Rheumatology is a specialized medical field that deals with the diagnosis and therapy of rheumatic diseases. Rheumatic diseases, or Rheumatism, are diagnosed by taking a medical history, doing a physical examination and detecting genetic markers and antibodies in the blood.
General practitioners, rheumatologists, physiotherapists, orthopaedists, occupational therapists, osteopaths and dieticians each have a particular role to play in the treatment of rheumatic diseases. There are various types of rheumatism, various causes of rheumatism and various rheumatism treatments. Rheumatism medicine is a wide field that we all need to learn more.
Rheumatologists specialise in rheumatism diagnosis and therapy, like gout, rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists doctors work in specialist practices or clinics. They come from the fields of internal medicine, orthopaedics or paediatrics and adolescent medicine.
Rheumatologists – A Joint Specialist
A rheumatologist is the doctor that treats articular rheumatism. He is an internist or pediatrician who received further training in the diagnosis (detection), and treatment of diseases that affect the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Rheumatism has many different symptoms. These diseases can cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and potentially cause joint deformities. Rheumatism symptoms are easy to notice.
Rheumatologist is thus a joint specialist. He works in liaison with the general practitioner, confirms the latter’s diagnosis and can perform certain medical procedures, for example the puncture of a joint effusion. He can also refer the patient to other specialist doctors, such as a surgeon, if necessary. Consultations with the rheumatologist can take place either in his private practice or in clinic, especially in the case of more complicated complementary examinations such as an arthroscopy (examination of the inside of a joint by inserting a small camera).
Rheumatism is a generic term for all joint disorders. This can be osteoarthritis, arthritis, osteoporosis or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. These osteoarticular disorders are among the leading causes of disability and handicap.
These diseases are part of the treatment options for rheumatologists:
- Autoimmune-caused, chronic inflammatory conditions in the movement and conditional chronic inflammatory diseases of the muscle skeletal system (rheumatoid, psoriatic, vasculitis), collagenosis.
- Metabolic disorders that lead to rheumatic complaints (e.g. gout)
- Soft tissue rheumatism (e.g. fibromyalgia).
- Diseases of the bone, which lead to complaints of the spinal column (e.g., osteoporosis)Degenerative or age-related rheumatic diseases (e.g., degenerative spinal diseases)
One of the main reasons why inflammatory rheumatism is often misdiagnosed is that the symptoms are still relatively unknown. Knowing the symptoms of inflammatory rheumatism is simply a better way to prevent it.
Among the symptoms, inflammatory rheumatism is manifested by:
- Pain or sensitivity in the affected joints
- One or more swellings in the affected joints
- Persistent morning stiffness lasting up to an hour.
- Constant and unexplained fatigue
- An outbreak of fever
Inflammatory rheumatism, such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis, affects the joints, particularly in the hands, wrists, hips, knees, feet, etc. It is a very uncomfortable disease, especially as it can be very painful depending on the case and the areas affected.
If inflammatory rheumatism is misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late, the complications can be serious and difficult to bear for those affected. These include motor difficulties, but the disease can also spread to other circulations. In the most difficult cases and depending on the psychological situation of the person affected, inflammatory rheumatism can lead to depression, the main cause of which is pain. Inflammatory rheumatism can be lived with, thanks to special treatments and a regulated lifestyle.
To treat rheumatism, doctors prescribe analgesics and painkillers such as paracetamol, but also non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. If this first line of treatment fails, rheumatologists may offer patients corticosteroid injections to relieve the inflammation. In the case of chronic inflammatory rheumatism, background treatments are combined with painkillers to control the disease and space out inflammatory attacks.
Physiotherapy and physical activity are non-pharmacological approaches common to all rheumatic diseases, as they are essential in preventing painful attacks: in order to feel less pain, the joints must be mobilised.
Finally, in some cases, surgery can be considered. In particular, it can be used to prevent destruction of cartilage or tendons or to repair tendons or to replace a destroyed joint with a prosthesis in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. In arthritic patients, surgery is mainly used to install total or partial knee or hip prostheses.
But before going to the clinic, if rheumatism is not so advanced, we recommand you to go to see a rheumatologist to relief your pain, but also take home remedies, such as: Curcumin and Boswellia.
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What is the main cause of rheumatism?
- poor weight distribution
- wear and tear of the joints
- hereditary factors
- poorly consolidated fractures
- ligament and tendon injuries
- inborn malformation of a joint
What are the first signs of rheumatism?
- Mild fever
- Weight loss
- Heat in the joints
- Numbness and tingling
- Decreased range of motion
- Joint involvement on both sides
- Sleep disturbances at night
- Generalised malaise
What is rheumatism pain like?
