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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Other namesRheumatic disease
Inflammation of synovial membrane of the finger joint in case of rheumatoid arthritis.
ComplicationsAmplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome[1]
TreatmentNone. Managing of symptoms only

Rheumatism[2] or rheumatic disorders are conditions causing chronic, often intermittent pain affecting the joints or connective tissue.[3] Rheumatism does not designate any specific disorder, but covers at least 200 different conditions, including arthritis and "non-articular rheumatism", also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism".[4][5] There is a close overlap between the term soft tissue disorder and rheumatism.[6] Sometimes the term "soft tissue rheumatic disorders" is used to describe these conditions.[7]

The term "Rheumatic Diseases" is used in MeSH to refer to connective tissue disorders.[8] The branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatism is called rheumatology.[9]


Many rheumatic disorders of chronic, intermittent pain (including joint pain, neck pain or back pain) have historically been caused by infectious diseases. Their etiology was unknown until the 20th century and not treatable. Postinfectious arthritis, also known as reactive arthritis, and rheumatic fever are other examples.

In the United States, major rheumatic disorders are divided into 10 major categories based on the nomenclature and classification proposed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) in 1983.[10]


Blood and urine tests will measure levels of creatinine and uric acid to determine kidney function, an elevation of the ESR and CRP is possible. After a purine-restricted diet, another urine test will help determine whether the body is producing too much uric acid or the body isn't excreting enough uric acid. Rheumatoid factor may be present, especially in the group that is likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. A fine needle is used to draw fluid from a joint to determine if there is any build-up of fluid. The presence of uric acid crystals in the fluid would indicate gout. In many cases there may be no specific test, and it is often a case of eliminating other conditions before getting a correct diagnosis.


Initial therapy of the major rheumatological diseases is with analgesics, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Steroids, especially glucocorticoids, and stronger analgesics are often required for more severe cases.[14]


The term rheumatism stems from the Late Latin rheumatismus, ultimately from Greek ῥευματίζομαι "to suffer from a flux", with rheum meaning bodily fluids, i.e., any discharge of blood or bodily fluid.

Before the 17th century, the joint pain which was thought to be caused by viscous humours seeping into the joints was always referred to as gout, a word adopted in Middle English from Old French gote "a drop; the gout, rheumatism".[citation needed]

The English term rheumatism in the current sense has been in use since the late 17th century, as it was believed that chronic joint pain was caused by excessive flow of rheum which means bodily fluids into a joint.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)". Children's Health.
  2. ^ Fulghum Bruce, Debra. "Rheumatic Diseases: Types, Causes, and Diagnosis". WebMD.
  3. ^ Young, Phil (2019). "Rheumatic disorders". Therapeutics in Pregnancy and Lactation (1st ed.). Routledge. pp. 177–192. doi:10.4324/9781315384801-14. ISBN 978-1-31538-480-1. S2CID 35895471. Retrieved 2022-04-29.
  4. ^ Altorok, Nezam; Nada, Shigeyuki; Nagaraja, Vivek; Kahaleh, Bashar (2016-06-15). "Epigenetics in Bone and Joint Disorders". In Tollefsbol, Trygve O. (ed.). Medical Epigenetics (Illustrated ed.). Academic Press. pp. 295–314. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-803239-8.00017-X. ISBN 978-0-12803-239-8.
  5. ^ Rao, Sudha (2019-01-24). Diamond, Herbert S. (ed.). "Nonarticular Rheumatism/Regional Pain Syndrome". eMedicine.
  6. ^ Mahroos, Roaa (2021). "Soft Tissue Rheumatic Disorders". In Almoallim, Hani; Cheikh, Mohamed (eds.). Skills in Rheumatology. Singapore: Springer. pp. 461–474. doi:10.1007/978-981-15-8323-0_22. ISBN 978-9-81158-323-0. PMID 36315810. S2CID 234306241.
  7. ^ Kushner, Irving. Isaac, Zacharia; Ramirez Curtis, Monica (eds.). "Overview of soft tissue rheumatic disorders". UpToDate. Archived from the original on 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  8. ^ Rheumatic+Diseases at the U.S. National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  9. ^ "rheumatism" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  10. ^ Decker, John Laws (August 1983). "American Rheumatism Association nomenclature and classification of arthritis and rheumatism (1983)". Arthritis & Rheumatology. 26 (8): 1029–1032. doi:10.1002/art.1780260813. ISSN 0004-3591. PMID 6603849.
  11. ^ Puéchal, Xavier; Terrier, Benjamin; Mouthon, Luc; Costedoat-Chalumeau, Nathalie; Guillevin, Loïc; Le Jeunne, Claire (March 2014). "Relapsing polychondritis". Joint, Bone, Spine: Revue du Rhumatisme. 81 (2). Elsevier: 118–124. doi:10.1016/j.jbspin.2014.01.001. PMID 24556284. S2CID 205754989.
  12. ^ Murphy, Kenneth; Travers, Paul; Walport, Mark; Walter, Peter (2010). Janeway's Immunobiology (7th ed.). Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-81534-457-5.
  13. ^ Salvador, Georgina; Gómez-Centeno, Antonio Domingo; Viñas, Octavi; Ercilla, Guadalupe; Cañete, Juan De Dios; Muñoz-Gómez, José; Sanmartí, Raimon (August 2003). "Prevalence and clinical significance of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide and antikeratin antibodies in palindromic rheumatism. An abortive form of rheumatoid arthritis?". Rheumatology (Oxford). 42 (8): 972–975. doi:10.1093/rheumatology/keg268. PMID 12730510.
  14. ^ Buttgereit, Frank (19 February 2020). "Views on glucocorticoid therapy in rheumatology: the age of convergence". Nature Reviews Rheumatology. 16 (4): 239–246. doi:10.1038/s41584-020-0370-z. PMID 32076129. S2CID 211194682.
  15. ^ Barnhart, Robert K. (1988). Barnhart, Robert K.; Steinmetz, Sol; Wilson, Halsey William (eds.). Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology. H. W. Wilson Company. The meaning of a disease of the joints is first recorded in 1688, because rheumatism was thought to be caused by an excessive flow of rheum into a joint thereby stretching ligaments

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