Rheumatism

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Rheumatism
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 M79.0
ICD-9 729.0
MeSH D012216

Rheumatism or rheumatic disorder is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the joints and connective tissue.[1] The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology.

Terminology[edit]

The term "rheumatism" is still used in colloquial speech and historical contexts, but is no longer frequently used in medical or technical literature; there is no longer any recognized disorder simply called "rheumatism." The traditional term covers such a range of different problems that to ascribe symptoms to "rheumatism" is not to say very much. Nevertheless, sources dealing with rheumatism tend to focus on arthritis. However, "non-articular rheumatism," also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism," can cause significant discomfort and difficulty.[2] Furthermore, arthritis and rheumatism between them cover at least 200 different conditions.

The term "Rheumatic Diseases" is used in MeSH to refer to connective tissue disorders.[3]

Palindromic rheumatism has been theorized to be a form of rheumatoid arthritis.[4]

Types[edit]

The major rheumatic disorders currently recognized include

Although these disorders probably have little in common in terms of their epidemiology, they do share two characteristics: they cause chronic (though often intermittent) pain, and they are difficult to treat. They are also, collectively, very common.

Other rheumatic diseases which are caused by autoimmunity include:

Treatment[edit]

A vast number of traditional herbal remedies were recommended for "rheumatism".[6] Modern medicine, both conventional and alternative, recognises that the different rheumatic disorders have different causes (and several of them have multiple causes) and require different kinds of treatment.

Nevertheless, initial therapy of the major rheumatological diseases is with analgesics, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), members of which are ibuprofen and naproxen. Often, stronger analgesics are required.

The ancient Greeks recorded that bee venom had some beneficial effects on some types of rheumatism.[citation needed]

Cod liver oil has also been used as a remedy.

"Rheumatism" and weather[edit]

There has long been said to be a link between "rheumatic" pain and the weather. There appears to be no firm evidence in favour or against; a 1995 questionnaire given to 557 people by A. Naser and others at the Brigham and Women's Hospital's Pain Management Center concludes that "changes in barometric pressure are the main link between weather and pain. Low pressure is generally associated with cold, wet weather and an increase in pain. Clear, dry conditions signal high pressure and a decrease in pain."

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]