- difficulty in moving the limbs;
- stiffness ;
- swelling, or even red and hot areas;
- muscular pain
What is difference between arthritis and rheumatism?
How do you treat rheumatism?
What foods to avoid if you have rheumatism?
Red meat and cold cuts
Fried foodsStill on the subject of fats, it is important to pay attention to the amount you consume. Some fatty acids, such as Omega 6, are particularly bad because they increase inflammation. Fried foods in general should therefore be avoided, especially when combined with a large amount of salt, such as Chips or crisps.
Certain vegetable oilsFor the same reason as mentioned above, certain oils should also be avoided. These are all oils that are too rich in Omega 6, such as soya, corn or sunflower oil. Rest assured, other vegetable oils are rich in Omega 3s, so they can easily be replaced.
SugarSugar is one of the biggest enemies of the human body, especially in the case of osteoarthritis. Although it is difficult to do without it completely, it is nevertheless recommended to limit its consumption. You can use alternatives that provide taste without having harmful effects.
AlcoholFinally, for the more festive among you, alcohol is not a good idea if you suffer from osteoarthritis. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can actually increase the effects of inflammation. As with other foods, it is not advisable to give it up completely, but rather to know how to limit yourself to a glass from time to time.
How do you relieve rheumatism?
What is the best way to treat rheumatism?
The best way is to use natural methods. Alternative doctors often use herbal therapy (phytotherapy) to treat rheumatism. Well-known herbs in herbal medicine are devil's claw, comfrey, nettle and arnica.
Acupuncture, herbal therapies of traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy and Kneipp applications are also possible. The focus is on improving the immune system and metabolism. This generally relieves pain and prevents the rheumatic disease from spreading.
These natural remedies and practical tips for everyday life help to relieve joint pain:Cold poultices
Heat treatmentsFull and partial baths with arnica, hay flowers, fango (volcanic mud with therapeutic properties) or peat reduce pain and stimulate the metabolism and blood circulation. Potato, medicinal clay or flax seed poultices also help. In an emergency, a cherry stone heating pad is also helpful.
Meadowsweet tea2x a day a cup of meadowsweet, also known as ultima spirea, false spirea or filipendula. The herb contains acetylsalicylic acid, like aspirin, which is an analgesic and has an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect.
Regular physical activityDespite the pain, patients with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis should apply regular pressure to the affected joint to improve mobility and prevent cartilage degradation. Aquafit, weight training, Nordic walking, swimming and cycling are particularly gentle on joints. Talk to your family doctor or therapist and decide with him/her on the appropriate training and pace.
Learn to relaxTension and cramps make the pain worse. Use relaxation techniques such as autogenic training or breathing exercises.
DietAlong with physical activity and relaxation, a balanced diet is one of the fundamental pillars of a healthy lifestyle. Interesting tips and general information can be found on the Swiss League against Rheumatism website.
What are the symptoms of rheumatism?
- Pain in the joints (mainly hands, knees, hips);
- Pain in the back, neck ;
- Swelling of the joints;
- Feeling of stiffness, especially in the morning. Joints become more flexible as they are "unlocked" during the day.
- Chest pain or palpitations caused by inflammation of the heart (carditis)
- Jerky, uncontrollable movements (Sydenham's chorea)
- Skin rash
- Small papules (nodules) under the skin
Nutrition and Rheumatic DiseaseSpringer Science & Business Media. 2008
In this book, experts provide a comprehensive review of current knowledge regarding nutrition and dietary management for the complex set of rheumatic conditions. Within the disease-specific chapters, the authors present a historical perspective, a discussion of the major clinical features, current management and treatment, a review of the literature related to nutritional status and diet, and dietary recommendations, based on current scientific evidence. The field of rheumatic diseases...
The Primary Prevention of Rheumatic DiseasesCRC Press. 1993
The ultimate objective of all aetiological research is the primary prevention of rheumatic diseases. This book emphasizes what can be done in the prevention, for example, of rheumatic symptoms arising out of occupational overuse, injuries and infections of joints. It also provides advice on pain tolerance and control.
Changing Health Care Systems and Rheumatic DiseaseNational Academies Press. 1997
Market forces are driving a radical restructuring of health care delivery in the United States. At the same time, more and more people are living comparatively long lives with a variety of severe chronic health conditions. Many such people are concerned about the trend toward the creation of managed care systems because their need for frequent, often complex, medical services conflicts with managed care's desires to contain costs. The fear is that people with serious chronic disorders will...
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