On the basis of consultation with a close friend and my sister, both of whom have suffered what I am suffering, I have tentatively concluded that the excruciating pain I have been experiencing for two months and more is caused [in some sense of caused] by polymyalgia rheumatica [PMR]. If I do have PMR, it can be treated more or less miraculously with low doses of prednisone.
I have pulled off a major coup and landed an appointment with UNC's Rheumatology Clinic for next Friday rather than January 20th, 2016, their original scheduling. The Mayo Clinic website [a major resource for self-diagnosticians] mentions three blood tests that are markers for PMR. With some difficulty, I persuaded my primary care physician [whom I have now managed to replace] to order the blood tests. They did not show the markers. A major downer.
However, the specialist I shall be seeing next Friday tells me in a message that those blood tests are not "diagnostic" for PMR. What is "diagnostic" is successful treatment with prednisone.
In other words, if they give you prednisone and you feel better, they conclude decisively that you did indeed have what they gave you the prednisone for.
Unless I am mistaken, that is the reasoning that underlies the Hopi Rain Dance.
I am glad I have available to me the latest advances of modern medicine.