What Is Rheumatism?
The term “rheumatism” was used historically to describe a number of rheumatic conditions. It is no longer used by medical professionals, who stress the importance of obtaining a specific diagnosis in order to get proper treatment.
It is important to get a diagnosis to understand the underlying cause of a person’s inflammatory joint condition. For conditions like osteoarthritis, the cause may be related to one’s weight, age or history of sports injuries. Other conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, are autoimmune disorders in which the body’s own immune system turns on itself and attacks healthy tissue.
Historically, rheumatism was associated with conditions related to the joints or soft tissues and muscles. It is important to get a specific diagnosis of the type of rheumatic disease based on signs and symptoms, and other tests.
Medical history, physical exam and X-rays are all commonly used to diagnose joint conditions. Some types of rheumatic diseases can be diagnosed by a general practitioner, while others may require a specialist. A rheumatologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and related conditions. Based on the patient’s symptoms, a rheumatologist can determine what types of test are required.
A specific diagnosis is important so a patient can develop a tailored treatment plan with his or her doctor.
Rheumatism Self Care
No matter what type of rheumatic condition a patient has, doctors most often prescribe exercise as part of their treatment plan. Exercises that focus on strength, range of motion, flexibility and cardiovascular health can help ease joint pain and improve overall health.