Rheumatism or rheum includes more than a hundred different diseases characterized by pain in the muscles, tendons, bones or joints, accompanied by limitations or the inability of movement.
Rheumatism is therefore a general term used to describe a number of symptoms of pain in the joints, muscles and surrounding soft tissue known as connective tissue. The Greek origin of the word rheumatism means to run, which means the course of events and symptoms of intense pain.
Once all diseases of muscles, bones, joints and soft tissues were grouped in one term - rheumatism, but with
the advancement of medical knowledge aquired during the past 50 years we now know that rheumatism covers a wide range of medical conditions and symptoms - from inflammation of a single joint or body part (such as the knee or lower back pain) to pain in joints and muscles such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It is a rheumatic disease that include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, scleroderma, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, spondiloartitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, systemic vasculitis, and many others.
In Europe, more than 100 million people suffer from rheumatic diseases
In Croatia around 50,000 people suffer from inflammatory rheumatic disease, the same affecting more than 7 million Americans, of which 1.3 million adults have rheumatoid arthritis. In Europe, over 100 million people suffer from rheumatic diseases. According to US statistics, between 161,000 and 322,000 adults have lupus, and nearly 300,000 children in America suffer from rheumatic diseases, some of which are the most common juvenile idiopathic arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). Statistics show that one in 1,000 children throughout life is to develop some form of rheumatic disease and 8.4% of women and 5% of men. Women have two to three times higher risk of developing rheumatoid diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and ten times more likely to develop lupus than men.
A brief description of rheumatic symptoms and diseases:
The pain is caused by inflammation and is manifested in various degrees. It can be followed by stiffness or inability of movement of the body. In general, any condition that causes pain and inflammation, limits the movement of joints, muscles, tendons, or fall under the term rheumatism and has rheumatism symptoms. These symptoms can affect only one joint or area, or may be general and affect many parts of the body.
The symptoms of rheumatism affecting one joint or area of the body:
• Tendonitis - inflammation of the tendons
• Bursitis - bursa (mucous bag) serves to reduce friction between body tissues continuously moving on top of each other. Bursa is located near the joints, between the skin and bone or between tendons and bones. If it comes to a stimulus due to pressure or injury to adjacent joints, mucous bag can inflame and fill up with fluid causing a bursitis.
• RSI / injuries caused by frequent repetition - most often affects the hands and wrists of office workers. This is a general term for a group of musculoskeletal disorders in the joints of the upper body (hands, elbow, shoulder, neck) and lower body (knee, foot). Common to all these disorders is an inflammatory condition caused by excessive or too frequent use of soft tissue such as muscle or joints, or work that requires constant use of the same muscle group.
• Frozen shoulder - unknown cause, characterized by pain and limited activity of the shoulder girdle.
• Carpal tunnel syndrome - occurs as a result of pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel consists of eight small bones of the wrist on the lower side and upper side which is closed tight with connective tissue (transverse carpal ligament).
• Pain in the neck - among the many causal factors of pain in the neck, by far the most common degenerative changes of the cervical spine
• Gout - inflammation of the joints caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints. Symptoms include sudden attacks of severe pain, redness and swelling of the joints.
• Osteoarthritis - degenerative joint disease or arthrosis makes up almost half of all the types of arthritis. It is characterized by the destruction of articular cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that covers the ends of bones. The destruction of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing pain and loss of movement.
• Back pain - back pain is a symptom, not a disease. Its causes can be many and varied, there are about 150 different causes of origin of back pain. The most common cause are degenerative changes in the disc (tiles) that lies between the vertebrae and degenerative changes in the small joints between the vertebrae. There may be a so-called prolapse disc (discus hernia) in the spinal canal (partial or complete), with pressure on the nerve roots nerve and clinically, this condition manifests as lumboischialgia or sciatica.
The causes of pain can be different, congenital and developmental abnormalities, inflammation, trauma, tumors, metabolic disorders (eg, osteoporosis), poor posture, weakened back muscles, scoliosis, static anomalies feet, blockages in the joints and many others.
Rheumatic diseases affect more than one area or portion of the body:
• Rheumatoid arthritis - severe, chronic, inflammatory disease of the connective tissue which is the most evident in joints. The immune system attacks the cartilage tissue, bones and sometimes internal organs. Since joints are most often affected small joints of the hands, wrists, shoulders, knees and ankles. With appropriate health measures and a change of lifestyle, people can have a long and productive life.
• Fibromyalgia - characterized by chronic pain, multiple pain points throughout the body, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, fatigue and often psychological distress. Chronic pain throughout the body is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Most people experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light and sound, and cognitive difficulties. Many suffer from overlapping conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and lupus.
