What is Rheumatic Disease?
Rheumatic disease is a general term used to describe a series of conditions that cause pain or inflammation in or around the ligaments, tendons, muscles or joints. They are often also referred to as arthritis, a much broader term used to describe a large number of diseases which affect the joints. Many forms of rheumatic disease, however, may also affect internal body areas such as the skin heart kidneys or lungs.
There are many different conditions that can be classified under the category of rheumatic disease. These conditions include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Anklosing spondylitis
- Frozen shoulder
- Neck pain
- Bursitis / tendonitis (shoulder pain, wrist, biceps, leg, knee, ankle, hip and Achilles)
- Rheumatic fever
- Rheumatic heart disease
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
Symptoms and signs
- The symptoms and signs of rheumatic disorders include:
- Intense soreness
- Muscle stiffness
Diagnosing Rheumatic Disease
The diagnosis of rheumatic disease will be based on your symptoms, a thorough physical examination and medical history. Your doctor will most likely order X-rays and blood tests to determine which form of rheumatic disease you have. You may also be referred to a rheumatologist for further examination.
What Causes Rheumatic Disease?
Different rheumatic disorders may have different causes. There are certain factors that may contribute to the development of rheumatic disorders and include:
Help for Rheumatic Disease
There are several treatment options that can provide symptomatic relief of the various types rheumatic conditions. Medications such as analgesics, NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or anti-inflammatory drugs reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation.
Alternative treatments such as physical therapy, mobilization, tens, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and massage can also benefit people suffering from rheumatic disorders. In addition, a well balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise can minimize rheumatic symptoms.
More and more people are finding comfort and pain relief for their rheumatic conditions from natural and alternative treatments. Treatments such as herbal and homeopathic remedies are safe and gentle for the body without the harsh side effects of conventional medicine.
A powerful herb known as Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil’s Claw) contains strong anti-inflammatory properties and is used for the treatment of joint conditions such as osteoarthritis, fibrositis, small joint disease and lower backache. Other useful herbs such as Glucosamine sulphate and Boswellia serata decrease pain and inflammation, and also build and repair cartilage and connective tissue.