What is Rheumatism?

by admin on February 14, 2012

Rheumatism is a word that derives from the greek word rheuma which means swelling. It is a painful condition that affects the joints and their connecting components (muscles, ligaments and tendons).

The term rheumatism is used in everyday language however; it is now rarely used in medical jargon as they now don’t recognise a disorder simply called rheumatism.

The term rheumatism is used by the public to cover a very wide range of complaints:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Back pain
  • Bursitis/ Tendinitis, Shoulder pain, wrist, biceps, leg, knee (patellar), ankle, hip, and Achilles
  • Capsulitis
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Rheumatic heart disease (a long-term complication of Rheumatic fever)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Temporal arteritis and Polymyalgia rheumatica
  • Tenosynovitis

These are varied conditions with complex causes.

There has also been a long reported link between the weather and these conditions that create “rheumatic pain”. In 1995 questionnaire given to 557 people by A. Naser and others at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s Pain Management Center concluded 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”.

Rheumatism Treatments

For the majority of the conditions that are known as rheumatism the initial medical treatment is with analgesics such as paracetamol and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. However, the medical profession will frequently prescribe stronger analgesics.

On the other hand there are a vast number of herbal remedies that are too long to list but for example one of the main supplements is Glucosamine which is a substance that occurs naturally in the joints but enough cannot be produced by the body on its own. So, taking an additional supplement can ease the symptoms of rheumatism.

How Can I Help?

I am trained to know when the named conditions above are present and when to refer you back to your GP for further investigation to clarify this. In this practice there is an emphasis on looking at you as an individual and seeing what encouragement your body needs to find and express health.

An osteopath can help you with rheumatic pain through a structured routine of exercise. There have been numerous studies into the benefits of exercise for alleviating pain of this type. For example, Roddy, Zhang and Doherty studied aerobic walking or strengthening exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee? (A systematic review. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 2005;64(4):544-8.) They studied 2004 patients using home based strengthening exercises with a control group not taking any exercise. The results showed real improvements for those who followed an exercise routine.

So, if you are concerned about the symptoms you are having feel free to call us to find out how we can help.you are in safe hands.

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