• Polymyalgia rheumatica - is an inflammatory muscle disease that causes muscle pain and stiffness. Pain and stiffness are common in the shoulders, neck, upper arms and in the hips. Symptoms of the disease usually appear very quickly since the beginning of the disease within a period of two weeks. Both sides of the body are equally affected, and sometimes the pain can extend to the wrist and hand. Muscle stiffness is most intense in the morning and decreases throughout the day.
• Lupus - is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks the normal, healthy tissue. This leads to symptoms such as inflammation, swelling and damage to the joints, skin, kidneys, blood, heart and lungs. At a normal function of the immune system proteins called antibodies play a role in the protection and the fight against antigens, such as viruses and bacteria. Lupus leads the immune system in a state in which it is unable to distinguish between antigens and healthy tissue. The consequence is that the antibodies of the immune system directly act against the normal tissue, not only the antigen, causing swelling, pain and tissue damage.
• Scleroderma - a chronic disease of the connective tissue and autoimmune rheumatic disease. It can affect the internal organs with life-threatening consequences. Depending on the type of disease can damage the kidneys, lungs, and even the digestive tract.
• Polymyositis - a disease that causes inflammation and muscle weakness. As the disease progresses, the movements of your muscles' will be blocked, and you will find hard to do simple tasks, such as lifting objects. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, polymyositis most often affects those aged between 31 and 60 years.
• Dermatomyositis - muscle and skin inflammatory disease of autoimmune origin that belongs to the group of diseases called inflammatory myopathies. It occurs in both children and in adults. Dermatomyositis is characterized by chronic inflammation of the striated muscles (muscles responsible for carrying out movements), muscular weakness on both sides of the body and a typical skin rash that precedes or occurs simultaneously with progressive muscle weakness. The rash has a distinctive colorful appearance with purple or red stripes, and develops on the eyelids, muscles and joints.
All autoimmune diseases affecting muscle and connective tissue. In some diseases, the cause is infection, but in most cases is the cause unknown. Hereditary factors can affect the appearance of the disease, but it is not crucial for its development. In addition to genetic predisposition, it is believed that viruses, bacteria, lifestyle, work, diet, stress and many other factors can lead to the occurrence of disease.
Changing the diet and the lifestyle can help reduce painful symptoms:
• Medications to reduce pain - pills or gels prescribed by a doctor or a pharmacy without a prescription. Generally, analgesics should be used with caution so as not to become dependent on them.
• There are several natural remedies that can help when it comes to pain in muscles and joints. These include Devil's claw, arnica, comfrey tincture, comfrey balm and mint balm. Germany officially approved the Devil's claw to treat arthritis, pain in the lower back, knee and hip, and as an ingredient of many anti-rheumatic preparations. Devil's claw is used as a cure for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and tendinitis. Comfrey enhances and stimulates the growth and repair of tissue cells, helps with sciatica and muscle pain. It is used for sprains, strains of the muscles and tendons. Comfrey wraps are effective with carpal syndrome and inflammation of the bone and mint balm is an useful tool for wounds, infections, inflammation, gout and painful rheumatic places.
It can greatly help to reduce the level of stress, bad mood or anxiety. This is why relaxation techniques such as yoga or hypnotherapy can help reduce pain.
Certain foods can increase inflammation and pain while the individual can reduce and alleviate pain. Although there are certain foods that contain specific vitamins and minerals that can help alleviate pain, such as those rich in magnesium, that can increase pain and stiffness.
Foods to avoid during muscle and join pains:
♥ Eat less saturated animal fats, reduce your intake of red meat, dairy products and eggs to a minimum. Instead, eat more oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines and salmon because they have a positive effect on inflammation. You can take fish oil as a dietary supplement if you do not eat fish regularly. Choose low-fat dairy products, lean beef and pork, chicken and turkey
♥ Eat less processed foods, white flour, white rice and white bread. Instead, eat more green leafy vegetables, oats, dried fruits, such as figs, pumpkin seeds, sunflower and sesame seeds because they are rich in magnesium, which promotes the proper absorption of calcium. Magnesium helps muscles to relax and people with low levels of magnesium feel more pain.
♥ Eat less sugar - scientists have found that sugar can actually increase inflammation, which in turn increases pain, especially for those who suffer from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia. In addition, high-calorie sweet foods cause weight gain, which puts additional pressure on the joints. Instead of sugar eat more fresh fruit. Satisfy the desire for sweets with the natural sugars from fresh fruit, such as pineapple, papaya, mango and guava. They contain digestive enzymes that help reduce the acidity in the body.
♥ Drink less caffeine and alcohol, which are triggers for inflammation.
♥ Drink plain water - dehydration is often to blame for the occurrence of pain in the joints. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of honey in a glass of warm water in the morning can help reduce the acidity, which is good for the digestion.
Increase your intake of:
• Fatty fish
• Green leafy vegetables
• Wholegrain products
• Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds
• Pineapple, papaya, mango and guava
Reduce your intake of:
• Dairy Products
• Processed food
• White flour
• White rice