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Dec 3, 2021

A client is tapering off her prednisone to treat her polymyalgia rheumatica. She still has persistent pain in her shoulders. Is there anything her massage therapist can safely do to help her?

Polymyalgia rheumatica sounds dire. The good news is, it’s highly treatable, and massage—with respect for pain and medications—is a great choice for people who are recovering.




Anatomy Trains:   


Books of Discovery:   


Host Bio:        


Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at                  


Recent Articles by Ruth:       


“Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Massage Therapy,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, September/October 2021, page 33,


“Pharmacology Basics for Massage Therapists,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, July/August 2021, page 32,    



“Critical Thinking,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, May/June 2021, page 54,      




Pocket Pathology:


Nancy Garrick, D.D. (2017) Polymyalgia Rheumatica, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. Available at:


‘Polymyalgia Rheumatica’ (no date) NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). Available at: (Accessed: 16 November 2021).


‘Polymyalgia Rheumatica: Practice Essentials, Pathophysiology, Etiology’ (2021). Available at: (Accessed: 16 November 2021).


About our sponsors:


Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.