Home Health Answers

Diseases, Conditions, Symptoms, Treatments and Home Remedies


Rheumatism generally results in constant and chronic joint pain.

Rheumatism: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Summary: Rheumatism refers to a chronic inflammation of the body’s joints, muscles, tendons and bones and leads to perpetual pain and discomfort in the patient.

Rheumatism is basically of three types: local, regional or general. Tendinitis and bursitis are types of localized rheumatism while regional rheumatism includes pain in the chest wall, inflammation of the tempero-mandibular joint and subsequent pain. Fibromyalgia is the main form of generalized rheumatism.

Rheumatism Symptoms

The main symptoms of rheumatism include swelling and pain in all or particular joints of the body and stiffness of limbs that restrict movement. The skin around such stiff joints may also turn red and the stiffness is usually felt in the morning after hours of immobility brought about by daily sleep. The stiff joint also feels warm to the touch.


Rheumatismcan be diagnosed by your family physician or a qualified orthopedic surgeon who will first ask if there is a history of the disease in the family. A physical examination is then conducted as also X-rays taken of the joints that have turned stiff. These will reveal fluid collection around the affected joint or even a certain degree of bone erosion or extra bone growth that usually causes the pain.  Joint deformity is also reported in certain patients with severe forms of the disease if left untreated. Checking of ESR levels in the blood is done to determine the degree of inflammation and other forms of infection, if any. The fluid may be tapped using a needle and sent for microscopic evaluation if bone malignancy is suspected.


Pain is generally located in these points on the body.

The treatment of rheumatism hinges largely on reducing pain, improving mobility and preventing further joint erosion or damage. The disease, however, is incurable. Lifestyle changes like regular exercising, walking an dieting are advised to reduce weight if the patient is obese or over weight. Exercise helps relieve stiffness, reduces fatigue and pain while also improving bone and muscle strength. However, over exercising is not advisable as it can do more damage to the tendons than good.

The exercise regimen for this condition includes low-impacts aerobics, motion exercises that increase flexibility and strength training to increase muscle tone. Physiotherapy is also often recommended and this may be through hot or ice treatment, application of splints to strengthen, support and improve joint positions, massage and water therapy

The right quantities of sleep of about eight to ten hours per day helps prevent flare-ups and the patient is also advised not to remain in one position for long. Extra caution should be taken not to stress sore joints and grab or support bars should also be set up in the homes of those severely affected by the disease and with severe mobility problems. Pain reducing medication and joint replacement surgery is also advised in severe cases of Rheumatism but isn’t always the best step to take for everyone.

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