or Rheumatic disorder
is a non-specific term for medical problems affecting the heart
. The study of, and therapeutic interventions in, such disorders is called rheumatology
The term "rheumatism" is still used in colloquial speech and historical contexts, but is no longer frequently used in medical or technical literature; it would be fair to say that there is no longer any recognized disorder simply called "rheumatism." Some countries use the word Rheumatism to describe fibromyalgia
syndrome. The traditional term covers such a range of different problems that to ascribe symptoms to "rheumatism" is not to say very much. Nevertheless, sources dealing with rheumatism tend to focus on arthritis
. However, "non-articular rheumatism", also known as "regional pain syndrome" or "soft tissue rheumatism" can cause significant discomfort and difficulty. Furthermore, arthritis and rheumatism between them cover at least 200 different conditions.
The term "Rheumatic Diseases" is used in MeSH to refer to connective tissue disorders.
Palindromic rheumatism has been theorized to be a form of rheumatoid arthritis.
The major rheumatic disorders currently recognised include:
Although these disorders probably have little in common in terms of their epidemiology, they do share two characteristics: they cause chronic (though often intermittent) pain, and they are difficult to treat. They are also, collectively, very common.
A vast number of traditional herbal
remedies were recommended for "rheumatism". Modern medicine, both conventional and complementary
, recognises that the different rheumatic disorders have different causes (and several of them have multiple causes) and require different kinds of treatment.
Nevertheless, initial therapy of the major rheumatological diseases is with analgesics, such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), members of which are ibuprofen and diclofenac. Often, stronger analgesics are required.
"Rheumatism" and weather
There has long been said to be a link between "rheumatic" pain and the weather. There appears to be no firm evidence in favour or against; a 1995 questionnaire given to 557 people by A. Naser and others at the Brigham and Women's Hospital's Pain Management Center concludes 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". However this is contrary to known geophysics, since when air molecules cool they collapse and become more packed together increasing pressure. Similarly as air molecules warm up, they separate and as a result the pressure decreases.
in the west of England is a straight line or fairy path
in the grass of a field with a different shade of green to the rest. People with rheumatism sought relief by walking along these tracks, though animals were thought to avoid them.