, your attacks won’t impact your joints as painfully, and you’ll be able to move more even during an inflammatory attack.
To get started diagnosing and taming your PR as soon as possible, contact West County Rheumatology today. Dr. Kamat can diagnose your condition, potentially with the help of blood tests or other exams, and recommend the best treatment options for your case. You can schedule your initial consultation over the phone, or by using our online booking tool.