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The musculoskeletal system comprises 206 bones, over 400 muscles and joints, tendons and ligaments. They interact closely.
Rheumatism is any disease that is exhibited through inflammation and pain in the joints, muscles or fibrous tissue. These diseases affect joint tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. Common symptoms of these diseases include joint pain, inflammation of the joint (meaning swelling, redness, and warmth of affected area), and/or loss of motion in a joint(s). As "rheumatism" is no longer a medical term, diseases that fall into this category can also be referred to as musculoskeletal diseases as they are diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system.
Many sufferers experience rheumatic pain as a "drawing, tugging pain". The numerous significant rheumatic disorders may equally affect the elderly and young people or even children.
Musculoskeletal pain is pain that affects the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones, but isn't necessarily tied to disease. It can be caused by trauma to the area, such as a fall, fracture or sprain. However, it can also be caused by rheumatic disorders and the general wear and tear of muscle issues.
Some common rheumatic disorders are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, spondyloarthropathies, Sjogren's syndrome, gout, scleroderma, infectious arthritis. These kinds of disorders occur when your immune system attacks your own tissues. While doctors are not sure what causes this, there are genetic factors and external factors (i.e. smoke, pollution, etc.) that can play a role. Rheumatic disorders seem to affect women more than men and are generally more common in elderly people.
How do they differ?
Although we understand arthrosis as a joint disease, which comes about due to cartilage wear, the ending "- itis" signifies inflammation. Arthritis is therefore an inflammatory joint disease. However, inflammations and wear mostly occur at the same time due to their interdependent nature. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease: Involving the immune system mistakenly classifying endogenous cells as harmful and "fighting" them by means of inflammation. In fibromyalgia the joints are not painful, but certain points in the body's "soft tissue", i.e., musculature.
So, in a medical diagnosis it is essential to resolve the question of what kind of rheumatism is involved to administer systematic treatment.
The main symptoms are:
- Pain in the musculoskeletal system (joints, connective tissue, muscles, tendons)
- Restricted mobility
Chronic joint pain is a recurrent pain in the joint(s) that can be caused by an injury that affected a ligament or tendons surrounding the joint. Symptoms include joint redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth of the joint, limping, stiffness or weakness of the joint.
Chronic muscle pain is a recurrent pain in the muscle(s) and is more commonly caused by tension, stress and/or overuse of muscles, and minor injuries. This kind of pain is usually more localized and affects a small area of the body. However, muscle pain throughout the entire body, systemic muscle pain, is usually a result of infection, illness or a side effect from a medication. Common causes of systemic muscle pain include fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism, flu, lupus, lyme disease, strain/sprain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and dystonia.
- Eat a diet that has an abundance of vitamins, minerals and bases
- Avoid meat and other protein-rich foods
- Use moss-, quark-, white cabbage- or healing earth packs to relieve pain.